Pasadena native Cravon Gillespie accomplished just about everything he could at the University of Oregon, earning him the George Scharpf Outstanding Athlete Award that is given to a male track and field athlete with outstanding athletic achievement.
The local sprinter added another accolade as a 23-year-old professional at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, last Friday. Gillespie won a bronze medal by helping Team USA post a time of 38.79 seconds in the 4×100-meter relay along with Jaret Eaton, Bryce Robinson and Michael Rodgers.
“He’s been doing what he needs to do,” said Gillespie’s father Tommy. “He’s been working so hard in all the races he’s been in. I think he’ll get better after he rests in the fall and comes back in 2020.”
Gillespie also competed in the 100-meter race and placed sixth with a time of 10.38 seconds.
His grandmother, Katy, said he gets his determination from his father and couldn’t find the words to express her pride.
“I am just so happy for him,” she said. “I just can’t believe it. I can’t stop thinking about how amazing [his accomplishment] is.”
It’s a goal Gillespie has been working toward since shining in the NCAA Track and Field Championships in June. The Duck placed second in the 100- and 200-meter events. He recorded a time of 9.93 seconds in the 100 and 19.93 seconds in the 200, becoming the first Oregon athlete to break 10 seconds in the 100 and 20 in the 200.
“I always knew I was a sub-10 guy,” Gillespie said in a release by Oregon athletics following the NCAA Championships. “I’m just trying to be the best I can be each day and I proved that today. … I came out here and PR’d in both races…didn’t come out with the wins but I can’t be too discouraged over that. … I’m happy with my times. At the end of the day, I’m pretty satisfied.”
His time in the 100-meter was the No. 2 fastest in the world this year and No. 3 in Pac-12 history. In the 200 meters, Gillespie recorded the No. 5 best time in the world and third in the history of the conference.
Competing in the 100 meters, Gillespie went on to place fourth in the Prefontaine Classic in Palo Alto, fifth in the Herculis in Monaco and fourth in the USA Championships held in Des Moines, Iowa.
Next up for Gillespie will be the International Association of Athletics Federations World Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The standout athlete announced on his Twitter account that he will be traveling to Doha, Qatar, next month as a member of Team USA’s 4×100-meter relay team.