Erick D. Smith San Luis Obispo Tribune

Jordan Hasay participated in the CIF State Track and Field meet as a freshman in 2006, thinking only about how fast she could run.

Tonight, with a chance to win the 3,200 meters at the state meet for the fourth straight time, the senior from Mission College Prep will once again focus on speed as she attempts to break another national record. But whether Hasay lands her second national record in her final prep race or not, she leaves behind a lasting legacy.

“On one hand, they (local runners) have been running against the nation’s best. She’s special. You don’t get a talent like this every year,” Arroyo Grande High School distance coach Sean Ricketts said. “On the other hand, you get an opportunity to run against somebody like this. She will push you to run faster.”

Jordan Hasay autographs shoes after winning the Division V state cross country championship race in November. Tribune file photo

Hasay has the admiration of fellow runners and coaches alike and attracts fans to the track whenever she competes locally. She’s never been one to shy away from spectators, and this weekend at the state meet in Clovis there will surely be plenty of autograph and photo seekers.

That’s why tonight has meaning beyond trying to break records.

“It hasn’t been a solo effort. There are my parents, coaches, teammates and classmates,” Hasay said. “With that said, it gives me motivation to run my best performance, to thank everyone who has been there supporting me along the way.”

As a freshman in her first state meet, Hasay wanted to break 10 minutes in the 3,200 meters, an ambitious desire for any high school girls runner. She settled for a time of 10 minutes, 13.55 seconds, but it was enough to begin her string of three consecutive state titles. As the Mission Prep star gained more racing experience, she learned to leave the time element alone and focus on beating her competition. But tonight at Buchanan High in Clovis, in her final state meet, she’ll likely revert to the tactic she used as a freshman.

“I’ve learned that the focus of each championship race is just to win,” Hasay said. “I focus more on my competition and realizing the importance of the race and not running for time as much. This year, I need to go back to (my) freshman mentality and be concerned about my time because I would like to be close to that record.”

“That record” is the 3,200 national high school time of 9:48.59 set by Kim Mortensen of Thousand Oaks in 1996. Hasay came close to breaking it last year at the state meet, finishing in 9:52.13 and establishing a state meet record.

Tonight, Hasay will toe the starting line at approximately 8:45 and try to break 9:48. The University of Oregon-bound senior also hopes to become the first four-time state winner in the 3,200.

“The latest I’ve ever run,” Hasay said, “was (at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials) in Eugene, Ore., at 8:30 p.m.,” when she set her first national high school record — 4:14.5 in the 1,500.

A field of 30 other runners is likely looking to crash the party.

Hasay’s main challenger is expected to be San Clemente senior Alex Dunne (season best of 10:16.83), but the fourth-place state finisher last year has been limited in training because of a heel injury. If Dunne doesn’t threaten, the job might fall on CIF-Southern Section champ Melissa Skiba (10:33.15) from Oak Park.

Hasay doesn’t provide her competition with much of a psychological edge, but if they’re grasping for something, it could be that she’s run the 3,200 only twice this spring.

In place of the longer distances, she’s focused more on speed by running 800s and 1,500s (the metric equivalent to a mile). She’s been successful racing in a mix of high school and professional-based fields.

“The 3,200 was supposed to be my focus early in the season, but I had to miss” the Arcadia Invitational, Hasay said. “It didn’t work out as well as we hoped. But I think that running all the 1,500s helped me with the 3,200s as it always does because the pace seems so much slower after.”