Oregon student athlete Alysah Hickey. Photo by University of Oregon, courtesy of Hickey.

The ‘little track girl’ from Coronado and now University of Oregon record holder is working to continue to dominate the stage in her last collegiate year and, most likely, the next Olympics.

Former Islander track star Alysah Hickey graduated this year from the University of Oregon with a bachelor’s degree in General Social Sciences.

Yet, she still has another season to compete due to COVID giving college athletes an extra year of eligibility, and she plans to use that extra time at Oregon to obtain a master’s degree in sports business while continuing her running career in Eugene.

Two years ago, Hickey was an Olympic Trials qualifier, but she didn’t get past the qualifying round, according to her online athletic profile.

Oregon record holder, All-American

Beyond this accomplishment as an underclassman, Hickey has now achieved other major accomplishments following COVID at indoor and outdoor national meets, as she holds two Oregon records in the long jump following her five high school records in Coronado.

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association ranks Oregon’s Women’s Outdoor Track & Field in the top five among the best 25 teams in the NCAA Division.

After her most recent season, Hickey is now a three-time Pac-12 champion in the long jump and a five-time All-American NCAA participant in indoor and outdoor track. This means that apart from competing at nationals five times, Hickey placed within the top nine in the nation, she said.

And, with more than 24,000 followers on Instagram, Hickey has a large number of fans on social media to follow her stellar career.

High school state champion

In the spring of her senior year at Coronado, Hickey participated in a National Letter of Intent event at Petco Park, announcing her commitment to participate in the University of Oregon’s Women’s Track and Field team.

“Ever since I started doing track and realized it was my niche, I wanted to go to Oregon for track, always,” said Hickey.

Hickey qualified for the state meet her junior year of high school in 2018 and brought home first place in the long jump.

“That’s when I knew that I was going to be able to do track in college,” said Hickey about her main event.

Hickey shared that her experience with the long jump came naturally after jumping over 19 feet during a random meet in high school, putting her among the best in the county.

I was this kid who had never long jumped before and I went to a meet and I jumped the farthest jump in the state.”

-Alysah Hickey

“I was this kid who had never long jumped before and I went to a meet and I jumped the farthest jump in the state,” said Hickey.

Alysah Hickey speaks about her journey to Oregon following success in the Track and Field team at Coronado High School. Staff photo by Julieta Soto

Connecting with Brazilian Olympian

The Islander track star also shared that after jumping so far and having no idea how to respond about her impressive scores during interviews, she connected with San Diego-based Brazilian Olympian and triple jumper Jadel Gregorio, who helped her with long jump techniques.

“I went through a period where I was kind of second guessing myself, and it definitely had an impact on me because all these people wanted to know my strategy,” added Hickey. “I would just be fully honest. … I just really needed to focus. And then after I got a coach, we started working at it…in combination with the high jump stuff.”

With the guidance of Gregorio and other Coronado High School coaches—including Kerry Elders (high jump), Lester Spellman (strength/sprint) and Head Coach George Green—Hickey moved past performing off of instincts to perfecting techniques.

“My senior year, I focused mainly on the long jump because that’s what I realized I was going to get recruited for,” said Hickey. “I’m just really appreciative for all my coaches.”

According to the Islander Track Website, Hickey holds all the sprint and jump records in five high school events: the high jump in 2019 with a 5’10 ½” mark, the long jump in 2019 with a 20’2 mark, a 25.16 mark in 2017 for the 200 meters, 11.87 for the 100 meters in 2018 and a 48.22 mark that same year in the 4×100 meter relay alongside Ruthie Grant-Williams, who would attend San Diego State.

“Her [Williams] and I are best friends, and we both went to college for track and field,” shared Hickey, “It was always just her and I throughout high school, and we were just the two little track girls that were always known around town for doing track, and it was just so fun.”

2018 Breakthrough

Green told The Coronado News that Hickey’s breakout year was when she high jumped 5-10 and long jumped 19-9.75 in her junior year.

couldn’t ask for a better athlete than Alysah.”

-Coronado Coach George Green.

“It’s going to take a while for any of them to be broken because she was such an outstanding athlete,” Green said about Hickey’s records at the high school. “She was a great team player…couldn’t ask for a better athlete than Alysah.”

The Oregon star is part of Coronado’s “best ever girl’s team” alongside Teresa Perez, a friendly face that Hickey said she encounters on a regular basis while traveling to college competitions.

During her time at Coronado, Hickey won two state titles, in the long jump with a mark of 19-9.75 (2018) and the high jump (2019), becoming a consecutive two-time CIF state champion in separate events.

“She did something unheard of by winning the state meet in both the high jump and long jump (on different years),” Green said.

The state champ became an Islander graduate, leaving a personal record of 5’10 ½” in the high jump and a ​​20’2 mark in the Long Jump—her main event.

“She was a fantastic long jumper and excellent high jumper,” added Green about the super athlete’s high school performance. “She would high jump and then change her shoes and run over and long jump and change her shoes and then run over to the high jump pit and wound up excelling in both of ’em…that’s very unusual to see.”

Reigning Duck

Since graduating high school, the collegiate athlete has become one of the top 10 athletes in the long jump nationwide.

And she’s No. 1 all time at Oregon as a two time record holder in the long jump.

“I hold the indoor and the outdoor record for the long jump at the school,” said Hickey. “This year I beat my own indoor school record farther.”

Hickey worked towards becoming the best long jumper beginning her indoor season in 2019-20. That season, she became the No. 6 performer in the university’s history with a 6.20m/20-4.25 mark in the long jump at the Don Kirby Elite Invitational on Feb. 13, according to the University of Oregon.

Hickey qualified for the NCAA Championships in 2020-21 and became a Pac-12 champion in the long jump and also was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.

She also became the fifth woman to win a conference title in the long jump since 2013 and the fourth to win conference Freshman of the Year accolades with Oregon since 2016.

From last year to 2023, Hickey had the “best indoor jump in Pac-12 conference history” and participated at the NCAA Indoor Championships a second time.

Prodigy values maternal track legacy

Growing up with just her mom, Hickey said she considers her mother, Shannon, the role model she wanted to mirror.

Alysah Hickey (left) and her mother, Shannon Hickey, at the Pac-12 Track & Field Championships in May, 2023. Photo courtesy of Thomas Fernandez Photography.

“It’s just me and my mom,” said Hickey. “She’s my person.”

Hickey shared the privilege she holds as a woman athlete today in being able to pursue sports at the college level, something that her mother was not allowed.

“She was an athlete in the time when Title IX didn’t exist so a big goal for me was to be able to go to do sports in college,” said Hickey. “My mom was an amazing athlete, she was such a good track runner.”

During the 1970s, Title IX pushed for non-discrimination in any school setting and according to the U.S. Department of Education, it paved the way for females attending educational institutions the opportunity of team sports participation.

I want her to see me win championships because I’m doing that for her.”

Hickey on her relationship with her mom.

“She brought me into track and as soon as I got on the track, it was my goal to inspire her…and see…herself through me,” added Hickey. “I want her to see me win championships because I’m doing that for her.”

What began and remains a symbol of their mom-daughter relationship is now a conscious aspect of the reality she’s created for herself in the hurdles she’s overcome with her mom as her inspiration.

“I realized that I am that Oregon track girl and I love that,” said the Oregon social media-athlete influencer.

Alysah Hickey (left) and Lexi Ellis (right) at the 2022-2023 Pac-12 Track & Field Championships. Photo courtesy of Thomas Fernandez Photography.

Post-college plans

The 22-year-old has already begun considering becoming a pro athlete once she’s done at Oregon.

“It’s always been one of my goals to pursue track and field professionally,” said Hickey. “Once I’m done with track, I want to be in the sports field.”

Yet, Hickey says she still has some unfinished business at Oregon and possibly the Olympics.

“The Olympics are next year, which is something that I have been building towards…all my college training has kind of led up to this,” said Hickey. “I do need to prepare to try to make the Olympic team this summer…it’s going to be some different training this year.”

Alysah Hickey in Coronado, Calif. Staff photo by Julieta Soto
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Julieta is a reporter for The Coronado News, covering education, small business and investigating the Tijuana/Coronado sewage issue. She graduated from UC Berkeley where she studied English, Spanish, and Journalism. Apart from reporting, Julieta enjoys reading, traveling, and spending quality time with family and friends.