For years, Quenna Beasley never gave much thought to her accomplishments at the University of Oregon.
The 1980 Pasco High School graduate was one of several standout members of the women’s track and field team that won the 1985 NCAA title. It wasn’t until the team was inducted into the Oregon Hall of Fame in 1999 that she realized how special she was.
“I threw the shot put and discus just because I enjoyed it,” Beasley said in a video clip for the film We Grew Wings, chronicling the story of the championship-level University of Oregon women’s track and field teams. “I didn’t really think I was as good as I was. I didn’t realize I was as good as I was until we got inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999. That’s when I looked back and said, ‘Oh, wow, I was pretty damn good.’ ”
At Oregon in 1983, Beasley threw the shot put 53 feet, 1 1/2 inches — a school record that stood until 2005, when Bree Fuqua topped her mark with a throw of 53-11 1/4. Beasley ranks fourth all time in the Oregon record book.
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In the discus, Beasley holds the No. 2 spot in the record book at 180-9, a distance she hit in 1985. She held the top mark until 2014, when Laura Bobek unleashed a throw of 184-8.
Beasley’s greatness will be honored once again Friday, when she is inducted into the Oregon Hall of Fame as an individual.
“I was actually kind of shocked when I got the phone call,” Beasley said. “I am very honored to be part of that. What’s special about this is Sept. 23 would have been my mom’s (Annie) 90th birthday. That makes it more special. It’s a special day.”
To sweeten the deal, her dad, Earnace, who lives in Kennewick, turned 93 on Thursday.
Beasley, 54, will be inducted into the 25th class of the Hall of Fame along with football players Haloti Ngata and Danny O’Neil, softball player Lori Sweet Gerig, pole vaulter Becky Holliday and wrestler Shane Webster. They will join 191 elite athletes and 26 teams previously selected.
“Honestly, I have been trying to think of things to say,” said Beasley, who lives in Lynnwood and works in the accounting department for an aerospace company in Everett. “I’m not one to speak in front of people. I didn’t even know I was a four-time All-American. I want to say something about my brother Vince, who has given me good advice over the years; my teammates; my roommates; and my coach Scott Irving. We still stay in touch after all these years. He was never given the credit which he deserves for putting up with us knuckleheads. He was so good. I coached myself my senior year. He had left, and they brought in a new coach, but I was beyond his capabilities. I don’t mean any disrespect. I have always been one for speaking my mind.”
Beasley’s son, Logwone Mitz, 27, and two of her brothers, Aaron and Vince Beasley, will join her for the ceremony in Eugene. Her daughter, Alonna Mitz, a junior at University of Puget Sound, was unable to make the trip.
“It’s the icing on the cake this time that my two children are more able to understand (the Hall of Fame induction),” Beasley said. “Before, it was like, ‘It’s just mom.’ Now, it’s like, ‘That’s my mom.’ ”
Logwone Mitz was a running back for Washington State from 2008-11. Not the school of choice for mom.
“Five years of free education, I had to give him the advice to do it,” Beasley said. “During those years, I was a Cou/Duck.”
After Friday’s ceremony, Beasley and the other inductees will attend Saturday’s Oregon game against Colorado, and they will be introduced at halftime.
Despite living in the Seattle area, Beasley said she gets out and supports her Ducks with other throwers from her college days.
“We call ourselves the Inside Track,” Beasley said. “We went to the national championship game in Texas (Oregon lost 42-20 to Ohio State in 2015), and we are going to the Oregon-Cal game on Oct. 21 (in Berkeley, Calif.). They get me out of the house.”
The 5-11 Beasley competed in track and field, volleyball and basketball for Pasco High School, and she played competitive softball in the summer.
She won the Class 4A state shot put (45-8 1/2) and discus (149-5) titles her senior year. She still holds the school record in both events.
During her basketball days, the Bulldogs were second at state her sophomore year (1977-78) and fourth her senior year (1979-80).
“Pasco High was very good to me,” Beasley said. “We had some good athletes my senior year. In basketball, we were 25-1 my senior year. We lost our first game at state.”
Off to Oregon
Beasley didn’t head to college right after high school. She was working as a janitor out at the Hanford area when one of her high school coaches (Brad Upton, now a comedian) asked why she wasn’t in school.
“I had a full scholarship to Washington State for track and turned it down,” Beasley said. “I had a full ride to Idaho for volleyball, and I turned it down. He (Upton) had a special interest in me doing well and furthering my education. I will always be grateful for him making a call to Oregon and getting me the shot put and discus tryouts. I was given a full scholarship on the spot.”
Beasley started college in the winter quarter and hit the track scene that spring.
An NCAA All-American in the shot put and discus in 1983 and 1985, Beasley also won the Mary Officer Award those years, given to the athlete for her great contributions to the team. She also was a four-year letter winner.
When the Oregon women won the 1985 NCAA track and field title, it was the first for the school in any sport.
The 1985 title was extra special for the Ducks because they upset a talented UCLA team led by future Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
Beasley ranked among the top seven discus throwers in the country in 1985, when she was a major contributor to the Ducks’ team title.
That squad was the first women’s team to be inducted into the University of Oregon Hall of Fame, which was founded in 1992.
Beasley redshirted in 1984 to prepare for the U.S. Olympic Trials. She trained in Florida with Irving, and she set a personal-best mark of 189-6 in the discus at the Florida State Olympic Preview in April.
Beasley finished 11th in the discus at the Olympic Trials in June at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum — an adventure she still treasures.
“What an awesome experience that was,” Beasley said. “It was actually very overwhelming. I still believe that if I would have had sponsors, I could have competed longer and maybe tried for the next Olympics. But I didn’t have the funds. I had to get a job and take care of myself.”
This weekend, the University of Oregon will take care of her.