July 2, 2016
EUGENE, Ore. – It was a big day for current and former Ducks at day two of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field trials, Saturday, both in quantity and quality.
The Hayward Field fans got a full helping of Ducks sprinters in the women’s 100, with all six Oregon entrants advancing through the first round to the semifinals. The group included three members of the 2016 squad – Ariana Washington, Deajah Stevens and Jasmine Todd, as well as three former Ducks – Jenna Prandini, English Gardner and Mandy White.
“It’s fun,” Prandini said. “It is like a reunion when we are in the call room. We are all talking to each other helping keep each other relax.”
In addition to making up nearly a third of the semifinals field, three heats of seven which will be run on Sunday, Prandini (10.81) and Gardner (10.90) clocked the two fastest times of the day.
“Things have been going so well for me in training, spiritually, mentally, physically, I’m so fit,” Gardner said. “Semis are going to be a little bit more difficult because there’s a lot more competition in your heat. Everybody who makes it to the semis definitely belongs at the Olympic Trials.”
The experienced Gardner was juxtaposed by redshirt freshman Ariana Washington, making her Trials debut. Although Washington set a personal best of 11.01, getting the first race under her belt was an accomplishment in itself.
“My goal was just to go out there, get my jitters out, have fun with it and get to tomorrow. So goal accomplished,” she said.
Oregon sophomore Raevyn Rogers survived a deep and talented 800-meter semifinal to advance to Monday’s final. Rogers finished fourth in her heat with a time of 2:00.61.
The Houston native did not have an easy road to the final. After advancing through the first rounds as a time qualifier, Rogers admitted to being a little star-struck when Oregon head coach Robert Johnson told her she would be racing in the same heat as a pair of IAAF World Championships bronze medalists, Brenda Martinez and Alysia Montano, along with U.S. Indoor Champion Phoebe Wright.
Though she was racing some of the world’s best, Rogers said she was fortunate to be place in the second heat. It proved to pay dividends with a faster pace which helped Rogers secure one of two time qualifying positions.
“Running against fast people can sometimes make you feel really under pressure,” Rogers said. “I’m really glad that I was able to stay composed and still run the race according to how I felt.”
Former Ducks Mike Berry (45.63) and Phyllis Francis (50.84) each advanced through their 400 meter semifinals, finishing in the top four of their heats. The top two javelin throwers in Oregon history also advanced to their final. School record holder Cyrus Hostetler posted the sixth-best throw of the day (243-8/74.28m) with Sam Crouser just ahead of him at 244-0 (74.39m). Redshirt junior Cody Danielson took 15th with a best of 223-0 (67.99m) and narrowly missed the 12-athlete final cut.
Defending Olympic Gold medalist Ashton Eaton finds himself in a familiar position as he leads the decathlon with 4,561 points after the first day. Eaton currently holds an 83-point lead over Jeremy Taiwo. Junior Mitch Modin is currently ninth after a first day personal record of 4,134 points thanks to big personal bests in the long jump and shot put.
Jordan Hasay and Todd each competed in finals on Saturday. Hasay started the day with a ninth place finish in the women’s 10,000 while Todd took 12th in the long jump.
What to Watch on Sunday:
Tomorrow could be the biggest day yet in terms of sending Ducks to Rio. Oregon athletes have the potential to earn seven Olympic spots in four different events.
The women’s 100 will be the event to keep an eye on with so many Ducks in contention to make both the final and the Olympic team. The semifinals will be held at 4:02 p.m. with finals to follow at 5:44 p.m. Both Washington and Stevens set personal bests during the prelims of 11.01 and 11.18, respectively. With the potential of fast times tomorrow, each could take aim at the 11-second barrier and the school record of 10.92.
Olympic gold medalist and three-time U.S. Champion Ashton Eaton will finish out the decathlon beginning at 10 a.m. Eaton has provided crowds at Hayward Field memorable moments for nearly a decade and will have the opportunity to add another on Sunday. It will be a great opportunity for Oregonians to support their own as fellow Bend, Ore., native will be hunting for a PR in front of the home crowd.
Mike Berry and Phyllis Francis will try to make their first Olympic Teams in the 400. The women’s race will be contested at 4:38 p.m. followed by the men at 4:48 p.m.
Tomorrow’s events will be streamed on stream.nbcolympics.com from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. before moving over to NBCSN from 4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday Schedule (Oregon Entrants)
10 a.m. – Decathlon 110 hurdles (Eaton, Modin)
10: 50 a.m. – Decathlon discus (Eaton, Modin)
1:15 p.m. – Decathlon pole vault (Eaton, Modin)
3 p.m. – Decathlon javelin (Eaton, Modin)
3:15 p.m. – Women’s high jump
4:02 p.m. – Women’s 100 semifinals (Jenna Prandini, English Gardner, Ariana Washington, Mandy White, Deajah Stevens, Jasmine Todd)
4:15 p.m. – Men’s long jump
4:19 p.m. – Men’s 100 semifinals
4:38 p.m. – Women’s 400 final (Phyllis Francis)
4:48 p.m. – Men’s 400 final (Mike Berry)
5:33 p.m. – Decathlon 1,500 (Eaton, Modin)
5:44 p.m. – Women’s 100 final
5:53 p.m. – Men’s 100 final