DES MOINES, Iowa. – Oregon alum English Gardner won the women’s 100 meters with the fastest time in the world this year and current Ducks Elijah Greer and Laura Roesler advanced to the finals of their respective 800 meters and Friday at the USA Track and Field Championships at Drake Stadium.
Gardner continued her remarkable outdoor season that will now extend to the IAAF World Championships in Moscow.
In the women’s 100 meter final, the Voorhees, N.J., native was quick out of the blocks and ran strong through the finish line to win in a personal best 10.85, which tied for the fastest time in the world this year.
“I just went out there and had to compete with the rest of the runners and do what my coach said to do,” said Gardner, who has now won both the NCAA and USA titles at 100 meters in 2013.
Earlier Friday in the 100 semifinal, Gardner accelerated through the second half of her heat to win in a then-personal best 10.87 and advance to the final.
Fellow alum Mandy White was sixth in that semifinal in 11.10.
Gardner is also entered in the 200 meters, which begin Saturday.
Meanwhile, current Ducks Greer and Roesler shone in the middle distances.
In a somewhat ragged men’s 800 meter semifinal, Greer had to work his way through the field on the backstretch and was in decent position in third coming around the final turn. But then he nearly got boxed in on the rail before putting on a late burst of speed to hold his position and automatically advance to Sunday’s final.
The senior from Lake Oswego, Ore., still ran a season-best 1:45.16 that was just .11 off his personal best.
“I felt relatively good,” said Greer. “I didn’t feel sharp.
“Come Sunday I have to be ready to turn it over.”
Roesler came from the back of the back in her women’s 800 meter semifinal to run a personal best and advance to the final on Sunday. Running last after 400 meters, the junior from Fargo, N.D., moved up to seventh with 300 meters to go, and bounced into sixth with 250 remaining before ripping wide off the final turn and putting the hammer down over the final 100 meters to slip into the fourth and final qualifying position.
Roesler ran a personal best 2:00.56, which was the third fastest time in school history.
In the men’s 400 meter semifinals, it appeared that Mike Berry advanced to the finals after finishing third in his race, but he was disqualified for a lane violation. The junior from Seattle, Wash., stayed close with eventual heat winner Josh Mance around the final curve before finishing third in 45.41. Mance won that heat in 45.23.
Dakotah Keys was in 13th place with 3,759 points after the first day of the decathlon.
He opened the competition by going 11.18 in the 100 meters (821 points), followed by a mark of 21-11.5/6.69m in the long jump (1,562 points). After a slight weather delay, Keys used a third throw effort to go 41-3.25/12.58m in the shot put.
The sophomore from Sweet Home, Ore., was fifth overall in the high jump with a clearance at 6-5/1.96m (767 points). Keys wrapped up his day by just missing a personal best in the 400 meters, running 50.59.
Almost overlooked with Oregon’s other big performances on Friday, Ashton Eaton, the reigning Olympic champion and world record holder in the event, was second after the first day of the decathlon with 4,405 points.
He had a personal best throw in the shot put with a toss of 49-2.5/15.00m on his first attempt. The 2010 UO graduate also won the 100 meters in 10.48 (980 points) and took second in the long jump with a leap of 24-11/7.59m (1,937 points).
After going over the bar at 6-2.75/1.90m in the high jump (714 points) and then attempting no more jumps, Eaton fell to second place overall after Gunnar Nixon had a big clearance at 7-1.5/2.17m.
“I have a little tendonitis in left leg, which is my jumping leg,” said Eaton. “I was trying to take it easy in the high jump. High jump is the only thing it affects because it’s an awkward motion. I was trying to play it safe rather than increase the irritation. Everything else went well besides the high jump.”
Eaton responded by winning the 400 meters in 46.89, to close within 44 points of Nixon, who led with 4,449 points.
“I figured that (Nixon) would probably have the lead today,” said Eaton. “Gunner has had a great year. He is an exuberant 20- year old. He has a lot he wants to prove and show.”
Former Duck Keshia Baker finished fifth in her 400 meter semifinal heat and missed the finals by a heartbreaking .01. The 2010 UO graduate ran 51.79.
Meanwhile at the Canadian Track & Field Championships in Moncton, New Brunswick, on Friday, Jack Galpin finished third in his 400 meter semifinal heat to advance to Saturday’s final. The freshman from Medford, Ore., just missed a personal best in running 47.93 to advance on time.
Former Duck Chris Winter won the Canadian silver medalist in the steeplechase. The 2009 graduate finished in 8:32.00.
Oregon alum Brianne Theisen was dominating on day one of the heptathlon. She won all four events and led with 3,654 points.
The seven-time NCAA champion for the Ducks won the 100 meter hurdles in 13.78, the high jump at 6-0.75/1.85m, the shot put with a throw of 41-0.25/12.50m and the 200 meters at 24.76.
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