Williams, Two Alums Advance In 100
EUGENE, Ore. – A week after blasting out of the blocks to the front of the field at the NCAA Outdoor championships, before finishing third in the men's 100-meter final, Micah Williams showed he learned a thing or two from that experience.
Williams, the UO freshman from Portland, started well again Saturday in his preliminary race of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials at Hayward Field. This time he stayed strong throughout, blazing across the line in a wind-aided 9.95 seconds to advance to Sunday's semifinal round.
"This time, I knew I'd get out; I just had to finish good," Williams said. "So that's what I tried to emphasize in my race."
Williams, who has a personal best of 10.00 seconds, was one of three athletes with UO ties to advance Saturday in the men's 100. Alums Kyree King and Cravon Gillespie also finished in the top three of their heats, automatically qualifying for the semifinals.
"It's a blessing," Williams said. "I want to be out here with the guys. It's just a blessing to me to be able to run in front of a great crowd like Oregon's."
Williams said tinkering with "minor details," with the help of UO assistant coach Curtis Taylor, contributed to his sustained speed Saturday.
"The 100 is all about minor details," he said. "Me and my coach went in on video, (focused on) minor details, seeing what I could fix — little things. That's what I did and it seemed to help."
IN OTHER EVENTS FEATURING DUCKS
1 p.m. – start of the decathlon
Who: Joe Delgado
What: Day 1 – 100m, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400m
Result: Delgado, an all-American at Oregon in 2016 and 2017 and now an assistant coach at Navy, is in seventh after day one at the Trials with 4,205 points. Delgado got off to a blazing start by running 10.73 seconds in the 100, fifth-fastest in the field. He also closed the day well, taking second in his heat of the 400 in 48.48 — fourth-fastest in the field. Delgado also had the sixth-best long jump of the day, of 24 feet, 1 inch.
4:30 p.m. – men's pole vault | qualifying
Who: Cole Walsh
What: Two pits; top 12 advance to final (6/21 – 3:30 p.m.)
Result: Walsh matched his season best, clearing 18 feet, 4.5 inches on his second try. But the former two-time UO all-American missed three times at 18-6.5; 11 athletes cleared that height, and the 12th qualifier into Monday's final had cleared 18-4.5 on his first attempt, leaving Walsh one spot shy of advancing.
5:15 p.m. – men's triple jump | qualifying
Who: Isaiah Griffith
What: Two flights; top 12 advance to final (6/21 – 4:40 p.m.)
Result: Less than a week after taking sixth in the NCAA Outdoor championships, Griffith used a big mark on his second attempt Saturday to advance through to Monday's finals. After scratching on his opening effort, Griffith jumped 53 feet, 3.75 inches on his second attempt. That put him in fifth place — the top 12 advanced to the final — and when Griffith's third attempt came around with him in eighth place and guaranteed of advancing, he passed on that jump.
5:34 p.m. – men's 100 meters | 1st round
Who: Cravon Gillespie, Kyree King, Micah Williams
What: Top three in each heat + next four fastest advance to semifinals (6/20 – 6:19 p.m.)
Result: All three Ducks advanced to Sunday's semifinal round, and each did so by finishing third in his heat to advance automatically. Williams ran a wind-aided 9.95 seconds to lead the trio of Ducks, King advanced in 10.05 and Gillespie started fast before cruising through the line in 10.20.
6:03 p.m. – women's 100 meters | semifinals
Who: English Gardner, Jenna Prandini
What: Top three in each heat + next two fastest advance to final (7:51 p.m.)
Result: Two remarkably similar results put both UO alums into the final later in the evening. Prandini and Gardner each finished third in her heat, and each ran a wind-aided 10.96 seconds. Gardner was clocked one one-thousandth of a second faster — 10.953 to 10.954 — making Gardner and Prandini the fifth-fastest and sixth-fastest qualifiers into the final, respectively.
7:20 p.m. – women's 400 meters | semifinals
Who: Phyllis Francis
What: Top three in each heat + next two fastest advance to final (6/20 – 7:06 p.m.)
Result: A semifinal time of 52.12 was good for seventh place, and the 2017 world champion was unable to advance to Sunday's final.
7:51 p.m. – women's 100 meters | final
Who: English Gardner, Jenna Prandini
Result: A trying spring for the Olympic gold medalist and two-time NCAA Outdoor 100-meter champion Gardner contributed to a sixth-place finish Saturday in the women's 100 final.
Gardner, who won five national titles total while running at Oregon from 2010-13, was overwhelmed with emotions after running 11.16 seconds Saturday night and finishing outside the top-three spots, which earned spots on the U.S. team for the Tokyo Olympics this summer. Prandini finished fourth in the final in a season-best 11.11 seconds; she will return to the track when qualifying begins in the 200 on Thursday.
Stricken with COVID-19 in April, Gardner fought through long-hauler symptoms to advance through Friday's preliminary round of the 100, and the semifinals early Saturday evening. One of her symptoms was an elevated heart rate after workouts, and she said she struggled to recover in the less than two-hour window between the semifinals and final on Saturday.
"I want to cry because I didn't make the team," Gardner said. "But at the same time, I didn't know if I was going to make it out of COVID a month ago. It's a lot of emotions right now, for sure."
As recently as a month ago, Gardner said, she was unable to train due to her symptoms. She fought back to run 11.17 seconds in Friday's opening round of the 100, and then a wind-aided 10.96 in Saturday's semifinals. Gardner said she intends to continue training with a goal of running 10.7; her personal best is 10.74 to win the 2016 Olympic Team trials.
"Obviously this is not the end for me," Gardner said. "I'm so crazy, I'm going to keep training so I can bust a great time. … Let me tell you something, before I caught COVID, the times I was dropping in practice — that's why this hurts so bad. Because I was so ready. I was so ready."
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