Allen, Prandini Olympians Again
EUGENE, Ore. – Devon Allen and Jenna Prandini crossed one finish line Saturday and immediately began preparing to race for another that lies 5,000 miles away.
Teammates on the Oregon track and field program in 2014 and 2015, Allen and Prandini now also share a designation as two-time Olympians after qualifying for Team USA on Saturday. Prandini was second in the 200 meters of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials at Hayward Field, and Allen was second in his own specialty, the 110 hurdles.
Allen was an Olympic finalist after winning the U.S. Team Trials in 2016, while Prandini will be looking to make her first Olympic final at the Summer Games in Tokyo come August.
"I'm just as ecstatic," Allen said Saturday. "Obviously I didn't win this time, and we always want to win. But now that the race is over, I made the Olympic team and that's always the goal."
Prandini, the U.S. champion at 200 meters in 2015 and 2018, improved on her third-place finish at the 2016 U.S. Team Trials. She went on to finish 10th at the Rio Olympics.
"I think I'll be really prepared," she said. "Last Olympics I left with a little sour taste in my mouth; I really wanted to get to that final and get a medal. Training's been going well, and I have all the support system in the world to keep me healthy and get me ready to go."
Prandini set a new personal best in each of the three rounds of competition in the 200 this week, thanks in part to an improved start. She took a six-week break from competition earlier this season to work on her technique, including out of the blocks, and that decision by her coach paid dividends.
"He kicked my butt for six weeks, and he promised me I'd be ready to do this 200," Prandini said. "He told me every day I'd be on this team, and we're here now."
Allen ran a season-best 13.10 in Saturday's semifinals before matching it in the final. He predicted he will need to run under 13 seconds for the first time in his life if he's to achieve his goal of coming home from Tokyo with a medal.
"I've got a lot more experience (compared to 2016), and I'm not gonna be as nervous — I hope," Allen said. "It still is the Olympic Games, but I'm there and I belong there, and I'll compete like that."
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FOLLOW THE DUCKS
6:03 p.m. – 110m hurdles | semifinals
Who: Devon Allen
What: Two heats; top three in each heat + next two fastest advance to final (7:51 p.m.)
Result: Devon Allen ran a season-best 13.10 seconds to win his heat and advance to the final later Saturday. Allen was just off his personal best of 13.03, set in winning the 2016 Trials. In the opening heat, Grant Holloway won in 12.81 seconds, one-hundredth of a second off the world record set by Aries Merritt in 2012.
6:30 p.m. – women's long jump | final
Who: Jasmine Todd
What: Three jumps each, then top eight get three more
Result: Former five-time UO all-American Jasmine Todd reached the final round of jumps at this Trials before finishing in eighth place. One of 12 jumpers to reach Saturday's finals, Todd soared a season-best 21 feet, 10 inches on her second attempt. That put in among the top eight through three rounds, earning three more attempts. Todd was unable to improve on that mark, scratching on her final two jumps.
7:24 p.m. – women's 200 meters | final
Who: Jenna Prandini
Result: Two days after running 22.14 in the first round and a day after finishing her semifinal in 21.99, Prandini set yet another personal best Saturday by running the final in 21.89. After digesting the bitter result of a fourth-place finish in the 100 final last week, Prandini regrouped and made it to another final in the 200 before finishing second to Gabby Thomas (21.61).
"I'm really excited," Prandini said. "We've been working really hard in practice, so to be able to come out here and execute what I've been doing in practice — and I know we have a lot more we can improve on — is exciting. But to come out here and perform well and punch my ticket to Tokyo is really exciting, and I'm really thankful for that."
7:33 p.m. – men's 200 meters | semifinals
Who: Kyree King
What: Two heats; top three in each heat + next two fastest advance to final (6/27 – 4:52 p.m.)
Result: After achieving the Olympic standard in his semifinal, former Pac-12 champion Kyree King advanced to Sunday's final on time when nobody from the second semifinal edged him out. King was fifth in his semi, in 20.23 seconds. That put him right on the bubble to advance, and only the three automatic qualifiers from the second semifinal advanced.
7:51 p.m. – 110m hurdles | final
Who: Devon Allen
Result: Allen was looking to improve on his time from the semifinal in Saturday's final, but instead matched it in finishing second behind Grant Holloway (12.96). The race was precluded by a false start and Allen was slower out of the blocks after the runners reset, but he used his signature closing strength to make up ground.
"I'm on track to run fast and keep progressing," Allen said. "We've still got about five weeks until our races in Tokyo, a lot of time to sharpen things up and feel good."
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