Oregon’s English Gardner ran through pain to a first place finish in the women’s 100 meters at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships, edging out UCF sophomore Octavious Freeman. Gardner won in a blazing 10.96 to withstand a late charge from Freeman and LSU standout Kimberly Duncan.
“I heard the crowd (in the last 20 meters),” Gardner said. “I had a little ‘go get em’ at the end from the crowd.”
In the men’s 100 meters TCU’s Charles Silmon managed to improve on the 9.92 he ran in qualifying, finishing in a slightly wind aided 9.89 to win the national championship. Flordia State’s Dentarius Locke and Isaiah Young of Ole Miss each turned in sub-10 performances as well.
Stanford’s Kori Canter turned in another fast time in the women’s 400 meter hurdles, finishing in a collegiate record 53.21, one of many quick times clocked at Hayward on Friday.
“It’s that Hayward Field magic,” Garnder said. “If you run in it you believe it.”
On the field side, LSU’s Damar Forbes finally got that elusive first place finish at the NCAA championships after a string of runner up showings. The Jamaican Olympian sailed 27-04.75 on his second jump of the day and nobody else was within 12 inches.
“I wanted to be a winner,” said Forbes “I was tired of being second. It was hurting me. A lot of people looked at me and said, ‘You’re always second, that’s got to be a good feeling.’ No it’s not. It’s not.”
Another streak was broken in the men’s high jump with Kansas State’s Erik Kynard missing out on what would have been his third straight title. Instead it was Derek Dourin of Indiana who nearly matched a collegiate record, clearing the bar at 2.31 meters and just missing at 2.34.
In the men’s 800 Penn State had two athletes in the top three, but both finished behind Oregon’s Elijah Greer who finished his last two laps as a Duck in 1:46.58.
In the evening’s final event Oregon legend Jordan Hasay ran her last 5,000 meter race at Hayward Field–as a Duck, that is. Hasay was within striking distance of the lead until the last lap and made her move with about 300 meters to go, but Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino made a power move on the back stretch and would leave Hasay — and everybody else — in her dust, winning in 15:43.68, nearly seven seconds ahead of 10,000 meter champion Betsey Saina of Iowa State. Hasay would finish third.
Kansas continues to lead in the women’s team race with Oregon in second. The Ducks are within striking distance but will need a virtually perfect final day to take the team title and complete the Triple Crown.
In the men’s race, USC and Texas are tied for the lead with Arkansas just a point and a half behind. The Ducks sit a distant sixth in the men’s team race, tied with UCLA.