Jenna Prandini - Page 3

Track and Field 2014-15: Ducks on Track to a Dynasty

The 2014 NCAA track and field season was one of the best in recent years — if not ever — for the Oregon Ducks men’s and women’s teams.  After both teams won NCAA indoor championships and completed a strong regular outdoor season, the Ducks excelled in the regional qualifiers, sending a total of 37 men and women athletes to the NCAA Championships at Historic Hayward Field.  The men’s team won its first national outdoor title since 1984 while the women’s team took third. The meet was highlighted by outstanding individual performances from many Duck athletes, and the Ducks will look to repeat, or possibly even exceed, the success of this year in the indoor and outdoor 2014-2015 seasons. Here are five reasons why you should be there to watch them next year.

  1. 2014 National Championship Performances
Laura Roesler

Laura Roesler

The Ducks lit up the track all four days of the 2014 NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships.  The title-winning men’s team was led by individual championship performances from Mac Fleet, Sam Crouser and sensational freshmen Edward Cheserek and Devon Allen.  These four scored a total of 48 of the men’s 88 team points.  The women’s team was led by title-winning performances from Laura Roesler in the 800 meter run and Jenna Prandini in the long jump.  Prandini also finished second in the women’s 200 meter dash and third in the women’s 100 meter dash.  Phyllis Francis added second place points in the 400 meters and Laura Bobek, Brittany Mann and Jillian Weir stepped up to give the women’s team unexpected points in the weight events. With unheard of team balance, between the men’s and women’s teams, the Ducks placed individuals in the top eight in the 100, 200, 400, 800, 1500, 5K, 10K, steeplechase, multi-events, sprint hurdles, hammer, javelin, discus, shot put, long jump and 4 X 400 relay. By comparison, the only events where the Ducks failed to score at least one man or woman were the 4 X 100 relay (only due to a failed exchange), the pole vault, high jump, triple jump and 400 hurdles.  This well-rounded balance as a team not only makes them more exciting to watch, but also increases their chances of meet victories. Plus, even at a championship meet you don’t have to wait long for the next Duck up.

  1. The 2015 NCAA Track & Field Championships will be held at Historic Hayward Field.
Historic Hayward Field (Eugene, OR.)

Historic Hayward Field (Eugene, Ore.)

With Hayward Field being the most respected and recognized track and field stadium in the nation, the NCAA has decided that Track Town USA will play host again next year for the NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships. Actually, the NCAA is so impressed by what happens at Hayward that it awarded Oregon the meet for the next seven years.  This will give the Ducks a chance to defend their 2014 national title in front of their home crowd at Hayward Field, where they won the men’s title this year.

3. Oregon coaches receive 2014 men’s outdoor coach(es) of the year.

Oregon Duck track & field head coach Robert Johnson

Oregon Duck track & field head coach Robert Johnson

After coaching his team to its first national title since 1984, Oregon coach Robert Johnson was named the men’s outdoor coach of the year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).  Also, Johnson’s assistant Andy Powell was named the USTFCCCA men’s outdoor assistant coach of the year. While Johnson has only been the head coach since the summer of 2009, his impact on the program has been immediate.  He has led the women’s team to four consecutive indoor NCAA team titles, and has been named the women’s indoor coach of the year four times as well.  Powell has made his impact by being the distance coach.  He coached NCAA champions Cheserek and Fleet this year, as well as the other competitors in the distance races.  Johnson’s and Powell’s coaching has benefited the team by leading them to victories as well as by attracting young talent in the recruiting wars.

4.  Returning women’s athletes

Jenna Prandini

Jenna Prandini

The women’s team will have many returning competitors in the 2014-2015 indoor and outdoor seasons.  The most notable of the returners is Jenna Prandini, who will be a junior next school year.  She was a fan favorite at the 2014 NCAA championships where she won the long jump, finished third in the 100 meter dash and second in the 200 meter dash.  Prandini will look to continue her dominance in the Pac-12 Conference as well as nationally next season.  Although Liz Brenner struggled at the NCAA championships in the javelin, she is also a notable returner for the women’s team after her impressive 2014 season.

  1. Returning men’s athletes

For the men’s team, the two returners everyone will have their eyes on are this year’s freshmen sensations Edward Cheserek and Devon Allen.  Cheserek and Allen arguably had the two most exciting final races of the 2014 NCAA championships, which both of them won.  Cheserek won the 10,000 meter run in truly amazing fashion, bursting ferociously through the last 200 meters to win and holding up the Oregon “O” with his hands as he passed through the finish line.  Cheserek also placed a close second in the 5000 meter run, one of the few exciting races that didn’t go the Ducks’ way.

Devon Allen smiles during his victory lap after winning the national title in the men's 110 hurdles.

Devon Allen smiles during his victory lap after winning the national title in the men’s 110 hurdles.

Allen, who improved his time in the 110 meter hurdles every meet this season, ended his season on a spectacular note by winning the men’s 110 meter hurdles, running a life-time best 13.16 seconds and shocking both the field and the ESPN announcers, who barely mentioned his name before the race.  Allen merely broke the NCAA Championship Meet record and ran the second-fastest 110 hurdle time in collegiate history.  Allen has proven himself to be a star worth watching for the Ducks and will look to break more records and defend his national title in the 2014-2015 season. Other notable returning athletes for the men’s team include 2014 NCAA javelin champion Sam Crouser, fourth-place finisher in the hammer-throw Greg Skipper and fourth place finisher in the 5000 meters, Erik Jenkins.

Oregon track doesn’t get much more exciting that this.

So there it is …

This is an incredible time for Oregon athletics, truly a golden age. Teams have made runs at national titles in football, volleyball, softball, track & field and cross country. Teams have made it to post season NCAA championship tournaments in basketball, baseball, golf and tennis. Excellence in athletics at the University of Oregon isn’t the exception. It’s the norm. What is happening in track & field, though, is exceptional even by Oregon standards. Chosen to host the NCAA Championships for the next seven years, Oregon is possibly on the brink of establishing a dynasty for the ages. The devotion of the fans and the ambiance of Historic Hayward Field are not lost on the athletes who earn their way to compete at what is without argument the best running venue in North America. The athletes who attend the World Junior Championships at Hayward this summer are in for a special treat, and if even just a few of them choose to call Eugene “home” for the next four years — and why wouldn’t they? — the love affair between athletes and fans will only grow stronger.

Top photo by Gary Breedlove

Oregon track and field named 19 to All-Academic Teams

Oregon track and field celebrated 19 of their student athletes as they were named to the Pac-12 All-Academic teams, the conference announced Thursday.

In total 11 Duck women and eight men were honored for their achievements in the classroom as students.

Distance runner Casey Campbell was named to the Pac-12 All-Academic First team. Campbell currently has a 3.61 GPA and is working toward a degree in architecture.

T.J. Brassil (3.63, journalism), Tim Costin (3.44, general business) and Bradley Laubacher (3.60, family and human services) all were named to the second team on the men’s side, while Ally Aschbacher (3.75, material and product studies) and Annie Leblanc (3.81, human physiology) were named to the second team for the women.

The women’s team also had nine honorable mentions: Laura Bobek, Lauren Crockett, Brittany Mann, Ashley Maton, Megan Patrignelli, Jenna Prandini, Laura Roesler, Rachel Sherrel and Annie Whitfield.

The men had four honorable mentions of their own: Ron Perkins, Parker Stinson, Trent Warren and Daniel Winn.

Follow Christopher Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur

Men of Oregon Win National Title, Women are Third

After a strong showing in the preliminary rounds, the Oregon Ducks’ track and field team excelled on the final two days of the 2014 NCAA Championships as their men’s team won the national team title and the women’s team finished third overall. The women’s team scored 59 total team points, while the men scored 88 total points — winning them their first NCAA Outdoor Championship since 1984.

Jenna Prandini, another Oregon national championship

Jenna Prandini, another Oregon national champion.

For the women’s team, Oregon sophomore Jenna Prandini was one of the Hayward Field crowd-favorites throughout the duration of the entire championships and had a spectacular final two days of the championships. After winning the women’s long jump national title on Wednesday, Prandini came into the final two days looking to place high in the women’s finals of the 100- and 200-meter dash.

In the 100-meter dash final, Prandini spent the beginning 50 meters of the race in the back of the group. In the final 25 meters of the race, Pradini exploded to the front, finishing in a cluster of runners indeterminately placing in second to fifth place.

While the audience loudly cheered in the final meters of the race, they became nearly silent immediately after the race as they anxiously waited to hear the final results. The audience joyously erupted once the Prandini was announced as the third place finisher over the intercom.

Prandini finished with an 11.417 time, just .001 of a second faster than the fourth place finisher. In the 200-meter dash final, Prandini finished second after being barely beaten at the finish line by Kamaria Brown of Texas A&M, who won the national title. Brown finished with a time of 22.623, while Prandini finished with a time of 22.63.

Laura Roessler

Laura Roessler

Laura Roesler also had a spectacular championship weekend for the Ducks as she won the national title in the 800-meter dash with a time of 2:01.02. Roesler spent the first 600 meters of the race in fifth place, prior to furiously bursting past the pack into first place with 200 meters left. She then extended her lead further to win the race by more than 10 meters in front of a cheering Hayward audience.

Roesler, also ran exceptionally well as the third leg of the women’s 4×400-meter relay team. She received the baton in seventh place to the other competitors, but raced her way into handing the baton off with the Ducks in third place, where they finished as a team.

Phyllis Francis

Phyllis Francis

Phyllis Francis was also able to provide the Ducks with a massive point swing in the 400-meter run. Francis was seeded seventh in the 400 meter final, and was placed in lane eight for the final race. She was able to maintain her staggered lead throughout the race, and finished second in impressive fashion. Francis finishing five places higher than expected provided the women’s team with a surplus of unexpected points that helped them secure their third place finish.

The men’s team was able to gain an abundance of points in the exciting men’s 5000-meter run final. Edward Cheserek, who won the 10000-meter run national title on day two, finished second to Arizona’s Lawi Lalang.

Edward Cheserek pacing himself in Saturday's 1500m run at the NCAA Finals

Edward Cheserek (shown in third place) pacing himself in Saturday’s 5000-meter at the NCAA Finals.

Cheserek was followed down the home stretch by his two teammates Trevor Dunbar and Eric Jenkins, who were able to sprint for third and fourth place finishes. While Cheserek lost in the final meters of the race, he, Dunbar and Jenkins secured second, third, and fourth place to provide the men’s team a huge point swing.

Mac Fleet

Mac Fleet

In the 1500 meter run, Mac Fleet provided one of the most exciting races for the Ducks over the weekend. Fleet came into the 1500-meter run final hoping to successfully defend his 2013 national title in the race. After the first two-and-a-half laps of the race running in second and third place, he put on a burst with about 150 meters left and exploded down the home stretch in front of a standing and roaring Hayward Field audience.

Fleet and Arizona’s Lalang (who won the 5000-meter run national title) battled as they sprinted side-by-side down the last 100 meters racing for the title. The two runners finished in extraordinary fashion. And after several seconds of quiet anxiety from the crowd, it was announced that Fleet had barely finished in front of Lalang, running an official time of 3:39.088, making Fleet the national champion.

Devon Allen after winning the NCAA Championship in the 110m hurdles

Devon Allen after winning the NCAA Championship in the 110-meter hurdles.

Oregon’s Devon Allen, who has improved his 110-meter hurdle time every meet this season, won his first national championship, finishing with a time of 13.16. He popped through the last three hurdles of the race to burst past the leader and barely finish first in front of a standing and screaming audience. Allen’s finishing time broke the NCAA championship meet record, and made him the third-fastest 110-meter hurdle runner in collegiate history.

Oregon’s Sam Crouser also won a national championship of his own in the men’s javelin throw. Crouser entered the final round of the javelin in second place. The Hayward Field crowd clapped rhythmically and cheered as Crouser approached the javelin runway for his sixth and final throw of the competition.

With the fans behind him, Crouser was able to throw a whopping 252”07’, which pushed him to first place and the national championship. The already roaring crowd exploded again once the announcement was made.

Sam Crouser

Sam Crouser

Allen and Crouser’s first-place victories boosted the men’s score to 88 points, which guaranteed the men’s team the NCAA championship victory, regardless of what occurred in the rest of the day’s finals. The men’s team’s 88-point performance set a new meet-record for total team points and was the largest margin of victory the meet has seen since 1994.

After a captivating weekend at NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the men’s national title now hangs in Track Town, USA.


Feature photo by Ben White



NCAA Track and Field Championships Day 4: Live Stream From Hayward Field


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Instant Updates from Hayward Field
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On a pivotal day for the Oregon Ducks Women’s team hopes for a National Title, Friday could have brought a major disadvantage with the team not having an entrant in the Decathalon, however the team came through with key finishes during the early evening starting just after five o’clock with Jenna Prandini finishing third in the one-hundred meters by one one thousandth of a second, followed by Oregon Ducks Senior Laura Roesler who almost fell down in her run during the 800 meters coming from the middle of the pack and winning the National Title in the event.

Hayward Field Hosts the 2014 NCAA Track and Field Championships. Justin Phillips/KPNWSports
Hayward Field Hosts the 2014 NCAA Track and Field Championships. Justin Phillips/KPNWSports

The Oregon Ducks Men boosted their lead with second place finishes in the 400 meters with Mike Berry and Edward Cheserek’s dramatic finish in the 5000 meters. The final day of competition saw both teams with a lead in the Team standings. The Oregon Men’s team led handily over Florida 56-28 and the Women had a slim two point lead.

There are more Oregon Ducks participating on the final day of competition on Saturday and it starts with the Men’s Triple Jump and Javelin starting at 12:30. Oregon Junior Sam Crouser will throw in the javelin to start the action for the Oregon Ducks. On the outside track Laura Penney will represent Oregon in the 1500 meter final at 2:15 and a handful of Oregon Ducks finish out the day with the Men’s 200(Arthur Delaney), Women’s 200(Jenna Prandini), and the Women’s 4×400 final to close out the day of competition for the Oregon Ducks.

As we did on Friday Eugene Daily News will have Live Coverage of the Oregon Ducks throughout the day and Hourly Reports on the Eugene Daily News Sports page and also via the KPNWSports Twitter feed. Follow along with us as the Oregon Ducks look to keep the pressure on the competition and push toward the overall Team National title.

For a different take on the Oregon Ducks, visit


Ducks Shine on Days 1 and 2 of NCAA Track and Field Championships

Day 1 of the 2014 NCAA Div. I Track and Field Championships at historic Hayward Field was highlighted by spectacular performances from multiple Duck athletes.

Oregon’s Laura Roesler excited the home crowd while winning her preliminary heat and running the fastest overall women’s 800 meter dash of the day. Roesler spent most of the race comfortably running in third place, prior to racing into the lead with 200 meters left. She then burst down the 100-meter home stretch in front of a cheering Hayward audience, finishing with a time of 2:02.60 seconds, just fast enough to hold off Claudia Saunders of Stanford who finished second.

Phyllis Francis finished third in the third heat of the women’s 400 meter dash. Francis however ran a 51.69, which was still fast enough to advance her to the women’s 400 meter dash final as the seventh seed.

In the men’s 400 meter dash preliminaries, Oregon’s Mike Berry cruised to a comfortable s 400 meter final.

All Duck competitors performed well for the team overall, but it was sophomore Jenna Prandini and freshman phenom Edward Cheserek who highlighted the first day of the NCAA Championships the most with their incredible performances.

Jenna Prandini winning her preliminary heat of the women's 200 meter dash.  Photo By: Ben White

Jenna Prandini winning her preliminary heat of the women’s 200-meter dash.

Prandini ran an 11.11 second 100-meter dash time, exploding in the last 50 meters to barely win the closest heat of the day and advance herself to the final. Immediately after her victory in the 100-meter preliminaries, Prandini returned to the women’s long jump final, which she had checked out of in order to race in the sprint.

With the home crowd still loudly cheering after her victory, Prandini burst down the long jump runway to a boomingly loud traditional “Hayward clap” for her second attempt of the final. Prandini jumped out to a lifetime-best 21′ 01.25″ advancing her from third place to the women’s long jump national champion.

In the final of the 10,000 meter run, the last event of the evening, Cheserek sparked the loudest eruption from the Hayward audience of the day. He spent the first 24 laps of the race up in the front of the pack with three other competitors.

At the start of the final 400 meters of the race, Cheserek sped up to running neck and neck with the lead runner. With around 250 meters remaining in the race, Cheserek began running like a man possessed. He exploded from his comfortable run to a dead sprint, progressively distancing himself further and further from the runners behind him. He eventually finished approximately 30-40 meters ahead of the second place finisher.

Cheserek crossed the finish line, with a time of 28 minutes and 30.18 seconds, proudly holding up the trademark Oregon “O” with his hands in front of a roaring Hayward Field audience. It has been a long road to this national title for Cheserek, who first came to the United States in 2010 from Kenya. Once in the U.S., Cheserek attended Saint Benedict Prep in Newark, New Jersey, where he eclipsed the 49-year-old record in the high school indoor 2-mile held by Gerry Lindgren, one of only two runners to defeat Steve Prefontaine in any NCAA Championship. Cheserek will look to add to his lengthy resume on Friday, when he will compete in the men’s 5000 meter run final.

Trevor Dunbar also contributed to the total team points by finishing fifth in men’s 10,000 meter run with a time of 28 minutes and 58.81 seconds.

The Ducks were able to carry this momentum through the second day of the NCAA Championships.

After a spectacular Day 1, Prandini came back to win the third heat of the women’s 200-meter dash preliminary round with a time of 22.95 seconds. With a long jump national championship already under her belt this week, Prandini will be competing in both of the women’s 100-meter dash finals on Friday and the 200-meter dash final on Saturday.

Oregon’s Laura Bobek also had an exceptional performance in the women’s discus throw. Bobek was seeded 18th in the discus throw coming into the championship. However, after making it to the final round, Bobek threw a 184”08’ on her sixth and final attempt of the competition, which was good enough to bump her up to third place in the competition. This was a huge performance for Bobek and provided a huge swing in points for the women’s team.

The men’s team also acquired some needed points in the field from Greg Skipper, who placed fourth in the final of the men’s hammer throw.

Devon Allen finishes his heat of the 110 meter hurdles in first place.

Devon Allen finishes his heat of the 110-meter hurdles in first place.

Also, Devon Allen won his preliminary heat of the men 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.52 seconds, which advances him as the third seed for Saturday’s final.

After spending the first two-and-a-half laps of the 1500-meter run in the back of the pack, Mac Fleet exploded to the lead with 100 meters left to win his heat in exciting fashion. While Fleet was bursting past the pack for the win, Oregon’s Sam Prakel was following right behind him to secure second place and advancement to the final as well.

(Right) Mac Fleet bursts down the home stretch, followed by (Left) Sam Prakel for 1st and 2nd place finishes in their heat.

(Right) Mac Fleet bursts down the home stretch, followed by (Left) Sam Prakel for 1st and 2nd place finishes in their heat.

Both of the Duck’s men’s and women’s 4×400 meter relay teams finished second in their respective heats, and secured spots in the finals.

After a strong first two days of the championships for the Ducks, they are now looking to maintain their momentum and take advantage of their opportunities the rest of the way. Both the men’s and women’s teams will need capitalize primarily in the distance races, 4×400 meter relays, and remaining field events in order to give them the best shot at securing the title on Saturday.


Feature photo by Ben White

Four members of Oregon track and field earn regional awards

Four members of Oregon track and field were honored Monday when the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association unveiled their 2014 regional awards.

Jenna Prandini was named the West Region Women’s Track Athlete of the Year, while head coach Robert Johnson and assistant coaches Andy Powell and Curtis Taylor all received coaching awards. Johnson was named the West Region Men’s Coach of the Year.

The award for Prandini, who is only a sophomore, adds to her impressive resume with the Ducks. In the Pac-12 Championships Prandini became the first woman since 1999 to win three individual titles, in the 100, 200 and long jump. She is in the top five in the nation in each of her individual events and is a member of a strong Oregon 4

Oregon’s Jenna Prandini looks to break track and field records in 2014 season

The fastest time in the world. That was what Oregon redshirt sophomore sprinter Jenna Prandini was told after she crossed the finish line at the Aztec Invitational.

“I was surprised. I didn’t have any idea what I ran when I crossed the finish line,” Prandini said. “My family was all there and my little cousins were cheering so loud, so it was cool that I was able to do it there.”

Prandini’s official time in the 200-meter dash was 22.98, which was not only the fastest time in the world this year, but a meet record and a personal best.

“I had no anticipation of setting any times or anything like that,” Oregon head coach Robert Johnson said. “The purpose of going down there was to train. For some of those kids to perform the way that they did is definitely shocking.”

For Prandini, the Aztec Invitational set the tone for what she hopes will be a strong season. With the momentum she gained in San Diego, Prandini headed into the Oregon Pepsi Dual meet Saturday. While she didn’t set any more world record times, Prandini continued to build upon what she hopes will be a strong season.

At the dual meet, she competed in the long jump, 100-meter dash and the 4

Oregon track and field: Women’s 4×100 meter relay team posts fastest time in the world this year at Aztec Invitational

Over the weekend the Oregon track and field team traveled to San Diego, Calif. to participate in the Aztec Invitational hosted by San Diego State University.

The meet was a three day event that spanned from Thursday to Saturday with open, invitational and high school sections. Most of the open events were held on Friday while the invitational events took place on Saturday.

With Oregon sending multiple athletes down to compete in a variety of events, the Ducks ended the weekend with multiple highlights.

The headliner for the Ducks was the women’s 4

Oregon indoor track and field: MPSF championship preview

This weekend the Oregon men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams will travel to take part in the 22nd Mountain Pacific Sports Federation’s championship meet at the University of Washington’s Dempsey indoor facility.

“Each competition we do we take seriously,” Oregon’s Jenna Prandini said. “MPSF is just another qualifying round for a lot of people. We are going to try and do the best we can this weekend, but our ultimate goal is to get prepared for nationals.”

The MPSF features three conferences (Pac-12, Big West and West Coast) represented by 17 universities, including first-time participants USC and Cal State Fullerton. 17 women’s teams will compete for the championship while 12 men’s teams will do the same.

Coming into the meet, the Oregon women’s team is ranked No. 1 in the nation with 201.28 points while the men are fifth with 99.54 points. The Oregon women have won three of the last four MPSF titles while on the men’s side it was Arizona State, that was able to win it all last year.

The MPSF championship will serve as a last-chance qualifying meet for several Oregon athletes as the team looks ahead to the NCAA Indoor Championships.

“There are a couple of bubble people who probably need to hold fast or improve slightly,” Oregon head coach Robert Johnson said. “If we can get these things done, Oregon is batting a thousand.”

Some of the Oregon athletes who are looking to improve their chances of qualifying include Chancey Summers in the high jump, Edward Cheserek in the 3K, Mac Fleet in the 800 and Brett Johnson in the mile.

If Oregon can successfully use the MPSF championship to send more athletes to nationals, then the team will improve its chances to score more points. For the women, this means a chance to win a fifth consecutive national indoor title.

“If I stay true to what I always say, I haven’t really thought much about it,” Johnson said when asked about the possibility of claiming yet another indoor championship. “Right now the most important thing for us is this indoor season and the Mountain Pacific. If we go into this year trying to repeat what we did last year, we are going to miss something.”

The athletes who are comfortable with their chances of making to the NCAA Indoor Championships will use this weekend’s meet as a chance to fine-tune their skills and improve their marks.

“It is a huge weight off of your shoulders,” middle distance runner Parker Stinson said in regards to already qualifying for nationals in the 5K. “Now I can focus on training for nationals.”

The MPSF will commence Friday at noon (PT) with the women’s weight throw.

Follow Chris Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur

Gardner and Prandini advance to finals in women’s 100 meters

Today could not have gone better for Oregon runners English Gardner and Jenna Prandini. Both came away with a team win in the women’s 4×100 relay to begin the day and finished with qualifying times in their respective heats in the women’s 100 meters.

Aside from Gardner’s already solidified dominance, Prandini is right on track to becoming a household name in her respective events. The two will have one more year together before Gardner presumably competes in the upcoming Olympics and it will be hard to bet against either of them moving forward.

Prandini was the first to compete among the two. Coming into the heat, Prandini had the second worst time at 11.74, but managed to pull out the upset this afternoon.

As the runners approached the finish line, Prandini found herself in a favorable position and eventually edged out Jennifer Madu of Texas A&M for the top two automatic qualifying spots with an impressive 11.14 time. Madu (11.18) and Cierra White of Texas Tech (11.19) also qualified.

“I’m really excited about what I did,” said Prandini after the race. “I mean I qualified and advanced to finals and that’s what we wanted to do. That’s all I was focusing on: trying to get out and push it; put myself in a position where I could place and get second.”

If there was a race that proved that every second — or split second for this matter — matters, it was the second heat of the women’s 100 meters. It was the epitome of a photo finish and it might have been the race of the day.

Coming down to the wire were Gardner and Octavious Freeman of UCF. The two were neck-and-neck until the very end and it wasn’t until the final results were shown that a winner was named.

Freeman finished with a time of 11.00 flat, while Gardner finished a hair behind with a 10.99 time. The two will deservedly advance to the upcoming finals and there is no telling who comes out on top in their next meeting.

“I ran a pretty good one,” said Gardner after the race. “My job was to make it to the finals and that’s what I did,” said Garnder. “I’m just trying to take it race by race and day by day.”