Eight Ducks to Watch at the 2016 Olympic Trials in Eugene
Oregon has produced as much Olympic-caliber track and field talent as any school in the nation over the past decade.
The U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials kick off Friday, July 1, and while the final entry lists will be littered with the names of former University of Oregon standouts, there will be plenty of current Duck athletes competing a well.
The official list of entries for the Trials have not yet been announced, and athletes still have a few more days to make their case for a qualifying spot. Each event of the trials has a different declaration deadline, and deadlines for some events do not occur until after the first day of the Trials. After the deceleration deadline for an event passes, the final field will be set. There are several Oregon athletes who are currently on the outside looking in for an automatic qualifying spot but could be added to the entry list nonetheless in order to fill the recommended number of entries for each event.
As of Saturday, June 25 eight Oregon athletes have met the qualifying marks in nine different events. All but one of them have declared their intention to compete at the trials.
Here they are:
Ariana Washington and Deajah Stevens — 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash
Washington burst onto the national track and field scene when she won both the 100 and 200 meter events at the NCAA Championships at Hayward Field earlier this month, and Stevens finished second in the 200. Neither of the 100 meter times Washington or Stevens ran was wind-legal, but the pair of Duck sprinters still met the qualifying marks in the event earlier in the spring.
Marcus Chambers — 400 meter dash
Chambers, who finished fourth at the the NCAA Championships this year and second in 2015, owns a season-best time of 45.27 seconds. He ran a 44.95 at the USTAF Outdoor Championships last summer, and that time leaves him as the seventh fastest athlete in America. Chambers has not accepted his entry, and declared after the NCAA Championships that one of his main goals at the trials would be to break Mike Berry’s 400m school record.
Raevyn Rogers — 800 meters
Rogers captured her second consecutive 800m NCAA title earlier this month, and may have the best chance of any athlete to advance to the Rio De Janeiro Olympics. Rogers owns the fastest time of any collegiate runner this year (1:59.71) and the fifth fastest time for any American runner.
Sasha Wallace, Alaysha Johnson — 100 meter hurdles
Wallace, who placed third at the NCAA Championships and owns a season-best of 12.95 seconds, is currently ranked 26th in the nation. Johnson ranks just behind her with a season-best of 12.97 seconds and will be looking for redemption after she failed to qualify for the final at the NCAA Championships.
Devon Allen — 110 meter hurdles
Even after winning titles at the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships within the past sixth months, Allen insists that he is still not at 100-percent health following the knee injury he suffered during the 2015 Rose Bowl. Football is now on the back burner for Allen as the two-sport star focuses his efforts on qualifying for Rio. With a season-best of 13.32 seconds, Allen is ranked eighth in the nation.
Brianna Nerud — 3,000 meter steeplechase
Nerud may end up being the only Duck whose last-ditch effort results in a successful qualifying mark. A redshirt junior, Nerud finished third with a time of 9:50.90 at the Stumptown Twilight in Gresham, Oregon on June 24 to meet the U.S. Olympic standard time. The time was a 13 second PR for Nerud and topped her previous best from 2011, when she was still competing as a prep athlete. As of Sunday, June 26, Nerud had not yet accepted her entry.
These are Oregon athletes who have not met qualifying marks, but could be added to field later:
Brooke Feldmeier (800 meters — 2:03.13), Matthew Maton (1,500 meters — 3:38.62), Sam Prakel (1,500 meters — 3:40.11), Blake Haney (1,500 meters — 3:40.46), Alli Cash (1,500 meters — 4:14.18) Cole Walsh (Pole Vault — 5.41 meters), Brittany Mann (Shot Put — 17.49 meters), Ryan Hunter-Sims (Discus — 57.48 meters), Greg Skipper (Hammer Throw — 71.39 meters) Cody Danielson (Javelin — 76.74 meters) John Nizich (Javelin — 71.89 meters) Mitch Modin (Decathlon — 7,578)
Follow Jarrid on Twitter @jarrid_denney
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