Oregon women’s track and field advances six runners to NCAA finals on Saturday

Oregon women’s track and field advanced six runners in five events and both relay teams to Saturday’s final of the 2018 NCAA outdoor championships at Hayward Field on Thursday. To start the evening for Oregon, the 4×100 meters relay team, featuring juniors Alaysha Johnson and Ariana Washington and freshmen Lauren Rain …

Oregon women’s track and field advanced six runners in five events and both relay teams to Saturday’s final of the 2018 NCAA outdoor championships at Hayward Field on Thursday.

To start the evening for Oregon, the 4×100 meters relay team, featuring juniors Alaysha Johnson and Ariana Washington and freshmen Lauren Rain Williams and Jasmin Reed,  set the pace for the Ducks, winning their preliminary heat with a time of 42.95 seconds.  They finished second overall, qualifying for Saturday’s final.

Despite winning their heat, Johnson said the relay team needs to tighten their baton handoff before the final, but with two freshmen on the team —Williams and Reed, who made their first NCAA championships appearance on Thursday — Johnson is confident the 4×100 team can win.

“We’re gonna do whatever we have to do to get the stick around and we’re gonna do whatever we have to do to get the stick around in the first place too,” Johnson siad. “I’m excited. I think everyone, you know, they [Williams and Reed] got to get their jitters out and it’s their first nationals so you can’t be mad at them.”

Washington and Reed competed in the 100 meters, this time against each other. Washington took second with a final-qualifying time of 11.08 seconds and Reed finished fifth, 16 seconds later at 11.24 seconds.

Williams joined Washington and Reed in the 200 meters where she took fourth with a 22.84-second finish. Washington followed with a fourth place finish and a time of 22.88 seconds. Reed, who was in another heat, finished fifth with a time of 23.03. None of them qualified for the final.

Meanwhile, Johnson finished second in the 100-meter hurdles with a personal best of 12.70 seconds to qualify for the final.

“You really just gotta be technically sound and really just go out there and run as hard as you can all gas, no breaks no matter what,” Johnson said. “If you feel like you gonna hit [the hurdle] you just gotta take the hurdle with you cause in the finals it’s gonna be hot.”

In the 400 meters, sophomore Makenzie Dunmore, junior Briyahna DesRosiers and sophomore Hannah Waller ran in the same heat, finishing second, fourth and sixth, respectively. Dunmore and DesRosiers ran final-qualifying times of 51.55 seconds and 52.06 seconds.

“The heat sheets came out and we saw we were all in the same heat and we all told each other, ‘We’re all gonna have to push each other,'” Dunmore said. “There’s a whole bunch of other girls; they want to make it in the finals as bad as we do. You gotta prove who wants it more.”

Joined by freshman Shae Anderson, the three 400-meter runners competed in the 4×400 relay, finishing first overall with a time of 3 minutes, 28.01 seconds and advancing to the final. In the 800 meters, senior Sabrina Southerland advances to the final with a first-place finishing-time of 2:02.96.

In the finals of several field events, Oregon sophomore Rhesa Foster finished 12th in the long jump with a distance of 20 feet, 9 inches, and freshman Keira McCarrell finished last in the javelin throw with a distance of 141 feet, 3 inches.

The finals of the women’s meet start Saturday at 3 p.m. at Hayward Field in the final day of track and field at the stadium before the renovations. Oregon will be represented in the finals of both the 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams, the 100m, 400m, 800m, the 1500m and the triple jump.

Follow Sierra Webster on Twitter @WebsterSierraE


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