The women’s pole vault preliminaries opened the meet up today. “Around 12” from the two flights would advance to the final. Heavy rain began to fall midway through qualifying and the event was suspended for some time. Jenn Suhr waited until the bar was at 14-9 before taking a go. She cleared the height (the only one to do so) and called it a day. She is on to the final.
Six preliminary heats of the 200 meters started things on the track. Twenty-one would advance to the finals, the top three from each of the six heats plus the next three fastest times. A light drizzle turned to heavy rain during the fourth heat.Regardless, the favorites cruised through the heats including Prandini, Felix, and Bowie. Rising junior Hill performed like a professional and afterwards expressed excitement about the experience and the ability to bring what she learns back to her teammates. She said that the rain was not much of a factor for her since she ran many races this season in the rain (USC).
Three semi-final heats would determine the final in the 100 hurdles held later in the afternoon. The top two from each of the three semi-final heats plus the next two fastest. It was raining in earnest during these heats, the women wiping the water from their faces before talking to the media in the mixed zone. Consistently the competitors stated that they focused more on execution and technique than speed due to the weather. Kent Harrison said that she could barely see, while Queen Harrison said the rain blinded her between the 4th and 5th hurdle.
The surprise of the day was decorated Dawn Harper Nelson did not advance to the finals. Afterwards she was in disbelief about the result. She said that she never thought coming to Eugene that she would not be in the final; the tears would come, but at the moment she was in shock. Most of track and field is as well.
The 400 hurdle final was also determined through two semi-final heats. The rain and the temperatures continued to fall. The top four in each semi-final advanced to the final. Shamier Little, the 2015 national champion and World Championships silver medalist, finished fifth in her heat and did not advance. Afterwards she was too upset to talk with the media.
The 1500 meter ladies returned to the track to determine the twelve finalists. Most of the top seeds made it through including Rowbury, Uceny, Martinez, and Simpson. Grunewald, who advanced yesterday only two hours after racing the 5,000 also advanced to the final. Corey McGee, 2013 World Championship team member and silver medalist at the 2016 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships, did not advance.
The day concluded with a talented 100 hurdles final. Top runners in the world would be left off the US Olympic Team. Rollins raced just like the semi-final, with purpose. She took the lead and never looked back. Ali, a member of the 2013 US World Championships team and Castlin, the former Virginia Tech Hokie and member of the 2012 Indoor World Championships team, will join her in Rio. Castlin ran a personal best of 12.50 to finish second in Eugene. The newly crowned American record holder and owner of the top three times run in the world this year, Keni Harrison, did not make the top three. Ali’s husband and son Titus were waiting for her to celebrate her achievement.