English Gardner Wins 100m in 10.85 at US Champs! by Larry Eder

English Gardner, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

English Gardner gave up her last year of college competition at the University of Oregon to go pro. Looks like she made the right decision. 
Running a near flawless race, English Gardner showed why she is only the second women since 1991 (Carlette Guidry) to win both the NCAA and USA Outdoor 100 meters. Gardner, who was nursing a sore ankle at the NCAA, won the 100m in Eugene, Oregon, and then came to the US as a newly minted pro athlete. 

"My ankle is still bothering me now. I am going to nurse it until Moscow." noted English Gardner after the final. 

Competing for NIKE, managed by HSI International, English Gardner showed the poise of the seasoned athlete that she is, in all three rounds of the 100 meters. When Barbara Pierre ran 10.86 in the semi-finals, and Gardner ran 10.87, many wondered if Pierre would be the next US champion. Like Ato Boldon, ESPN2 announcer, I was wondering what English Gardner could do after her big PB in the semi-final. 

The final was a battle to the finish. English Gardner and Barbara Pierre were dueling from the start. Pierre and Gardner were duking it out, neither athlete was about to give up. About sixty meters into the race, English Gardner gritted her teeth and redoubled her efforts, going for the win, and running a meet record of 10.85! Pierre collapsed over the last 40 meters, and was passed by the hard charging Octavious Freeman in 10.87 and Alexandra Anderson, who ran 10.91. 

Gardner is tall, focused, and super talented, English Gardner runs with a long stride, pumping her arms and is ready for battle. She seems to rise to the level of competition. That is unusual. Some athletes run for time and some are racers. English Gardner is a racer. As Ato Boldon said so well, "This was English Gardner's coming out party", and English Gardner alerted the world. 

English Gardner spoke to the media after the race. One the race, English noted, " This has been a great opportunity. God has blessed me with so much this year. It is hard to do three seasons of track with NCAA indoor and outdoor track. They have been rough on me. With the pros, it is their first season. Their legs are fresher than mine. Throughout all the obstacles, I have overcome the past two or three weeks, I really came out and performed well today." 

English Garnder shocked a few people today. Going from an NCAA champion to a world leader and possible World Champion medalist, Gardner admitted that she shocked herself today. 

How good can English Gardner be? As good or great as she wants. Gardner has gone from a fine college sprinter to one of the best women sprinters in the world. 

And, that is good. 

Now, on to Moscow. 

Women's 100m Final, 1. English Gardner, NIKE, 10.85, 2. Octavious Freeman, University of Central Florida, 10.87, 3. Alexandria Anderson, NIKE,  10.91, 4. Jeneba Tarmoh, NIKE, 10.93, 5. Barbara Pierre, NIKE, 10.94, 6. Aurieyall Scott, University of Central Florida, 11.00, 7. Muna Lee, NIKE, 11.00, 8. Charonda Williams, adidas, 11.09, #usaoutdoor, #showusyourwings, #desmoines

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