This is Zac Neal’s first piece for RunBlogRun. Zac is a student under the watchful eye of Lori Shontz, who is a Journalism instructor at the University of Oregon. Lori developed a program for journalists in track & field.
By Zac Neel
EUGENE, Oregon – A long two weeks passed by, and Oregon sophomore Jasmine Todd waited patiently for her chance at redemption. Earlier in June, she had failed to qualify for the 100-meter final at the NCAA championships despite being the Pac-12 champion.
Finally, on a hot Friday afternoon at Hayward Field, Todd was able to put her performance at the NCAA championships in the past.
She placed third in the 100 meters at the USATF Outdoor championships, guaranteeing her a spot on the U.S. national team that will compete in China this August. Her time of 10.92 seconds tied teammate Jenna Prandini’s University of Oregon record.
“At NCAAs it was just, everybody has a bad race, and my bad race came at that time,” said Todd. “It was unfortunate, but knowing that my collegiate season was over, I came in here with nothing to lose and just left it all out there on the track.”
There were several familiar faces around Todd as she lined up for the final, with both Prandini and former Oregon runner English Gardner both to her left.
Tori Bowie won the race in 10.81. Gardner finished in second place at 10.86 after qualifying for the final with 10.79, the fastest time in the world this year, and the seventh fastest time ever by an American. Todd was less than a 10th of a second behind.
“I had no idea I came in third when I crossed the line,” said Todd. “I was looking up at the board just hoping to make it in the top six, and I saw I was in third and was just, I was speechless.”
Prandini, the reigning NCAA champion, came in sixth at 10.96.
“I’m not disappointed — sixth place in the U.S. nationals isn’t that bad,” said Prandini. “It was a good race. Everybody out there was so deserving of being there. I was just honored to be on the line with everybody, and I’m so proud of Jasmine and English.”