EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — English Gardner’s wince became a smile at the NCAA track and field championships.
The Oregon junior wore a broad grin as she crossed the finish line first in the 100 meters Friday, just a day after had clutched her ankle in obvious pain following a seventh-place finish in her semifinal heat for the 200.
She successfully defended her 100 title in 10.96 seconds, breaking a school and Pac-12 record. It was the best collegiate time this season, and third-best ever.
“I’ve got a little more in my tank than I give myself credit for,” she said after the race at Hayward Field.
Gardner says her ankle has been particularly bothersome since the NCAA West regional two weeks ago. And on Thursday after her disappointment in the 200, many were wondering whether she’d even try the 100.
But she poured it on to edge runner-up Octavious Freeman, a sophomore from Central Florida who had the best time in the semifinals. Freeman finished in 11 seconds flat.
“I heard the crowd so that made me thing someone was coming,” Gardner said. “So that gave me a little go get ‘em at the end.”
While Gardner didn’t make the field for Saturday’s 200 final, she was expected to run in both the 400 and 1,600 relays for the Ducks.
In the first race of the day, Stanford junior Kori Carter won the 400 hurdles in a collegiate-record 53:21 seconds.
Carter broke the mark of 53.54 set by UCLA’s Sheena Johnson at the NCAA outdoor championships in 2004. It was the fastest time in the world this season.
Carter bested rival Georganne Moline of Arizona, who finished second in 53.72 under sunny skies and temperatures in the 80s.
Southern California senior Reggie Wyatt won the men’s 400 hurdles in 48.58, breaking his own personal best.
TCU’s Charles Silmon won the men’s 100 with a wind-aided 9.89. He ran a wind-aided 9.92 in the semifinals Wednesday, but Florida State junior Dentarius Locke put up a wind-legal 9.97 — the fastest collegiate mark this season.
Oregon senior Elijah Greer won the 800 in 1:46.58, followed by Penn State senior Casimir Loxsom in 1:46.88. The title finishes an undefeated outdoor season for Greer, who also won the 800 at the indoor championships.
Southern California senior Bryson Nellum won the 400, finishing in 44.73.
Nellum redshirted his 2009 season for the Trojans after he was shot in the legs at a party by gang members who thought he was someone else. Told he might not ever reach an elite level on the track again, Nellum beat the odds and finished third at the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene last year — earning a spot on the team for the London Games. Nellum was part of the 1,600 relay team that won the silver medal.
Nellum also will run in the 200 final Saturday. He failed to qualify for either final last season.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” Nellum said. “This is one of the reasons I came back for my sixth year — to win a national championship.”
Dartmouth junior Abbey D’Agostino, who became the first woman ever to win both the 3,000 and 5,000 at the indoor championships, added the outdoor 5,000 title in the day’s final event.
D’Agostino pulled away from Oregon senior Jordan Hasay in the final 300 meters and finished in 15:43.68.
“It’s been a really exciting season,” D’Agostino said. “I’ve learned that I can be a little more versatile than I thought.”
Hasay, the most decorated track athlete in Oregon’s history, wound up third and ended her college career without an outdoor title.
In other women’s events, LSU senior Natoya Goule of LSU won the 800 in 2:00.06, and Illinois sophomore Ashley Spencer defended her title in the 400 in 50.28. Her mark was the best college time this season.
UTEP sophomore Anthony Rotich won the men’s 3,000 steeplechase in 8:21.19.
In the field events, South Dakota junior Bethany Buell won the pole vault at 14 feet, 7¼ inches, San Diego State junior Shanieka Thomas took the triple jump crown with a leap of 46-4¾, Indiana senior Derek Drouin won his unprecedented fifth NCAA high jump title by clearing 7-8 and UCLA junior Julian Wruck threw 213-1 for the discus championship.
Kansas sophomore Lindsay Vollmer won the women’s heptathlon with 6,086 points, the best college total this season.
At the end of the third day, top-ranked Kansas led the women’s team rankings with 48 points, followed by Oregon with 33. Texas and USC were knotted atop the men’s team rankings with 32 points apiece.