Olympic Trails Day 6

EUGENE, OREGON -- Hayward Field saw the greatest 100m hurdles in Trials history Friday, as track & field action continued

Three-first time Olympians hurdle their way to Team USA

The top three times generated in the semifinals produced the top three finishers in the final. Brianna Rollins (Miami, Florida) won in a convincing 12.34 seconds (1.2 wind), the second fastest time ever in an Olympic Trials finals, as she just missed the meet record of 12.33 set by Gail Devers in 2000. Joining Rollins on the trip to Rio are Kristi Castlin (Douglasville, Georgia) with a 12.50 for second place and Nia Ali (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) in third at 12.55. Castlin became the fifth best performer with the equal fifth fastest time and Ali is the seventh best performer with the equal seventh fastest time in Trials history.

The time for places second through seventh were the fastest ever in Trials history. Queen Harrison (Richmond, Virginia) finished fourth in 12.57 while American record holder Keni Harrison (Clayton, North Carolina) placed sixth with a 12.62.

In the semifinals Rollins led the field with a 12.60 into a -1.0 wind while Ali clocked 12.68 as runner-up to Rollins. Castlin controlled the second semi with a 12.77 (-0.5) while Queen Harrison secured the third semi in 12.78 over Keni Harrison’s 12.91. A time of 13.00 served as the last time qualifier, which was held by Sharika Nelvis (Memphis, Tennessee). Dawn Harper-Nelson (East St. Louis, Missouri) ran 13.01 and missed the finals.

Last lap proves toughest as Jager defends Trials title

American record holder and defending Olympic Trials champion Evan Jager (Algonquin, Illinois) had his leading position secure over the final laps of the race, but the fortunes of those behind him changed on the final circuit. Jager won in 8:22.48 while Hillary Bor (Eldoret, Kenya) clocked 8:24.10 as runner-up and Donn Cabral (Glastonbury, Connecticut) finished third in 8:26.37.

Cabral and Bor were in fourth and fifth place, respectively, behind Stanley Kebenei (Nakuru, Kenya) and Andrew Bayer (Leo, Indiana) as the bell rang for the last lap. Heading into the final water jump, Bayer stumbled a couple of strides before reaching the barrier while Kebenei lost his footing when he landed in the water pit and fell. Bayer finished fourth in 8:28.59 while Kebenei was 12th.

Finley leads first-time Olympians in men’s discus

In claiming the Olympic Trials discus title Mason Finley (Buena Vista, Colorado) established an early lead, reaching 62.04m/203-6 on his first effort, and improved to 63.42m/208-1 in the second stanza. After fouls in rounds three and four amid a downpour, Finley closed with marks of 62.20m/204-1 and 63.21m/207-4. Eleven of the 12 throwers produced their best mark in the first or second round.

Tavis Bailey (Kannapolis, North Carolina) led the rest of the field with a 61.57m/202-0 as runner-up while Andrew Evans (Portage, Michigan) secured third place with a 61.22m/200-10. All three throwers making the U.S. team qualify for their first Olympics. Jason Harrell (Los Angeles) was the only other thrower to surpass 200 feet as he hit 61.05m/200-3, just seven inches out of third place.

Prandini leads the way around Bowerman curve

Jenna Prandini (Clovis, California) led qualifying to the semifinals with a 22.72 (-2.0 wind) from the first prelim while Tori Bowie (Sandhill, Missouri) followed in in 22.72 (2.2 wind) to claim the final prelim with an assisting wind. Allyson Felix (Los Angeles), who won the 400m on Sunday, cruised to a comfortable 22.93 (-0.3) heat win. Other prelim winners included Harvard’s Gabrielle Thomas (22.91) along with Oregon’s tandem of Deajah Stevens (22.91) and Ariana Washington (22.95).

Muhammad & McLaughlin set up for showdown

Dalilah Muhammad (Bayside, New York) posted a 54.14 to lead the field into the finals, winning the faster semifinal that produced four of the five fastest times to advance. Muhammad’s time makes her the ninth best performer in Trials history with the fourth fastest time ever in a Trials semifinal. High schooler Sydney McLaughlin (Dunellen, New Jersey) claimed the first semifinal in 55.23 with a comfortable cushion over Terea Brown (55.70).

A close race for the remaining three spots in the second semifinal behind Muhammad had Harvard’s Autumne Franklin (Owings Mills, Maryland) taking second in 55.40 over a 55.41 by Ashley Spencer (Indianapolis). Claiming the fourth spot for the final was Cassandra Tate (Hammond, Louisiana) in 55.49 while 2015 World Championship silver medalist Shamier Little (Chicago, Illinois) finished fifth with a 55.54. Advancing from the first semi, in third and fourth place, were Kori Carter (55.86) and Jaide Stepter (55.95).

Tinsley & Dutch turn in semifinal wins

2012 Olympic Trials winner Michael Tinsley (Little Rock, Arkansas) cruised to a 49.15 semifinal win over a 49.20 from Ricky Babineaux (Breaux Bridge, Louisiana). Johnny Dutch (Clayton, North Carolina) also posted a 49.20 in winning the second semifinal over a 49.28 from Kerron Clement (LaPorte, Texas).

Quincy Downing (49.45) and Bershawn Jackson (49.59) finished third and fourth in the first semi while Jeshua Anderson (49.84) and Byron Robinson (50.26) secured the third and fourth position in the second semi. Challenges for a top four position had Khallifah Rosser (Fontana, California) finishing 0.02 behind Jackson while Eric Futch (Darby, Pennsylvania) was 0.01 behind Robinson.

Merritt goes half the distance in near-record time

A world-leading time of 19.74 (1.4 wind) by LaShawn Merritt (Portsmouth, Virginia) won the third semifinal heat over a 19.97 by Ameer Webb (Tustin, California). Merritt, who won the 400m title on Sunday, produced the second fastest time ever in Trials history behind the meet record of 19.66 set by Michael Johnson in 1996. It’s also the fastest wind-legal time produced in the semifinal of the Olympic Trials, bettering a 20.00 set in 2004 by Shawn Crawford.

The other pair of semifinal heats were claimed by high schoolers as Michael Norman (Murrietta, California) won the first heat in 20.21 (-1.1) and Noah Lyles (Alexandria, Virginia) took the second semi in 20.26 (0.4). Norman, who has a PR of 20.15, produced the sixth-fastest performance on the all-time high school list.

Men’s 1,500

Slow and steady was the strategy for both semifinal races. Ben Blankenship (Stillwater, Minnesota) led the field advancing to the final with a 3:44.24 win in the second semi over Matthew Centrowitz (3:44.29), Robby Andrews (3:44.36) and Leo Manzano (3:44.57). The time qualifiers all came from the second race, which included two-time Olympian Andrew Wheating (Meriden, New Hampshire).

Washington’s Izaic Yorks (Lakewood, Washington) claimed the first semi race in 3:47.67 as Craig Engels (Pfafftown, North Carolina) of Ole Miss closed well to nab second in 3:47.76 ahead of Colby Alexander (3:47.77).

Simpson & Rowbury lead quick heat to final

Jenny Simpson (Oviedo, Florida) led the qualifiers to the final with a 4:10.09 victory in the first semifinal ahead of 2008 Trials winner Shannon Rowbury (4:10.24) and Alexa Efraimson (4:10.49). The two time qualifiers came from the first heat with Gabriele Grunewald (4:11.86) and Sara Sutherland (4:11.92).

After her fall in the 800m final, Brenda Martinez (Rancho Cucamonga, California) received a hearty ovation from the crowd as she took the lead in the final 200m and won the second semifinal in 4:11.05 over Amanda Eccleston (4:11.28), 2012 Olympian and Trials winner Morgan Uceny (4:11.64) and Mary Cain (4:12.39).

Suhr makes it look easy despite downpour

Rain interrupted the proceedings as two-time Trials champion Jenn Suhr (Rochester, New York) passed until clearing 4.50m/14-9 on her only attempt in the qualifying. The previous best height in qualifying was 4.30m/14-4.25 set in 2008.

A group of nine qualifiers, which included Mary Saxer (Buffalo, New York), Sandi Morris (Greenville, South Carolina) and Arkansas freshman Alexis Weeks (Cabot, Arkansas), cleared 4.40m/14-5.25. Due to the wet conditions 14 athletes were advanced to the final, which included a group of four vaulters who cleared 4.35m/14-3.25 on first attempt. 2015 USATF Indoor champion Demi Payne (New Braunfels, Texas) cleared the opening height of 4.25m/13-11.25, but had three misses at 4.35 and didn’t advance.

Men’s High Jump

Rain during the qualification limited the field to one height, 2.14m/7-0.25, as 14 were advanced to the final. Five jumpers who cleared one first attempt included Erik Kynard (Toldeo, Ohio), Bryan McBride (Peoria, Arizona) and Ricky Robertson (Hernando, Mississippi).

A total of 12 jumpers had three misses at 2.14, which included 2008 Trials winner and two-time Olympian Jesse Williams (Raleigh, North Carolina) and USC’s Randall Cunningham (Las Vegas, Nevada).

110mH prelims

London 2012 Olympic silver medalist Jason Richardson (Cedar Hill, Texas) cruised through the first prelim of the men’s 110-meter hurdles in 13.41, but it was Ronnie Ash (Raleigh, North Carolina) with top time (13.39) coming from heat 2. Oregon’s Devon Allen (Phoenix, Arizona) won his prelim heat in 13.44. 2008 Olympic bronze medalist David Oliver (Denver, Colorado) won the slowest heat in 13.68.