Carrie Waltemeyer

Allyson Felix headed to 200m final at Olympic Trials

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EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — This could feel like a road game for Allyson Felix.

She has the aching right ankle and Jenna Prandini the crowd support.

The last step on Felix’s road to the 200-400 double figures to finally feature some drama Sunday at the U.S. Track and Field Trials.

Granted, Felix is the favorite — always is in her signature event, the one she captured gold at the 2012 London Games. But she’s far from a lock with an ankle that made winning the 400 earlier in the week troublesome and running the curve in the 200 less than ideal.

What’s more, this is Prandini’s house. The former University of Oregon standout will have about 100 friends and family in attendance to watch her race. They even designed T-shirt with “Go, Jenna, Go” stenciled on them.

“I’m at my home track, my whole family is here,” Prandini said. “I’m set up well.”

Felix just wishes her ankle would’ve allowed her more time to work on the curve of the 200, the spot where this race could be won or lost.

“I mean, unfortunately, that’s an area we haven’t had the luxury of working on,” Felix said. “Just trying to get through with what I have.”

Heading into Trials, one of the big topics was whether Felix could make the team in both the 200 and 400. She breezed in the 400.

But someone beat her to qualifying in both — LaShawn Merritt, who finished second in the 200 on Friday after winning the 400.

In addition to Prandini, Tori Bowie will be a threat to Felix, along with Oregon Duck Deajah Stevens and 19-year-old Ariana Washington, the Oregon runner who captured the 200 title at NCAA championships last month.

Missing from the field will be Candace Hill, a 17-year-old high school who didn’t make it out of the semifinals.

“It was a great experience. I’m glad I went,” said Hill, who turned pro last December and signed a 10-year deal with ASICS. “This really helped me learn how pro meets are run. High school meets were getting too easy for me. This is the next level for me.”

Track and Field Trials: Results Daily Schedule | TV Schedule

Aries Merritt misses Rio spot by .01 seconds; Oregon WR wins Olympic Trials

Aries Merritt
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EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Most guys clear 10 hurdles. Devon Allen took an extra leap.

The University of Oregon receiver and hurdler for the Ducks track team became a U.S. Olympian on Saturday.

Allen won the 110-meter hurdles at trials and celebrated by racing over to the seats and jumping into the stands to hug his family.

“It was a really exciting moment for me,” said Allen, who became the first man to win the 110 hurdles at trials and NCAA championships since 1956. “It’s something I wanted to share with my family. I’m glad they could be here.”

Allen won in a school-record time of 13.03 seconds, holding off runner-up Ronnie Ashand Jeff Porter. The rest of the results were as surprising as the three qualifiers for Rio.

Defending Olympic champion Aries Merritt finished fourth, falling just short of making the team after a kidney transplant. Jason Richardson, 2012 Olympic silver medalist, was fifth, and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist David Oliver withdrew just before the final with a tweaked left hamstring.

“It seemed like age didn’t give you the experience factor that you’re used to,” the 30-year-old Richardson said. “It seemed like it was more of a handicap. Tried to will myself to this last Olympics.”

Merritt won a bronze medal at the 2015 world championships in Beijing on a kidney that was working at 10 percent capacity. After receiving a new one from his sister in September and going through another surgery because of complications in October, he hurt his groin five weeks ago and wasn’t in top form.

“For me to be where I am is a miracle,” said Merritt, the world-record holder in the event. “It’s a pity that I’m not going to the Games. I know in six weeks times I’ll be in much better shape and probably pull off something similar as I did in Beijing. However, that’s not the case.”

Still, his doctor said what Merritt pulled off is a medical marvel. To run so quick after the transplant was amazing. To run that quick and almost make the team? Indescribable.

“Every time Aries does something else, somehow gets to the next round, is one more thing to stand back and just say, ‘Wow,'” said Dr. Les Thomas, who treated Merritt at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona and was on hand for the trials. “Just for him to be here is unbelievable.”

Oliver was understandably disappointed, issuing a statement after the race: “Devastated I couldn’t run the final, hurt left hammy in the semi, but that’s part of the game. Hats off to the great guys we’re sending!”

Indeed, in Oregon, where the fans love track as much as football, the day’s final race was all about the Ducks.

The cheers by the Hayward Field crowd were so loud that Allen almost felt like he was playing down the road at Autzen Stadium. It’s the sort of roar reserved for football games.

“Can’t hear yourself talk,” Allen said.

After the race, he tossed T-shirts into the stands that had a picture of Allen on the front and the words “Team Allen” on the back.

Could be a valuable souvenir someday, if the Olympics turn out as good as the trials.

More than likely, Allen will miss the start of football camp to make the trip to Rio. He had nine catches for 94 yards last season as he eased back into action after tearing a ligament in his right knee during the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, 2015.

Asked if he’s now a hurdler who plays football or the other way around, he just laughed.

“I’m just an athlete who likes to play football and run track,” Allen said. “Keep doing that while I can.”

Track and Field Trials: Results Daily Schedule | TV Schedule

Bernard Lagat wins men’s 5000m final at 41 years old

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Bernard Lagat, 41, is set to be the oldest U.S. runner ever to compete at the Olympics after he qualified for Rio by winning the 5000m final at the U.S. Track and Field Trials on Saturday.

Lagat made his Olympic debut at the 2000 Sydney Games where he won bronze in the men’s 1500m for Kenya. He returned to win silver at the 2004 Games. He made his Olympic debut as a U.S. citizen at the 2008 Games where he competed in both the 1500m and 5000m events. He finished fourth in men’s 5000m in London.

The title of oldest U.S. Olympic runner was previously held by three-time Olympian Meb Keflezighi. Both 41 years old, Lagat is seven months older.

Keflezighi qualified for the Rio Olympic Games with a second place 2:12:21 finish at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials on Feb. 13.

Track and Field Trials: Results Daily Schedule | TV Schedule