Duck freshman English Gardner has been named USA Track & Field Athlete of the Week; yes, that’s right, freshman. As Duck fans we know that Gardner helped propel the Oregon women to a 3rd consecutive Pac-10 Track & Field Championship with stellar performances in both the 100 and 200 meter sprints. She tore through the 100m dash, winning in 11.03 seconds, shattering the current U of O school record of 11.30 seconds and breaking the previous U.S. Junior record. Gardner now holds the Pac-10 meet record that was previously held by Olympian Gail Devers. Yes, it’s impressive and yes, she is still in the infancy of her career.
Gardner is one of those athletes that makes it look effortless but behind that grace at race-time, as with most elite athletes, there is a massive amount of blood, sweat and tears behind the scenes. When an athlete is in their world, full of practice, repetition, weight training and diet they can lose track of the brilliance of their performance and Gardner seems to fit that mind-set. She remains humble speaking of her state-of-mind going into the 100m dash, “I didn’t imagine in a million years that I would win at Pac-10’s. I was just amazed that I won. Once I looked at the time on the scoreboard, I almost passed out.” Based on some of her previous high school and early U of O races we could have guessed that she would come out a shining star.
Gardner hails from New Jersey and ran for Eastern Reg. High School where she knows the feeling of excellence well. She placed first in many conference and state championships and preview meets. She kept that momentum going as she came to Oregon, setting a school record winning the 60 meters in 7.29 seconds. She was also named goducks.com Student Athlete of the Week after that indoor performance earlier this year.
It seems certain that Gardner will continue to impress the nation with her blazing fast speed, and this is just a precursor to what is ahead of her. Next up are the prelims for the NCAA West preliminary rounds, which start on May 26th, and then the NCAA Championships coming in June. The U of O has the privilege of fostering her future victories, and Track Town USA is extremely lucky to have the opportunity to witness her continuing growth and success – we can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next. Our hats are off to you English Gardner!