The CHill Zone of T&F: Conway's View From the Finish Line

Prediction – US 100, Women

Nov 20th, 2020
2:36 pm PST

Since I’ve put my neck out there on the men, I may as well give the women a shot. This will not be nearly as easy however, because it seems like every year the names change on the women’s lists here in the US. I can tell you right now who’ll be lining up for every other country that’s a major player in the sprints. But here at home, I’m literally going to be guessing to a large degree.

Strange given that we’ve been solid since the 1960’s when it comes to the women’s sprints. Tyus, Morehead, Ashford, Torrence, Devers, and Jeter are just a few of the names of short sprint champions that we’ve had win gold medals. Yet for the last few seasons, trying to figure out who would be representing us has been a well kept secret up until race day. Injuries have played a key roll, but the transition from college to professional seems to be difficult as well.

So, where do I begin? I’ll start with:

Tori Bowie – Tori was World champion in 2017. Her top end is among the best in the world. Like so many others however, she has had some injury woes. Oh, she also likes to long jump, though personally I think she belongs in the sprints. In addition to the 100, she may be our best in the deuce with Felix aging. Yes, she is talented with 10.77/21.77 PRs and was anchor of a 41.01 relay. Healthy and at her best she’s certified gold medal material. She just needs to show up in Oregon ready to run.

Sha’Carri Richardson – Sha’Carri may be as talented as Bowie. She broke the collegiate record in 2019 with a blistering 10.75 run. But the long season that year seemed to wear her down as it did so many other youngsters. An abbreviated 2020 saw her go 10.95/10.79w/22.00! Yes, she can fly, and she’s not a great starter! Like Bowie she has great top end speed. I’m already thinking of the relay possibilities, pairing her and Bowie together! A better first thirty with her top end and she could be unbeatable.

Aleia Hobbs – Hobbs is another recent NCAA champion with solid top end speed. At 10.85 can be a contender. Her race lacks “explosion” though so she can’t afford to fall behind early. More than some, she will need to make minimal mistakes to get to Tokyo.

Jenna Prandini – Prandini is a favorite of mine, partly because she’s from Cali, but mostly because she runs a very textbook race. Her flaw being her first thirty where she comes up too early and lacks a drive phase. It’s why she’s actually a bit better over 200. That said, she’s still managed to make several national squads and garner lanes in Europe – she maintains speed and closes well. If she can be there at 40/50 meters, she could make this team. The one race where she did execute properly (in Eugene no less) esaw her run 10.81w! Find that again, and she makes the squad.

Hannah Cunliffe – If only Hannah could stay healthy. If so, I think she’s a better version of Daphne Schippers, because she’s fluid where Daphne isn’t. Like many other former Oregon ducks however, staying healthy seems to be difficult. And with Hannah, just add she seems ready to explode, the injuries happen. So her task is to get to the Trials fit and healthy. If she can do that, she’s got a shot. Besides, she runs an awesome third leg on the 4×1! And I’d love to see her paired up with a set of studs on the relay. I’m thinking Bartoletta, Bowie, Cunliffe and Richardson could be the next sub41!

Twanisha Terry – Terry is one of those sprinters that makes me say, “ if she”. As in, “if she had a start”. And, “if her technique was tighter”. She’s just fast, and every time I watch her I want to rebuild her. She’s a dangerous wild card, and if she puts it together will shock some people.

Tianna Bartoletta – Tianna is a long jumper first. However, she does have a 10.78 PR here – and she’s made the team before. If she decides to “double” here, she gives everyone trouble. And speaking of relays, she’s a hell of a leadoff. Though she doesn’t have to run here to be in the relay pool.

Prandini and Cunliffe are former Oregon Ducks. There are several other Ducks out there capable of making the team “IF”. They include Arianna Washington, English Gardner (getting older), Deejah Stevens, and Jazmin Todd. All good sprinters when healthy and ready to go.

There are several other 10.9x types that with a bit of improvement could have a shot. Kayla White, Teahna Daniels, Ashley Henderson, Shania Collins, and Mikiah Brisco and Morolake Akinosun to name a few.

This race could be full of more surprises than the men’s race in Eugene. The real key will be the unknown athlete or two that emerges to compete at a truly high level. We have depth, but a few are going to have to rise above the rest. It. Is. An. Olympic year!

It should take 10.8x to make this team – and could take 10.7x as we’ve seen in the past. That said, as of this moment I see the trio of Bowie, Richardson and Hobbs having an advantage over the rest – they’ve been there before. If Tianna enters, she makes it four running for three spots. Everyone else is going to have to stay healthy and seriously up their game. The faint of heart, or poorly prepared, need not show up in Eugene. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride!


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