Allen preparing for full season on the track
EUGENE — Devon Allen is back with the Oregon track and field team, coach Robert Johnson said Wednesday, and gearing up for what is expected to be a full season for the redshirt sophomore.
Allen was last seen on the track in the summer of 2014 winning NCAA and U.S. outdoor titles in the 110-meter hurdles as a freshman.
But the multi-sport star injured his knee on a kick return in the 2015 Rose Bowl playing wide receiver for the Duck football team and missed the ensuing track season.
He returned to the football team this fall and caught nine passes for 94 yards. With the football season over, Allen has officially resumed his track career but won't compete in the Washington Preview indoor meet in Seattle this weekend. Johnson said Allen will likely make his season debut at the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., Jan. 29-30.
“Devon is back and has been training with us for a few days,” Johnson said. “I know we were anticipating opening him up this weekend but we’re going to hold off on the idea and let him get a little more seasoning.”
And hopefully regain the form that turned him into an instant sensation in 2014 when he became the first hurdler since Renaldo Nehemiah in 1979 to win an NCAA and U.S. title in the same season. His time of 13.16 at the NCAA meet set the Oregon school record, was the second-fastest time in NCAA history, and helped the Ducks win their first outdoor team title in 30 years.
“He’s definitely been training with us and once he gets a little more work under his belt we’re going to try to debut him as soon as possible to try and get his track legs back under him,” Johnson said.
When the Ducks open their indoor season on Saturday, they’ll be taking a large group of athletes with them.
That includes top-level stars such as Jasmine Todd and Raevyn Rogers, several newcomers making their Oregon debuts and many more competing in off events.
“Just like most openers, this is a rust buster for us,” Johnson said. “It’ll give us a chance to see where we are, see where some of our deficiencies are, see where some of our weaknesses are, and give us a chance to come back and retool and see where we go from there.”
Todd, a redshirt junior sprinter/jumper coming off a summer that included competing in two events at the IAAF World Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Beijing, is entered in the 60 meters along with teammates Ariana Washington, Hannah Cunliffe and Deajah Stevens.
Washington was an NCAA indoor all-American last season in the 200 but missed most of the outdoor season with an injury. Cunliffe was a second-team all-American last season in the 60 for Oklahoma, and Stevens is a junior college transfer from College of Sequoias in California.
Rogers, the NCAA outdoor 800 champion, is entered in the 600, along with newcomer Brooke Feldmeier, an 800 indoor all-American transfer from Mississippi.
Some notable entries in the men’s meet includes Oregon football running back Tony Brooks-James in the 60, all-American Greg Skipper in the weight throw and the debut of freshman high jumper Ben Milligan.
“Just make it out unscathed, just shake off the rust and see where we’re at,” Skipper said. “I think that’s kind of the goal of the whole team. Just shake off the rust, get everything moving, get into a rhythm.”
The meet begins at 9 a.m. and ends with the men’s 4x400 relay at 6 p.m.
Tickets on sale
Single-session tickets for the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships in Portland go on sale at 10 a.m. today.
More than 600 athletes from as many as 200 different countries will compete in the four-day meet (March 17-20) at the Oregon Convention Center.
A complete schedule of events can be found online at Portland2016.com. Single-session tickets are available in three price categories for each of the five individual sessions, ranging from $30 to $159.
Those who purchase single-session tickets will also be given the option for free admission to the men’s and women’s pole vault competition and opening ceremonies at the Oregon Convention Center on Thursday, March 17.