For Francis, the Road to London Ends in Eugene
After running the 400 meters for only four months, University of Oregon sophomore, Phyllis Francis not only qualified for the Olympic Trials, but she made it back to the semi-finals with a seed time of 52.82—only .11 off from her personal best.
Though her entry time placed her twelfth in the field of sixteen semi-finalists, Francis was excited to be there: “I’m pretty proud of myself for even making it this far so I’m not complaining.” Francis felt tight during the preliminary race and admits she should have warmed-up a little more before the race. The prelims of the women’s 400 meter was run in pouring rain with temperatures in the low 60s-high 50s. Being a native New Yorker and an Oregon Duck was certainly to her advantage on Friday.
When asked for an interview after the semis, Francis said “No,” and kept walking. Taking into account how well she performed in the prelims, and the fact that she was competing on her home track in front of her home crowd, it’s understandable why she was reluctant to talk to the press. She completed her semi-final heat with a last place finish of 55.46.
Competing for the University of Oregon comes with the added weight of all the incredible athletes who came before and are competing today. As a sophomore, Francis has established herself as a rising force in the 800 meter run and the 400 meter sprint. In her freshman year, she was the national runner-up at 400 meters at the USA Junior Championships. At the Pan American Junior Championships she placed third in the 400 meters and she clocked in at 2:08.82 in the 800 meters at the Mt. SAC Relays, where she helped the Ducks win the 4x400 meter relay with the third-fastest time in school history (3:3:32.63).
Francis’ road to the London Olympics ends here in Eugene, but this is also where her junior year as an Oregon Duck, will begin in the Fall.
Contributed by Amber James