After a 13-month injury layoff, English Gardner returned to track and field with a splash, winning the 100-meter dash at the Palio della Quercia in Rovereto, Italy.
Gardner, a Voorhees native and graduate of Eastern Regional High School, ran a meet-record-tying 11.02 and beat a loaded field that included 2016 U.S. champion and Olympic finalist Michelle Lee Ahye and Olympic 400-meter relay gold medalist Imani Lansiquot.
“I expected to run faster, but I am glad I had the opportunity to compete here,” Gardner said.
It was Gardner’s first race since July 12, 2017, when she ran 11.21 at Lignano Sabbiadoro, about 150 miles to the east in Italy. Soon after she shut down with an injury.
The 11.02 was her fastest time since the 2016 Olympics in Rio, when she ran 10.94 and placed seventh.
Gardner’s time makes her No. 7 American this year. Her PR of 10.74 at the 2016 Olympic Trials in Eugene is No. 7 in world history and and No. 4 in U.S. history.