Is English Gardner planning to race the 200 at USATF Nationals for the first time? It looks that way!!!

Looks like English Gardner will be running the 200-meter dash as well as the 100 this weekend at nationals.

Gardner, the Olympic gold medalist from Eastern, is entered in both sprints at the USATF National Championships in Des Moines.

Gardner has occasionally run the 200 — not very often — but she hasn’t contested it at any sort of championship meet since she ran at NCAAs for Oregon in the spring of 2013 (she was seventh), and she’s never run it at USATF nationals.

Gardner ranks seventh in world history in the 100-meter dash with her 10.74 to win the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, and that’s always been her best event.

Gardner suffered a severe knee injury playing powderpuff football her junior year at Eastern – she tore her ACL, MCL and suffered meniscus damage – and then suffered another serious injury to the same knee – another ACL with meniscus damage – while running a 400-meter relay in Monaco in the summer of 2017. Both injuries obviously required reconstructive surgery.

Because the 200 puts so much more strain on the knees than the 100 because of the turn, she’s always focused on the 100.

Her 200 PR is a relatively modest 22.62, which she ran while still in college at the Pac 12 Championships in 2013 in Los Angeles. That ranks No. 103 in U.S. history.

According to her IAAF profile, she has only raced six competitive 200s in the last six years and just one over the last two years. That was a 23.29 at the Seiko Golden Grand Prix in Osaka, Japan, in May.

The qualifying standard in the 200 for USATF Nationals is 23.20, but according to the USATF web site she has been accepted into the meet in the 200 and has declared for the 200. Athletes who are close to a qualifying standard are added to fill out the field when not enough have met the standard.

Gardner has yet to run a super-fast 100 this year. She ran 11.24 at the Prefontaine Classic last month in Palo Alto after an 11.42 at the Golden Gala meet in Rome.

Gardner hasn’t broken 11 seconds since the Olympics, when she ran 10.94 for seventh place in the 100 final. She broke 11 eight times that year, including the 10.74, which she ran in both the semis and finals at the Trials.

But she did run as fast as 11.02 last summer in Italy, a time that earned her a No. 20 world ranking and a No. 7 U.S. ranking.

Last time Gardner raced at nationals was 2017, when she was sixth in the 100. In addition to 2016, when nationals were the Trials, she won nationals in 2013 with a 10.85. She was also seventh in 2011 and 2012, fourth in 2014 and second in 2015.

The 100 looks wide open this year and a healthy Gardner would seem to have a very good chance to make the U.S. team going to worlds. Only one U.S. woman – Sha’Carri Richardson – has run faster than 10.95 this year.

This weekend in Boise, the 200 doesn’t start until the 100 is finished.

Gardner is scheduled to race in the 100 trials on Thursday afternoon, with the semis and finals on Friday.

The 200 trails are Saturday afternoon, with the semis and final on Sunday.

Nationals this year serves as a qualifying meet for the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, from Sept. 27-Oct. 6. Gardner has already met the 100 world standard of 11.24. The 200 standard is 23.02.

Gardner, now coached by her dad, is working as an assistant coach at Princeton. She’s one of three Princeton assistants with South Jersey ties, along with pole vault coach Mike Maira (Seneca), hurdles coach Robert Abdullah (Glassboro State).

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