The women of University of Oregon track and field on the world stage

This story is the beginning of a series collaboration between Women In Flight and WCH Oregon22, in charge of organizing the Track & Field World Championships taking place in Eugene in July.

Written by Sam Faris from WCH Oregon22, in collaboration with Women In Flight

Raevyn Rogers has her likeness on the 10-story tower at the reimagined Hayward Field at the University of Oregon.

She won a silver medal at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in the 800m in Doha, Qatar, and brought home a bronze medal from the Tokyo Olympics.

Rogers isn’t the only former Oregon women’s track and field star making an impact on the professional track and field scene. From Jenna Prandini to English Gardner and more, many of these athletes have competed on the international stage – specifically the World Championships.

Prandini, originally from Clovis, California, attended the UO from 2011 to 2014 and established quite the resume while competing for the Ducks. An eight-time all-American and a five-time Pac-12 champion, Prandini was an unstoppable force. She also collected five NCAA top-three finishes, including three NCAA championships.

Following the 2015 season, when Prandini won the Bowerman Award as the nation’s top college women’s track and field athlete, she competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics, leading to a professional career. Since her time at Oregon, Prandini has competed in two Olympic Games and three World Athletics Championships.

“I’ve had a lot of experience on the world stage so I’m excited that America finally gets to hold a big meet and it just happens to be in Oregon so I’m excited about that,” Prandini said. “For me, it’s being able to go out and represent the United States. Just to go and be able to represent the country is incredible in itself.”

In 2015, Prandini helped Team USA earn a silver in the 4x100m relay, and advanced to the semifinals of the 200m. In 2017 and 2019, she competed in the 4x100m relay.

“At the World Championships, the best of the best are going to be there. If you’re able to experience and witness it in person, the amazing talent of all these athletes, people in America have the chance to do so now,” Prandini said. “I hope people are able to enjoy it and see how talented these athletes are who are competing.”

Jasmine Todd was a teammate of Prandini’s at Oregon who also has competed on the biggest stage at the World Athletics Championships.

Todd joined the Ducks in 2012, and was a five-time all-American. While still competing for Oregon, Todd helped the U.S. earn a silver medal in the 4x100relay at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing.

“You have that pride, our team (Oregon) was so dominant… It’s kind of the same thing as representing Team USA,” Todd said. “You cheer each other on just like you would on a USA team.”

Todd was with the Ducks for four years before turning pro in 2016. She has represented the United States at World Championships in Beijing and Doha, in the long jump, the 100m, and the 4x100m. Todd shared that though being a woman in the athletic world can be complicated, she believes women are beginning to earn the respect and attention that they deserve.

“We have Women In Flight at Oregon, and as soon as they started that program, it immediately amplified women’s athletics at the school,” Todd said. “I also think being on the women’s track team helped amplify us as athletes on campus.”

Prandini and Todd are among the dozens of female Ducks who have gone on to successful professional careers in track and field.

Jessica Hull, an Australian who traveled to Eugene for college, holds three Australian national records and has run in the Olympics and the World Athletics Championships.

English Gardner, who was a Duck from 2010 to 2013, brought home a gold medal from the Rio Olympic Games and appeared in the 2013, 2015, and 2019 World Championships – earning  silver medals for Team USA in  2013 and 2015.

Gardner, who is training for the upcoming championships, is excited for the meet to be held on her home turf at Hayward Field.

“Track and field is Oregon,” Gardner said. “We did a documentary, either my freshman or sophomore year, and it showed me all of the great women who have come out of Oregon. It’s a place where you are almost inclined to figure out who you are and to find ways to express that.”

Beyond those four are more women who have done well after leaving the Oregon program for professional careers. With the World Athletics Championships heading to Eugene this summer, there is sure to be continued success for all of the women of Oregon who contend.

Stay tuned for more stories from WCH Oregon22 and Women In Flight highlighting UO women in sport!