Lake Oswego High School’s Mia Brahe-Pedersen lined up against some strong company in the first qualifying heat for the women’s 100m on Thursday at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field.
Olympic medalist Gina Brandini was to her right. Next to Brandini was Sha’Carri Richardson, who has a wind-supported time of 10.57 seconds this year.
“I definitely felt like I was running with the Sharks,” said Brahe-Pedersen, who just concluded her junior season at Lake Oswego.
They were anything but too much.
Brahe-Pedersen used a strong finish to post third with a time of 11.05 in her heat to automatically advance to Friday’s semifinals.
Richardson won his heat in 10.71. Brittany Brown finished second, with a time of 10.96 points. Brahe Pedersen beat Nike professional Kayla White and Brandini in fourth and fifth places, respectively.
White and Brandini also advanced to the semi-finals as time qualifiers. She was the fastest of the four prelims.
It has been configured this way since the timeline allocations were announced. Brahe-Pedersen received the news on a boat on the Fourth of July awaiting fireworks.
“I thought, ‘I’m going to be sick,'” she said, laughing.
Obviously, Nike thought Brahe Pedersen could hold their own. Sportswear giant Beaverton signed her to a name, image and like deal even though she has a year of high school left.
However, the safe option was to take part in the USATF U20 Championships, which will also take place this week in Hayward.
Brahe Pedersen would have come into this meet as the 100 favorite. She ranks second all-time on the US high school 200 time list of 22.43, behind perennial Olympian Allyson Felix. Last summer, Brahe-Pedersen competed in the U20 Championships, finishing second in both sprint events.
But Brahe-Pedersen was not looking for an easy way out. She wanted a challenge. You’ll face the big guns at 200 later in this encounter as well.
“I think it was a good decision,” she said.
I fought nerves Wednesday night by finding a deserted track for a light workout as the sun went down.
“It was really beautiful,” said Brahe Pedersen. “So, before my race I would visualize myself out there and be cool.”
After Thursday’s primer, Richarson offered Brahe Pedersen some encouraging words, praising her talent and telling her not to worry about the outside world.
“She was very nice,” said Brahe Pedersen.
Now, we’re in the semi-finals.
“I’ll just do what I want,” said Brahe-Pedersen. “I wouldn’t change anything. Well, maybe I’d be more aggressive. But I wouldn’t change my way of thinking at all.
“Obviously, it worked for me.”
–Ken Guo for The Oregonian/Oregon Life, reporting by Eugene
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