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Stan Becton | NCAA.com | April 10, 2022

NCAA Video Vault: The race that put Olympic hurdler turned NFL player Devon Allen on the map

Devon Allen wins 110m hurdles at 2014 NCAA championships

Before signing with the Philadelphia Eagles and before running in the Rio and Tokyo Olympics, Devon Allen was a freshman at Oregon. It was there his legend began.

As we go inside the NCAA Video Vault, we’ll take a look at Devon Allen’s breakthrough race in track and field.

The stage

There’s no bigger stage in collegiate outdoor track and field than the DI outdoor championships. In 2014, the championships were at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon — a historic venue. 

VENUE HISTORY: These historic moments all happened at Hayward Field

The home team, Oregon, had not won an outdoor team title in 30 years (1984), but with three events remaining, the Ducks led second-place Florida 78-48. Oregon was just one point away from clinching the title, breaking its drought. 

The next event was the 110-meter hurdle finals and Oregon had one athlete participating, Devon Allen. 

The competition

Allen entered the outdoor championships with the seventh-fastest 110 meter-hurdle time recorded during the season. In the semifinals, Allen qualified for the finals after running the third-fastest time, finishing in 13.52 seconds.

In the finals, Allen faced stiff competition and was by no means the favorite. 

In the field was Texas A&M’s Wayne Davis II, who ran the fastest semifinal time and Southern California’s Aleec Davis, 2014’s outdoor leader in the event; Davis’ 13.18-second finish was the fastest time since 1979. 

Also competing was Florida’s Eddie Lovett, the 2013 indoor 60-meter hurdles champion. 

A stacked field that largely overshadowed the freshman from Oregon.

Lane Athlete School Season's Best Time Qualifying time
1 Durrell Busby Milwaukee 13.67 13.75
2 Vincent Wyatt Radford 13.60 13.73
3 Eddie Lovett Florida 13.43 13.53
4 Aleec Harris Southern California 13.18 13.39
5 Wayne Davis II Texas A&M 13.20 13.36
6 Devon Allen Oregon 13.27 13.52
7 Greggmar Swift Indiana State 13.49 13.57
8 Trey Holloway Hampton 13.70 13.70

RESULTS: See the complete results for every event in the 2014 championships

The race

The 110-meter hurdles is a sprint, and this race was so fast that if you blinked you might've missed it.

Out of the blocks

Out of the blocks, most of the runners started fast. In 1.9 seconds, Davis already reached the first hurdle. Through the first two hurdles, Davis and Harris were out front, with Lovett, Allen and Indiana State's Greggmar Swift on their heels.

The middle of the race

Those five stayed neck and neck throughout hurdles three through six. But on hurdle seven, Swift clipped the hurdle, falling behind. In a race that can be decided in milliseconds, that was enough to knock him out of contention.

Then there were four. Allen, Davis, Harris and Lovett all led the pack in the middle lanes.

Until hurdle eight, the quartet was almost even. That's when Allen, Davis and Harris pulled away. Just three contenders remained with two hurdles to go.

👀: The track comeback to end ALL comebacks

The last two hurdles

After eight hurdles the order was as follows: Davis, Allen, Harris. 

Then on the ninth hurdle, Allen took a slight lead, hitting the ground first among the three in front. That was enough for Allen to clear the final hurdle first, setting up an all-out sprint to the finish.

The final sprint

Allen and Harris put just enough in front of Davis to set up a two-man photo finish. It was the national leader in the 110 hurdles against the freshman football player.

It was a close call, but Allen held on to finish at the line.

See the complete results from the 110-meter hurdles below:

PLACE Athlete School  Time
1 Devon Allen Oregon 13.16
2 Aleec Harris Southern California 13.18
3 Wayne Davis II Texas A&M 13.24
4 Greggmar Swift Indiana State 13.35
5 Eddie Lovett Florida 13.44
6 Vincent Wyatt Radford 13.60
7 Durell Busby Milwaukee 13.70
8 Trey Holloway Hampton 13.91

NCAA T&F: Here's how the outdoor track and field championships work

Breaking down the performance

Allen won the 110-meter hurdles title with a time of 13.16 seconds. He set a new NCAA championship record, breaking Tennessee's Aries Merritt's previous mark of 13.21 seconds.

Allen's time came out of nowhere; his title-winning race was .11 seconds faster than his previous personal best, which occurred with a stronger wind. Overall, his time was the second-fastest in NCAA history.

Allen became the third freshman to win the 110-meter hurdles in NCAA championship history and the first since 1976, joining Illinois' George Walker (1945) and San Jose State's Dedy Cooper (1976).

What did they say?

Allen on winning the title: "As the year progressed I felt like I could go for it, and that's what I did today."

Oregon head coach Robert Johnson on Allen running track and playing football: "Sometimes I don't think you guys know how hard his balancing act is."

Champions

Allen's win in the 110-meter hurdles clinched Oregon the points needed to win the team title. For the first time since 1984, the Ducks were the men's outdoor national champion. Oregon finished with 88 points, defeating second-place Florida who score 70 points.

2014 DI Outdoor Track & Field Championships: Oregon wins men's title

🏆: Here are the DI track and field teams with most NCAA championships

Watch the race again

Below, you can watch Allen's win in the 110-meter hurdles one more time.

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