Selmon and Zoller fell just short of achieving their dreams of contending for a medal in their events as they both were eliminated in the semifinal round of the men’s 400-meter hurdles and women’s 400-meter dash, respectively, at the prestigious meet, which was held at the world-famous Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus.
For Selmon — who graduated from Pace in May and is now headed to North Carolina on a track scholarship — there was an especially disappointing moment in the semifinal heat of the men’s 400 hurdles.
As he headed toward the finish line, Selmon stumbled over the ninth of 10 hurdles in the race to finish with a time of 52.18 seconds, placing sixth out of eight hurdlers in his heat and 15th out of 24 overall. The top eight overall times qualified for the finals.
“I’m very content with what happened,” he said. “I kind of found peace with it. In the moment, when I stumbled off of the ninth hurdle and fell out of contention and didn’t make the finals, it was very heartbreaking, because I worked so hard to get there and I wanted to do well when I was there and that hurt.
“But I’m very thankful for what I have learned from that experience. I know a lot more about the race after I got to see it [on a TV replay] and I saw the outcome. I’m not happy about not making the finals, but I’ve come to terms with it.”
Selmon began his quest for a medal in the men’s 400 hurdles on an encouraging note when he won his heat in 52.15 seconds, placing ninth out of 24 qualifiers, to earn his spot in the semifinals.
“I felt real good,” Selmon said. “I ran the race I was supposed to. When you have three rounds in three days, back to back to back, you don’t always try to run your fastest time, so I was comfortable with my race. It was raining, too, so I had to go through that.”
On a more positive note, Selmon was elected the captain of the U.S. team by his teammates at the beginning of the meet.
“It was very shocking, but I felt comfortable with it,” Selmon said. “It was quite an honor.”
It was the second international competition for Selmon, who won a bronze medal in the 400 hurdles at the IAAF World Youth Track and Field Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine last July.
For Zoller, it was her debut on the international stage.
The Holy Innocents’ rising senior was one of the youngest competitors in the women’s 400. She fell just short of earning a spot in the finals after finishing her semifinal round with a time of 55.47 seconds, placing last out of eight competitors in her heat and 22nd out of 24 overall.
Zoller, competing for her native Switzerland, qualified for the semifinals with a time of 55.12 seconds in the first round, finishing fourth out of seven competitors and 22nd out of 30 overall.
“It made me want to work hard and become better to compete on the international level,” said Zoller, a dual U.S.-Swiss citizen. “It was an amazing experience and even though I was one of the youngest, I still think I did pretty well.”
Zoller is in the middle of a two-week stay in Switzerland, where she is training with the Swiss national track team and is scheduled to compete in a couple of meets there before returning home next week.