By Jake Willard

In his return to Hayward Field after relocating to Phoenix, Arizona to train, Devon Allen put on a show for the crowd with victories in meet-record times in the 110-meter hurdles and 100-meter dash Friday night. He finished the races at the Oregon Twilight Meet in 13.42 seconds and 10.29 seconds, respectively.

The Olympic hurdler had some breathing room in the 100 meters, beating Oregon’s Myles Webb by 0.13 seconds, but faced strong competition in the hurdles from his training partner Jonathan Cabral and Syracuse graduate Freddie Crittenden III.

Crittenden, who had spent several days in Phoenix with Allen and Cabral in what he called an “unofficial training camp,” knew Allen had a strong finish and used that knowledge to help pull him to second place. “Just lining up next to him, I know if he’s coming, I got to try to go with him,” he said. “So I can try to practice finishing stronger.”

After 18 solid months of healthy running following his second knee surgery in September 2016, Allen feels confident in his signature finish, with little pain in his knee. “My last five or six hurdles were really strong,” he said. “As long as I’m in the race, I have a chance.”

Despite his strong finishing abilities, it is Allen’s start that he has worked on the most. Since moving to Phoenix and training with his high school coach Tim O’Neil, he has been practicing a seven-step approach to the first hurdle over his normal eight steps. After seeing some success with it at Hayward Field on Friday, Allen is still unsure if he will continue with the technique.

“I’m still trying to figure it out,” he said. “Me and my coach are going to reevaluate this week and see if we go back to eight or stick with seven.”

Much like Allen, Cabral has also been working on his form with O’Neil, and was excited about the little team they have created down in Phoenix. “We keep a competitive training environment without the gruel of the competition,” he said. “We keep it lively and light while still working on a really high caliber.”

While the former Ducks might not have “gruel of the competition” on a daily basis, there is still a friendly rivalry between Allen and Cabral. It was especially present in the race on Friday.

“Jonathan beat me [in this race] last year, so it’s good to kind of get some bragging rights,” Allen said. The defeat only made Cabral excited for the rematch on the new Hayward Field in 2020. “We were joking about it. I told him, ‘you haven’t beat me at a Twilight yet,’” Cabral said. “But, we’ll see a few years from now.”

Allen and Cabral will both head back to Arizona for a few more weeks of training before they take to the track again this season. While Cabral is still weighing his racing options, Allen has his eyes set on the Prefontaine Classic at the end of this month. “Hopefully I can dip into the 12s here at Prefontaine,” Allen said. “That’s my goal.”