EUGENE, Ore. - Members of the LSU Track & Field program were a perfect 4-for-4 in Thursday's qualifying at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials, as senior Cassandra Tate and junior Kimberlyn Duncan joined alums Walter Davis and Zedric Thomas during the competition at historic Hayward Field.
Davis is eyeing his third trip to the Olympic Games after representing Team USA in 2000 and 2004 as the most accomplished triple jumper in the history of the Tiger program.
Davis quickly moved himself near the top of the event standings with his opening mark of 54 feet, ½ inch for second place after the first round. He then wrapped up a fourth-place finish for the qualifying round as he improved to 54-4 ½ in the second round to easily finish among the Top 12 advancing to Saturday.
Thomas advanced as the 12th and final qualifier from Thursday's competition as he posted a series-best of 53-3 in the third round of jumps following a pair of fouls to open the event.
Reigning World champion Christian Taylor reached the automatic qualifying mark for the final in his first round attempt with the top mark of the day at 56-8. Will Claye followed with the second-best jump for the afternoon at 55-1 ½, while Aarik Wilson finished third overall in qualifying with a mark of 54-8.
Both Davis and Thomas will return to action on Saturday at 6:40 p.m. CT as the top eight qualifiers in the remaining field of 12 competitors advance to the triple jump final. In order to earn an Olympic berth as an addition to Team USA, each must finish among the top three triple jumpers achieving the "A" standard of 56-5 ¼ by the conclusion of Saturday's final to punch their ticket to London.
After the conclusion of the men's triple jump qualifying, Tate was the first to step onto the track Thursday in the third qualifying heat of the women's 400-meter hurdles event.
Tate, who was crowned the NCAA champion in the event while running a personal best of 55.22 with her last hurdle race on June 8, opened in 56.74 for third place in her heat behind Tiffany Williams (55.76) and Christine Spence (56.28) with the 13th-fastest time of the day.
Duncan then took her mark in the first qualifying heat of the women's 200-meter dash as a strong favorite to earn her spot on Team USA as the world's No. 2-ranked sprinter with a best of 22.19 set in the national semifinal on June 7 en route to defending her NCAA Outdoor crown in the event.
Duncan cruised to an easy win in her heat as she crossed the finish line in 22.69 (+0.8) to finish in front of Octavious Freeman (22.93) and LaShaunte'a Moore (23.09). That held up as the fourth-fastest time of the day behind Tianna Madison (22.57), Carmelita Jeter (22.63) and Sanya Richards-Ross (22.67).
Duncan will line up in the semifinal round of the 200-meter dash on Friday at 5 p.m. CT, while Tate trails in the semifinal round of the 400-meter hurdles at 5:20 p.m. to highlight the action at Hayward Field.
While both Duncan and Tate are set to run in their respective semifinals on Friday evening, two of the top hurdlers in the history of the Tiger program will start chase their Olympic dream as 10-time All-American and 2011 NCAA champion Barrett Nugent joins former Tiger standout Ryan Fontenot with the first round of qualifying in the men's 110-meter hurdles. The event is set to start at 6:05 p.m.
Time Schedule for LSU Entries at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials
Note: Times are Central and subject to change based on round-by-round qualifying. All television broadcasts are LIVE.
Friday, June 29
TV Coverage: NBC Sports Network (5-7 p.m. CT)
5:00 p.m. - Women's 200 Meters Semifinals (Kimberlyn Duncan)
5:20 p.m. - Women's 400 Hurdles Semifinals (Cassandra Tate)
6:05 p.m. - Men's 110 Hurdles First Round (Ryan Fontenot, Barrett Nugent)
Saturday, June 30
TV Coverage: NBC (8-9 p.m. CT)
6:20 p.m. - Men's 110 Hurdles Semifinals (Ryan Fontenot, Barrett Nugent)
6:40 p.m. - Men's Triple Jump Final (Walter Davis, Zedric Thomas)
8:40 p.m. - Men's 110 Hurdles Final (Ryan Fontenot, Barrett Nugent)
8:50 p.m. - Women's 200 Meters Final (Kimberlyn Duncan)
Sunday, July 1
TV Coverage: NBC (6-7 p.m. CT)
6:02 p.m. - Women's 400 Hurdles Final (Cassandra Tate)