EUGENE, Ore. -- LSU senior Trindon Holliday took his first step toward qualifying for this summer’s IAAF World Championships in Athletics on Thursday afternoon by advancing to the semifinal round of the men’s 100-meter dash at the 2009 USA Outdoor Championships at historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.
Holliday cruised into the semifinal round by finishing runner-up in his preliminary heat Thursday with a heavily wind-aided time of 9.98 seconds run with a tailwind of 4.3 meters per second.
The top two finishers in each of the five preliminary heats of the 100 meters and athletes with the six fastest times outside the top two advanced to Friday’s semifinal slated to run at 5:45 p.m. CT.
Holliday is fresh off of his dominating NCAA title win the 100-meter dash at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on June 12 when he set a new personal best and the fifth-fastest time in the world this season at 10.00 in the national final in Fayetteville, Ark.
“My goal coming into the meet was to be smart and run my race so I can advance,” Holliday said following his race. “I didn’t really have the kind of start that I wanted to have. I didn’t feel all that good about it. I’m going to concentrate on getting out better tomorrow and capitalize. That will be my focus so I can have a good race and advance to the final tomorrow night.”
Holliday was not the only Tiger great to shine on the opening day of the meet as former LSU star Walter Davis punched his ticket to the World Outdoor Championships with a second-place finish in the men’s triple jump in his first competition of the 2009 outdoor season.
Davis, who took second place after jumping 55 feet, 3 inches on his final attempt Thursday evening, will represent the United States in the triple jump at the World Championships for the fifth time in his career on the strength of his top-three finish this weekend while eclipsing the “A” qualifying standard with a wind-legal mark of 56-2 set a season ago.
The 2009 IAAF World Championships in Athletics will be held in Berlin, Germany, this summer from Aug. 15-23 at Olympic Stadium, which is the site of the infamous 1936 Olympic Games.
“My main goal coming here this year was to make the team and go to Worlds,” Davis said. “After not making the Olympic team last year, that left a really bad taste in my mouth, and I wanted to come out here and make the team. Making the team is all I could ask for. I’m not satisfied being a runner-up, but I’m heading to Berlin and things are going to change once I get there.”
Thursday was also a special day for former Lady Tiger Muna Lee, who returned to the site of her gold-medal winning run in the 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic Trials last summer.
Lee will also run in the semifinals of the women’s 100-meter dash on Thursday after winning her preliminary heat with a wind-aided time of 11.01. She is also scheduled to race in the preliminary round of the 200-meter dash at the USA Outdoor Championships on Saturday.
Lee, who won 20 All-America honors during her career as a Lady Tiger from 2001-04, competed in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. She is hoping to qualify for the World Championships this weekend as she just missed winning a pair of Olympic medals in 2008 with a fifth-place finish in the 100 and a fourth-place finish in the 200.
Lady Tiger junior LaTavia Thomas also enjoyed an outstanding day of qualifying as she qualified for the semifinal round of the 800-meter run to be held Friday at 7:55 p.m. CT.
Thomas, who earned All-America honors with a third-place finish in the event at the NCAA meet two weeks ago, qualified automatically for Friday’s semifinal round by finishing runner-up in her heat with a time of 2 minutes, 4.58 seconds. Thomas earned the right to compete at the 2009 USA Outdoor Championships after setting a personal best of 2:01.56 in the NCAA final.
Two former Tigers also advanced to the semifinals of their respective events on Friday as Xavier Carter advanced in the 400 meters and Jeffrey Fisher advanced in the 800 meters.
The action continues for LSU at this year’s USA Championships on Friday at 5:20 p.m. as former Tiger Ryan Fontenot lines up in the prelims of the men’s 110-meter hurdles. ESPN will broadcast the meet live to a national television audience on Friday from 7-9 p.m. CT.