KINGSTON, Jamaica - Former LSU Track & Field stars Isa Phillips and Nickiesha Wilson will look capture a return trip to the Olympic Games on Friday after advancing to the final of the 400-meter hurdles during Thursday's semifinal action at the 2012 Jamaican National Senior Track & Field Championships.
While lining up in the first heat in the first event of the meet, Wilson crossed the finish line with a time of 56.95 seconds for third place in the race and fifth place overall in the semifinal round to secure her spot in Friday's championship final that is scheduled to run at 8:20 p.m. CT.
Wilson followed Kaleise Spencer (55.92) and Danielle Dowie (56.85) across the finish line in the opening heat to give herself the opportunity to qualify for Jamaica's Olympic team.
Phillips followed by taking third place in the first semifinal heat of the men's 400-meter hurdles by racing to the finish line in 50.21 to trail Josef Robertson (50.03) and Roxroy Cato (50.09). Phillips qualified for a spot in the final that will follow the women's race at 8:30 p.m. on Friday night.
Both Phillips and Wilson are looking to make their return to the Olympic Games after making their games debut in Beijing, China, in 2008. That is where each finish in ninth place in the semifinal round of the 400 hurdles as the fastest non-qualifier for the Olympic final on both the men's and women's sides. They have also appeared in three-straight World Championships for Jamaica in 2007, 2009 and 2011.
Phillips would earn an Olympic berth with a top-three finish in Friday's hurdle final as he has eclipsed the "A" qualifying standard with a best of 48.64 since qualification opened on May 1, 2011. Wilson must still achieve the Olympic "A" standard of 55.50 with a top-three finish in the women's final to qualify.
LSU's Class of 2012 recruit Nikita Tracey saw her run end in Thursday's semifinal round as she recorded a time of 59.56 sixth place in the first women's semifinal to finish in 12th place overall.
Two LSU seniors also stepped onto the track in Thursday's 400-meter qualifying, as All-Americans Riker Hylton and Jonique Day each earned their spot in Saturday's semifinal round. Day opened with her run of 52.81 for fourth place in the fourth qualifying heat, while Hylton followed by taking second place with an opening run of 47.44 in a photo finish in the first preliminary race on the men's side.
Hylton, who is the defending Jamaican 400-meter champion, was second in his photo finish with Akheem Gauntlett (47.44) and Akeem Williams (47.44) as each earned their spot in the semifinal round.
While Phillips and Wilson will be the first LSU athletes to line up in championship finals on Friday night, two other Lady Tigers will also be in action on Friday afternoon as Samantha Henry-Robinson will run in the 100-meter semifinals and Melissa Ogbourne will compete in the triple jump.