EUGENE, Ore. - Lady Tiger senior and 2012 NCAA champion Cassandra Tate wrapped up the this year's U.S. Olympic Trials for the LSU Track & Field teams by taking home her fifth-place finish against a world-class field in the final of the women's 400-meter hurdles held Sunday at historic Hayward Field.
Despite drawing lane No. 1 in Sunday's championship final, Tate enjoyed one of the best performances of her career while crossing the finish line in 55.36 seconds for her second-fastest time as a Lady Tiger.
After qualifying for the 400-meter hurdles final in her U.S. Olympic Trials debut with her run of 55.77 for Friday's semifinal, Tate trailed the likes of American record holder Lashinda Demus (53.98), Arizona star Georganne Moline (54.33), T'Erea Brown (54.81) and Tiffany Williams (55.09) in her quest for a spot on Team USA that will be heading to London for the 2012 Olympic Games being held Aug. 3-12.
Demus, Moline and Brown earned their trip to London for the Olympic Games while finishing among the top three in the race and meeting the Olympic "A" qualifying standard in the event.
Tate has emerged as one of the top young intermediate hurdlers in the United States with her performance in 2012. She set her new personal best of 55.22 while being crowned the NCAA champion in the event on June 8 when she finished ahead of UCLA's Turquoise Thompson in the NCAA final. Thompson followed Tate again in Sunday's final while clocking 55.42 for sixth place at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Rounding out the field in the women's 400-meter hurdles final were Christine Spence in seventh place for a time of 55.72 and Dominique Darden in eighth place for her effort of 55.89.
Tate became the fourth LSU Track & Field athlete to compete in a final at this year's U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials, joining junior teammate Kimberlyn Duncan and alums Walter Davis and Lolo Jones.
Jones will be the lone LSU Track & Field athlete representing the United States in London after earning a third-place finish in the women's 100-meter hurdles final on June 23. Davis also earned a bronze medal at the U.S. Olympic Trials with his third-place finish in the men's triple jump, but did not reach the Olympic "A" qualifying standard he needed in Saturday's competition. Duncan nearly earned her trip to London in the women's 200-meter dash, but was one spot short with fourth place in her final on Saturday.