DES MOINES, Iowa – Two Lady Tiger alums lined up in Saturday’s finals at Drake Stadium with an opportunity to earn their trip to Moscow, Russia, as part of Team USA as Lolo Jones competed in the 100-meter hurdles and Rebecca Alexander lined up in the 400-meter dash at the 2013 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
The top three finishers in each event that have met the “A” qualifying standard will compete for the United States at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics being held later this summer.
Jones and Alexander each earned the right to compete for a spot on the team in Saturday’s finals following a pair of impressive performances in their respective semifinals where they set new seasonal bests for 2013.
Jones kicked off Saturday’s semifinals by lining up in the second of two heats in the women’s 100-meter hurdles, and she delivered a seasonal-best wind-aided time of 12.44 seconds (+2.7) to take the heat in front of a matching time of 12.44w by Queen Harrison. It was the second-fastest time of the semifinal round, trailing only the windy 12.30 by Brianna Rollins in winning the first heat.
And Jones then wrapped up Saturday’s action at Drake Stadium by lining up in the championship final of the 100 hurdles with a goal of qualifying for the World Championships for the first time in her professional career as one of the world’s leading sprint hurdlers. She had already twice competed for the United States at the Olympic Games in 2008 and 2012.
The women’s 100-meter hurdles certainly lived up to its billing as the deepest event at this year’s championship as Jones crossed the finish line in the final with a wind-legal time of 12.55 (+1.2) for fifth place, coming up two spots short of qualifying for the World Championship team. Jones finished the weekend as the No. 4-ranked hurdler in the world with her seasonal best of 12.50 set in Friday’s opening round.
Clemson’s 2013 NCAA champion Brianna Rollins set the American record with a world-leading 12.26 to win the U.S. Outdoor crown, followed by Harrison in second place at 12.43 and Nia Ali in third place at 12.48 as each earned their spot on Team USA. Jones also followed Kellie Wells (12.54) across the finish line for fourth place in the final.
Alexander also stepped onto the Drake Stadium track for the final of the women’s 400-meter dash after earning her lane with a seasonal best of 51.78 run in the semifinal round held on Friday evening.
Alexander crossed the finish line in seventh place with a time of 52.24 to wrap up her appearance this weekend at the USA Outdoor Championships. Natasha Hastings was crowned the U.S. Outdoor champion with her winning run of 49.94, while Francena McCorory (50.01) and Illinois sophomore Ashley Spencer (50.58) also earned their spot on Team USA heading to the World Championships.
Other finalists who are potential selections for Team USA’s 4x400-meter relay pool are Joanna Atkins (50.77) in fourth place, Jessica Beard (51.06) in fifth place and Sanya Richards-Ross (51.92) in sixth place overall.
Another former Lady Tiger who will have an opportunity to earn her trip to Moscow during Sunday’s finale is Cassandra Tate, who clocked a new seasonal best in the 400-meter hurdles for the second-straight day after running 55.79 for third place in the second semifinal heat. The championship final of the women’s 400 hurdles is scheduled to run Sunday at 3:44 p.m. CT.
It marks the second year in a row in which Tate has qualified for the final in the 400 hurdles after earning a fifth-place finish in the event at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials in Eugene, Ore., a season ago.
Sunday’s finale will also feature Lady Tiger senior Kimberlyn Duncan and Tiger sophomore Aaron Ernest in the semifinal round of the 200-meter dash as each were among the top qualifiers in Saturday’s opening round.
Duncan, a six-time NCAA Champion in the women’s 200 meters during her collegiate career, officially kicked off her professional career in Saturday’s qualifying race as a Nike athlete and didn’t disappoint as she cruised to an easy victory in the second heat with a wind-aided time of 22.31 (+2.2). Dee Dee Trotter followed Duncan in second place in the race with her time of 22.54.
Duncan’s opening run of 22.31w was the second-fastest time of the day behind only the wind-aided run of 22.23 (+5.2) by Jeneba Tarmoh to win the fourth of four qualifying heats.
Ernest sprinted to his fastest 200-meter time under all conditions on Saturday afternoon as he crossed the finish line in 20.36 (+4.5) to take fifth place in the third qualifying heat with the 11th-fastest time of the day. He trailed Brandon Byram (20.21w), Wallace Spearmon (20.23w), Remontay McClain (20.32w) and Dedric Dukes (20.34w) across the finish line in the race.
The semifinal round of the men’s 200-meter dash will run Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m., followed by the women’s semifinal heats at 2:22 p.m.
Also competing Saturday at the USA Outdoor Championships was former Tiger national champion Barrett Nugent, who finished in 22nd place overall in the qualifying round of the men’s 110-meter hurdles with a time at 13.68 (+2.5). Nugent was the seventh-place finisher in the second preliminary heat.
Time Schedule for LSU Entries at the 2013 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships
Note: Times are Central and subject to change based on round-by-round qualifying
Sunday, June 23
TV Coverage: LIVE on Universal Sports (1-2 p.m. CT); LIVE on NBC Sports Network (2-3 p.m. CT); LIVE on NBC (3-5 p.m. CT)
2:05 p.m. – Men’s 200 Meters Semifinals (Aaron Ernest)
2:22 p.m. – Women’s 200 Meters Semifinals (Kimberlyn Duncan)
2:30 p.m. – Men’s Long Jump Final (Jeremy Hicks)
3:44 p.m. – Women’s 400 Hurdles Final (Cassandra Tate)
4:10 p.m. – Men’s 200 Meters Final (Aaron Ernest)
4:20 p.m. – Women’s 200 Meters Final (Kimberlyn Duncan)