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Gay Advances to 100-meter Semifinals at Olympi

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Gay Advances to 100-meter Semifinals at Olympi

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Junior NCAA champion Tyson Gay displayed solid performances in the 100-meter dash at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials and moved through two rounds of qualifying to advance to the semifinals. In the first qualifying round he finished third in his heat to advance to the quarterfinals. After a slow gun signified a false start Gay recorded a time of 10.28 that placed him at 12th overall. The false start was committed by Brian Lewis, who went on to win the heat (10.23). Marcus Brunson was second (10.24) and World 200-meter Champion John Capel rounded out the four automatic advancers with a time of 10.29.
In the quarterfinals Gay found himself lining up against the world’s best, including three-time World 100-meter champion and 2000 Olympic gold medalist Maurice Greene, 2003 NCAA 100-meter champion Mardy Scales and Olympic gold medalist Bernard Williams. Gay crossed the line in third again, but this time he improved with a clocking of 10.17 to move on to the semifinals. His performance was ninth overall. Greene won the heat in 10.06, Williams was second (10.11) and Scales was the fourth qualifier (10.23).
“I felt real good about my races today,” Gay said. “I was happy with all my performances, but my coach was expecting me to get second in that heat and I got third, so I need to keep working on my starts. I feel real confident about tomorrow. My nerves have calmed down. I feel like if I go out and do what I did today I’ll make it to the finals.”
“I’m happy he’s made it through tomorrow,” Arkansas sprints and hurdles coach Lance Brauman said. “He just has to take the rounds as they come and do the best that he can to make it to the next one and that’s what he’s done so far. We can’t ask for more than that.”
For Sunday’s semis Gay was placed in lane seven of the second heat and is the only collegiate athlete. He will be joined by an impressive list of sprinters that includes Jason Smoots, Mardy Scales, Shawn Crawford, Leonard Scott, Justin Gatlin, Bernard Williams and Dwight Phillips.
Junior James Hatch saw his Olympic hopes come to an end when he finished out of the top four in the second heat of the 800 meters. Hatch turned in a time of 1:48.62 for seventh place, while Khadevis Robinson took the tape in 1:47.49.
“No one really expected me to get this far,” Hatch said. “I was in the top 16 in the country. I had a good race. I was picking them up and putting them down in the last stretch, but I just wasn’t picking them up and putting them down fast enough. I’m not disappointed; this has been a great experience and opportunity.”
On Sunday Gay will run in two more races if makes it all the way to the finals. The semifinals will be contested at 4:30 p.m., while the finals are at 6:48 p.m. CT. The quarterfinals of the 400 meters with junior Terry Gatson will also take place on Sunday at 5 p.m. Former Razorbacks Melvin Lister and Erick Walder will fight for a top three finish in the finals of the long jump to make the Olympic team at 5:30 p.m.



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