June 24, 2011

EUGENE, Oregon - Jessica Beard advanced to the finals of the 400 meters of the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships during second day action at Hayward Field while a pair of Aggie sprinters competed in the finals of the 100 in the USA Junior Championships.

Running in the opening semifinal heat of the 400, Beard placed third with a time of 51.32 seconds behind Francena McCorory's 50.77 and Natasha Hastings 50.98. Mary Wineberg joined that trio in the final with a fourth-place 52.40.

Sanya Richards-Ross, the defending world champion in the 400, did not contest the semi as she prepares to make the U.S. team for this year's IAAF World Championships in the 200.

"I knew I just had to push through and be among the top four to make the final," said Beard, who placed third in the 2009 USA Championships. "I knew even without Sanya in the race that Francena and Natasha are great competitors.

"I just wanted to execute my race strategy, push out and then accelerate and actually run the backstretch. Then I want to finish as strong as I can."

Advancing to the final from the other semifinal were Allyson Felix (51.52), Debbie Dunn (51.55), DeeDee Trotter (51.75) and Keshia Baker (51.95).

After running in the first round in her A&M uniform, Beard sported a green top and black short outfit of Team adidas for the semifinal.

"This morning I put some things down on paper," noted Beard, who signed with agent Mark Wetmore. "Yesterday, I wore my Aggie uniform as a tribute to Texas A&M. Today I wanted to pay tribute to people who believe in me and want to sponsor me and basically pay me to do what I love to do."

In the men's 400 semifinal, Bryan Miller placed fifth in the second heat with a 45.69 clocking as Kerron Clement, the defending world champion in the 400 hurdles, claimed the fourth and final spot to advance to the 400 final with a 45.42 effort.

"I've had a great year, and it's been long season," said Miller, who plans to continue racing this summer. "This is definitely a learning experience. I just need to continue to learn to run my own race. I've had fun and I gave it my all. I can't say I didn't run my hardest."

Greg Nixon on the race in 45.24 and was followed by Jamaal Torrence (45.36) and Oregon's Michael Berry (45.39). Florida's Tony McQuay captured the first heat in 44.79 and was followed by Calvin Smith (45.26), Jeremy Wariner (45.28) and Miles Smith (45.32).

In the finals of the 100 meters in the USA Junior Championships, the Aggie freshman pair of Prezel Hardy, Jr. placed fourth and fifth in their respective races. Both Collier and Hardy will contest the 200 meters on Saturday.

Collier posted an 11.43 in the women's race, which was won in 11.12 by Central Florida's Aurieyall Scott with Oregon's English Gardner in second place at 11.18. Jessica Davis of USC finished third in 11.40.

In advancing to the final, Collier finished runner-up in the semifinal round with an 11.52.

Hardy ran a windy 10.31 in the men's junior final of the 100. Marvin Bracy won the race was won in 10.05 (2.2 wind) ahead of Auburn's Keenan Brock (10.22), Oliver Bradwell (10.29) and Sean McLean (10.30). In the semifinal, Hardy posted a windy 10.32 (2.1) to win his heat.

Competing in the men's javelin A&M sophomore Sam Humphreys finished 13th with a toss of 229-1 (69.84).

Former Aggie volunteer assistant coach Aries Merritt won a heat of the 110 hurdles in a windy 13.27, the fourth fastest time of the day. David Oliver posted a 13.08 to lead qualifying ahead of a 13.15 from Jason Richardson and a 13.25 by Ronnie Ash.

JAMAICAN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

In the 400 hurdle finals at the National Senior Championships held in Kingston, Jamaica, Texas A&M senior Andrea Sutherland recorded her fourth career best time of the season.

A time of 56.44 placed Sutherland fourth in the race. Kaliese Spenser won the race with a 54.15 ahead of a 54.58 by Ristananna Tracey. Finishing third was Nickiesha Wilson in 55.95.