June 23, 2011

EUGENE, Oregon - Three Aggie sprinters advanced to the semifinals of their respective events on the opening day of the USA Championships at Hayward Field on Thursday, which had a crowd of 9,949 fans.

Jessica Beard (400), Bryan Miller (400) and Jeneba Tarmoh each made it through round one and will race in semifinals on Friday afternoon. The women's 100 final will also be contested on Friday evening.

Other Aggies in action on day one of the USA Championships included Michael Preble in the 800 and Tyron Stewart in the triple jump.

In the women's 400 Beard raced in the same heat with Sanya Richards-Ross, who won the heat in 52.02 seconds. Beard posted a 52.53 to earn one of the three automatic qualifiers from the heat for the semifinal. Keshia Baker, a former Oregon Duck, claimed the third position in the heat with a 52.71.

"My race felt ok, I just need to run better in the wind," noted Beard. "I felt really strong in my last 120 meters. I always enjoy racing Sanya, she's a World champ."

The top qualifier in the 400 was Francena McCorory with a 51.46 followed by Debbie Dunn's 51.56 and a 51.71 for Natasha Hastings.

Miller also placed second in his heat of the 400, recording a time of 45.82 behind a 45.25 from Florida's Tony McQuay. Finishing third in the heat was Clayton Parros of North Carolina in 45.98.

"The first round felt easy," Miller said. "I just ran to place in the top three for the auto qualifier to the semifinal."

McQuay had the top time from the opening round, followed by a 45.61 from Jamaal Torrence and a 45.62 for Greg Nixon.

In the women's 100 Tarmoh raced in the opening heat and posted a season best of 11.23 to finish fourth and advance to the semifinal on time. Marshevet Myers won the heat in 10.87, the top qualifying time, while Miki Barber (11.09) and Lakya Brookins (11.17) of South Carolina placed second and third.

Preble finished sixth in his heat of the 800 with a 1:49.63 and placed 24th in the opening round. Stewart turned in a mark of 51-11.75 (15.84) in the triple jump to finish 17th.