Walker advances in USA Track Championships - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Walker advances in USA Track Championships

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Third place was a winning performance Thursday night for Northwestern State senior sprinter Justin Walker, who advanced out of the first round of the 100 meter dash into the 16-man semifinal round at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships.

Walker, fourth in the 100 at the NCAA Outdoors early this month, ran a 10.42 into a 2.5 mph headwind while finishing third in the second heat to automatically advance to an 8:07 CST Friday evening semifinal. The eight-man final will be contested at 10:52 Friday night. The top three finishers Thursday in each of four heats automatically advanced, along with the next four fastest times from a field of 30 runners.

The wind for Walker's heat was by far the strongest faced by contestants. Harry Adams of Nike won the second heat in 10.35, with Mookie Salaam of adidas second at 10.36. Walker outran another collegian, Texas-Arlington junior Clayton Vaughn (10.44), to nab the third automatic berth in the heat. Vaughn, sixth in the NCAA 100, failed to advance to Friday's semifinals.

Nike's Mike Rodgers was the fastest qualifier Thursday in 10.11 as he ran in the only heat with a tailwind. Walker was among five collegiate competitors to advance, joined by DionDre Batson of Alabama (10.27), Darrell Wesh of Virginia Tech (10.31), Christopher Royster from South Carolina (10.34) and Florida's Antwan Wright (10.41).

"Justin got a great start, but when he came out of the drive phase, the headwind was brutal. He hung in there and competed well enough to survive and advance, which is all we wanted tonight," said NSU head coach Mike Heimerman. "Hopefully tomorrow the winds will be a little more kind. We will go back and reanalyze our approach and be prepared for whatever comes his way. The 16 best sprinters in America were left standing tonight."

After Friday's action, Walker runs in the opening round of the 200 meter dash Saturday afternoon.

Internet and network television coverage will be available throughout the meet. All events will be webcast on USATF.tv while Friday's races will be on NBCSN  from 9-11 p.m. CST, and live on NBC Saturday from 3-5 p.m. and on Sunday from 3-5, after an opening hour 1-2 on Universal Sports.

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