A&T's men's track and field sprinters and hurdlers turned in a strong effort, but one that also will leave them wanting, on the opening day of the NCAA track and field championships at Austin, Texas.
A&T, which has the nation's No. 10-rated team, advanced entries in four of its seven events to finals on Friday night. Hurdler Michael Dickson and Trevor Stewart will compete in one individual final and one relay final each.
Surprisingly, senior star Rodney Rowe moved forward only with his 4x100 relay team, falling oh-so-short in the 100 meters semifinal and then missing about an hour later in the 200.
Athletes who advanced from today's semifinals to Friday night finals are guaranteed to score points for their teams and have clinched first-team All-America status by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Greensboro sophomore Chantz Sawyers, running for Florida, advanced to finals in two events.
Tonight's competition featured men's athletes, and Thursday's schedule is built around women's competitors. A&T, ranked 12th nationally among women's teams, will have eight athletes on the track Thursday night in six events, and High Point's Tamara Clark, racing for Alabama, also will run.
Because of the News & Record's deadlines and event starting times Thursday and Friday, coverage of the first day of women's competition and the men's finals Friday will be found only at Running Shorts at Greensboro.com/runningshorts.
A recap of events tonight involving area athletes:
Men's 4x100 relay: Michael Dickson, Akeem Sirleaf, Malcolm Croom-McFadden and Rowe claimed the eighth and last spot in the final with a season-best 39.00, edging Illinois by one one-hundredth of a second. Chantz Sawyers and his Florida teammates ran the fastest time, a season-best 38.35. The final is at 8:32 p.m. EDT Friday.
Men's 110-meter hurdles: Dickson finished in 13.54 seconds, claiming the eighth spot for the final at 9:12 p.m. Friday and equaling his personal best.
Men's 100: Rowe narrowly missed advancing to his first individual final. His sprint in 10.058 seconds came up seven one-thousandths of a second behind the final qualifier, Purdue's Waseem Williams (10.051), who was two lanes over in the first heat with Rowe.
Men's 400: Trevor Stewart, in 44.84 seconds, ran the second-fastest time, behind Alabama's Kahmari Montgomery (44.80), and moved into the final at 9:32 p.m. Friday. Sawyers, in 45.54, took the eighth spot in the final. Sirleaf ran a 46.43 and finished 17th.
Men's 400-meter hurdles: Akeem Lindo's personal best of 50.38 wasn't enough to get the freshman into the final. His time was 10th-fastest in the field.
Men's 200: Rowe's 20.47 did not qualify him for the final and ranked as the No. 13 time in the field. Sirleaf did not start.
Men's 4x400 relay: Stewart, Kemarni Mighty, Justin Hamilton and Sirleaf teamed for a season-best 3:02.45 that was fourth-fastest among the 24 teams. The final is at 10:51 p.m. Friday.