June 21, 2013
DES MOINES, Iowa - Florida State junior sprinters Dentarius Locke and James Harris added trips to the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships finals to their magical seasons Friday night at Drake University.
On the heels of Thursday's fastest preliminary round time in the 100-meter dash (10.10), Locke advanced from the first heat of the semifinals with a third-place time of 9.97, as he trailed NCAA champion Charles Silmon (9.85) and Rakiem Salaam (9.86) across the finish line. Former Seminole star and 2008 Olympic double-bronze winner Walter Dix pulled up with what appeared to be a hamstring issue in the first heat and eased home in eight.
Locke, the lone collegiate athlete in the eight-man final, entered as the No. 7 seed based on semifinal times and managed to improve one spot, posting a 10.05 to finish sixth in a star-studded field. Tyson Gay won in a world-leading 9.75 and was followed by fellow 2012 Olympian Justin Gatlin (9.89).
Harris claimed the fourth and final automatic qualifying spot from the second of two semifinal heats of the 400-meter dash. The ACC champion needed a big push in the homestretch - into a head-wind - to lock down his spot in Saturday's final with a time of 45.47.
"When you think about where these two guys started the year, I'm real happy with where they are," FSU associate head coach Ken Harnden said. "At the end of the day, making the final is what matters and they got it done."
Neither Locke nor Harris executed with the kind of precision Harnden had come to expect from his All-American duo. That wasn't altogether unexpected, considering both made their USA Track & Field Championship sprint debuts at the meet.
By reaching the finals at the USA Championships, Locke and Harris join Maurice Mitchell (2011) and Dix (2005) as the third and fourth Seminole sprinters to advance the finals with eligibility remaining.
Harris will have an opportunity to secure an outright spot on Team USA by placing in the top three in Saturday's final. A top-six finish would also land the Mississippi State transfer a position on the 4x400 relay pool as the team prepares for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia later this summer.
Harnden said that Locke has already been extended an invitation to join Team USA in Monte Carlo as a member of the 4x100 relay pool.
Otniel Teixeira, who will enroll in the fall at FSU after transferring from USF, advanced to the 1500-meter final at Drake in Junior Championship competition. The former Lake Brantley High School star grabbed the final qualifying spot with a time of 3:56.58.
Elsewhere, FSU junior thrower Chelsea Whalen, competing at the Canadian National Championship meet, placed second in the shot put Friday. Whalen, who will represent Canada at the World University Games in Russia later this summer, will compete in the javelin finals Saturday in Moncton, New Brunswick.
At the Jamaican National Championships in Kingston, former Seminole NCAA champion Ricardo Chambers advanced to the semifinals of the 400-meter dash. Chambers ran 46.22 to qualify 16th.
Junior Alonzo Russell secured a spot in the 400-meter finals at the Bahamas Open Nationals Friday with the No. 3 time overall. Russell ran 46.28 in his preliminary heat, trailing 2012 Olympians Chris Brown and Ramon Miller, with his second-fastest time of the season. Trevor Mackey, a member of FSU's 2013 signing class, advanced to the finals of the 100-meter dash as the No. 5 qualifier in 10.39.