July 5, 2014
EUGENE, Ore. - Kendal Williams is heading to the IAAF World Junior Championships in the 100-meter dash after finishing second Saturday night at the USATF Junior Championships in a season-best time of 10.27 at Historic Hayward Field.
Demonstrating the kind of top-end speed that has the Florida State coaching staff excited about the future, the Jacksonville, Fla. native's big finishing surge was good enough to catch everyone in the field except Trayvon Brommell. The reigning NCAA champion and Baylor freshman could not match his Junior world record set on the same track a month ago, but his 10.07 was good enough for the gold.
Williams' runner-up finish came moments after his fellow incoming FSU freshman classmate, Trentavis Friday, jumped the gun in the final and was disqualified.
"Wow!," FSU associate head coach Ken Harnden said. "It was a bittersweet moment and a big learning experience for both young men. I'm so happy for Kendal and there is a lot more to come. He is extremely raw. Trent will bounce back like the superstar he is."
Friday's false start overshadowed his first round time of 10.00, which broke the American record for the fastest time by a high school athlete in track & field history. The Cherryville, N.C. native broke the six-year-old national mark set by Jeff Demps in 2008 (10.01).
Collecting himself after the false start, Williams took care of business.
"Getting back after the false start wasn't too tough," said Williams, who ran 10.29 in the first round and entered the final with the fourth-fastest time in the field. "It was just about keeping composure and staying focused on what I had to do. The last 40 felt really good."
Racing out of lane six, Williams overhauled Ole Miss' Jalen Miller (10.29) and another Florida high schooler, Terry Jernigan (10.30), in closing meters to secure his spot on the U.S. team.
Friday and Williams will return to the track Sunday in the 200-meter dash as the top two seeds, respectively.
While the Seminole newcomers were central figures in the 100-meter drama, future teammate Michael Cherry was taking care of his own business in the first round of the 400-meter dash. Despite drawing lane 7 in the first heat, the top-seeded Cherry advanced to Sunday's final automatically by winning his heat in 46.80.
It was Cherry's first step toward a bit of redemption for the FSU freshman, who suffered an injury prior to the NCAA Championships and was rendered a spectator on the same track just a month ago.
"Mike ran a very conservative race, did exactly what we asked of him and won his heat convincingly," Harnden said. "We're looking for a far more aggressive race from him tomorrow."
While Cherry is moving on to the final, incoming Seminole freshman Zyaire Clemes' bid for a spot on the US World team came to a close as he finished third in his heat (47.78) and finished 10th overall.
Florida State freshman Sydnee Over was a bit more fortunate, parlaying her season-best time of 2:08.53 into a spot in Sunday's 800-meter final. Over grabbed the final qualifying spot on time with a strong third-place finish in the third and final preliminary heat.
"It was a big-time run for Sydnee," Harnden said. "She has adjusted her outlook towards our race plan and it is beginning to show. All praise to Sydnee. She has worked really hard all year. I am very proud."
Sunday's action for the competing Seminoles begins at 6:10 p.m. (ET) with the preliminary rounds of the 200-meter dash. Williams will run out of lane 4 in the first heat, while Friday will be in lane 6 in second heat. Winners in each of the three heats, plus the next five fastest times will advance to the 200 final, which is set for 9:10 p.m.
Cherry will chase the gold and a spot on the US team out of lane 5 in the 7 p.m. (ET) final, with Tyler Brown - the fastest qualifier (46.47) - in lane 4. Over will be in lane 8 for the 800-meter final at 7:35 p.m.
You can track the `Noles in action by following on Twitter @FSU_Track. Sunday's action will be streamed live: http://www.usatf.tv/gprofile.php?do=view_event&event_id=7289&mgroup_id=45365&year=2014.
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