August 16, 2016 - by
Kuijken Headed To 5k Final; Zagre Cruises Into Semis

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – A pair of European Seminoles, the Netherlands’ Susan Kuijken and Belgium’s Anne Zagre, parlayed a pair of strong Tuesday morning performances at Olympic Stadium to extend their competition. Kuijken, competing in her second event of the 2016 Olympic Games, automatically qualified for the 5000-meter final with a fifth-place finish in the first of two heats. A nine-time All-American and two-time national champion for the Seminoles, Kuijken posted a season-best time of 15:19.96 as the leaders finished virtually five abreast.

“Great run for Sunshine,” FSU coach Bob Braman said, referencing Kuijken’s nickname. “Susan looked great and I bet she’ll have a little more in the final. Remember, she’s still recovering from the 10,000.”

Kuijken, who is making her Olympic debut, finished 14th in the 10,000-meter final on Friday. Still, she is no stranger to the big stage, placing eighth in the 5,000 final at both the 2013 and 2015 IAAF World Championships.

Zagre, who is making her second Olympic appearance, charged her way into the semifinals of the 100-meter hurdles Monday with a second-place finish in the first heat. Belgium’s five-time national champion and record-holder, she posted a time of 12.85 out of lane 8; the 10th-fastest from a field of 48.

“Anne ran like a true veteran,” Braman said. “That’s a quality first-round time. She’ll have a legitimate chance at making the final if she can shave a little over a tenth of a second.”

Zagre will return to Olympic Stadium for Wednesday’s semifinals, racing out of lane 5 in the third heat. The top two finishers in each of three semifinal heats, and the next two fastest time will advance to the final.

In the midst of her best string of performances in more than a year, FSU’s school record-holder will try and qualify for her first final on the world stage since competing as at the junior level. The semifinals are scheduled to begin at 7:45 p.m. (ET), with the final to follow at 9:55.

Competing in the same heat as Zagre, 2016 Seminole Meme Jean was not as fortunate. The ACC Indoor champion in the 60-meter hurdles got out of the blocks slowly, then hit a series of hurdles late in her run. Though she crossed the finish line seventh (14.08), she was later disqualified.

“Meme hammered hurdles 7-0 and couldn’t rebound from that,” Braman said of Jean, who is representing Haiti after one season as a grad student with the Seminoles. “She has had an amazing year.”

The only other Seminole in action Tuesday was Belgium’s Jonathan Borlee, who had the distinction of competing in the 200-meter dash first-round heat alongside Jamaica’s Usain Bolt. Bolt won 20.28, while Borlee – who competed earlier in the 400 and will return for the 4×400 relay – was fifth in 20.64.

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