June 13, 2008 - by
Live Updates From Day Three Of The NCAA Track & Field Championships

June 13, 2008

DES MOINES, Iowa – Throughout the NCAA Track and Field Championships Seminoles.com is going to be providing fans with live updates from the meet.

10:15 p.m. CST Update

So the third day of competition is in the books. Florida State has a slim 32-31 lead on LSU – earlier we said 30-29 in FSU’s favor, not too bad of a prediction. Tomorrow the Seminoles have four guys competing: Walter Dix and Charles Clark in the 200m, Drew Brunson in the 110 hurdles and Ray Taylor in the triple jump. Taylor starts things out in the triple jump then it’s the 200m and finally Brunson in the 110 hurdles.

LSU’s two competitors are in the 200m dash and 800m dash. The 800m is before the 200m so the battle between those two schools could be decided by the end of the 200m. Auburn’s two competitors are in the shot put and 110m hurdles. Based on the seedings for tomorrow’s events, Florida State should be a one-point winner over Auburn, 47-46. That of course assumes that Dix finishes just third in the 200m, which would be a tremendous upset. The last time he finished lowered than first in the race was his freshman year and the three guys ahead of him were Tyson Gay, Wallace Spearmon and Xavier Carter. Not bad company.

Not that all of Dix’s accomplishment aren’t tremendous already but today he added his 18th and 19th All-America awards. Assuming he doesn’t false start tomorrow, knock on wood, he’ll add his 20th All-America award. 20 All-America awards! That’s just insane. You may never see another sprinter rack up the awards like that for a long long time.

9:00 p.m update
A collective buzz blanketed the crowd of 11,088 as the eight members of the 100m finals stepped in the blocks. Some of the world’s most elite sprinters lined up to vie for the national championship including Florida State senior Walter Dix, the most decorated sprinter in Seminole history.

The race was as close as predicted, with Dix finishing in fourth, just one tenth of a second outside of first place. For those of you keeping track at home, that would be the 17th All-America honor of Dix’s storied career.

Dix will close out his career at Florida State tomorrow afternoon at 3:44 p.m. CST in the 200m finals. The race could be the deciding factor in the race for the team championship as Florida State will hit the sack tonight in first place, ahead of LSU by just one point–32 to 31–in the overall standings.

LSU has one runner in the 200m dash–the winner of tonight’s 100m race, Richard Thompson. But Dix has won the race the last two years in a row and holds the American collegiate record with a 19.69 from the 2007 NCAA East Regional Championships.

FSU will also have sophomore Charles Clark on the line in the 200m race. Clark is a six-time All-American and including two top eight finishes in the indoor 200m and one in the outdoor 200m.  Both sprinters will bring the heat to try and flush LSU out of the gold and silver spots and push Florida State to its third-consecutive national championship.

Enough can’t be said on what it means to see the end of Dix’s incredible career at Florida State. It is with the swell of a bittersweet heart that Seminole fans will bid farewell to someone who could easily finish the day tomorrow as the most talented athlete to ever step onto campus at Florida State.If you bleed Garnet & Gold, you need to put yourself near a television set tomorrow to watch Dix’s sendoff in the 200m finals on CBS. You’ll see him again–most likely in Beijing in August–but never again in the uniform on the Unconquered spirit.

In the women’s 100m hurdles, freshman Teona Rodgers ran a great race for a freshman competing in her first national championship meet. The Tampa, Fla.-native flew across the hurdles as fast as she could, but finished just out of reach for the final heat in 12th place with a time of 13.53.

Moments later senior Drew Brunson came to the line with eight hurdles standing between him and a place in the 110m hurdle finals. Brunson blasted the competition to post a new PR at 13.39, winning his heat and advancing second overall to tomorrow’s finals scheduled to take off at 4:05 p.m–which will be the Seminoles’ last race of the day

With the first heat of the women’s triple jump completed, the ACC Indoor & Outdoor Freshman of the Year Kim Williams sits in fourth place, set to automatically advance to tomorrow’s finals. Williams was in eighth headed into her final jump where she launched herself a little over 43′ to move into fourth.

8:05 p.m.(CST)
You were warned that the 4x100m relay may surprise some people. Seeded sixth, the Seminoles moved up to fourth despite some sloppy handoffs. Seven-time NCAA Champion Walter Dix led off the relay and got FSU off to a great start. His exchange with Ngoni Makusha was less than good, but they got the baton passed then the second exchange between Makusha and Michael Ray Garvin – the only regular on the relay – was a bit late but just got passed in the zone. The third exchange between Garvin and Brian Chibudu was the best and Chibudu ran a great anchor leg to get FSU up to fourth place. That definitely shifted a few points in the Seminoles’ favor enough though LSU won, but they were expected to.

Don’t worry about the other normal runners on the 4x100m relay. Drew Brunson is fine for the semis of 110m hurdles and Charles Clark will be ready to go in the 200m dash tomorrow.

While he didn’t finish as high as he may have liked, Luke Gunn earned All-America honors by taking third in the 3000m steeplechase. He ran a time of 8:34.41, but the two guys who beat him broke the stadium record. That gave Florida State 27 team points for a nine-point lead over Arizona State and Auburn. LSU is in fourth at 15 points. If Dix takes third in the 100m and the LSU guys go one-two the two teams will be tied going into tomorrows final day.

3:15 p.m (CST)

Setting the scene

It’s been a quiet morning and early afternoon for the Seminoles. With no multi-event athletes competing since Gonzalo Barroilhet is done with the decathlon, the first competitor of the day will be Ray Taylor in the triple jump at 4:15 p.m. CST. Ray is the defending champion in the event, but hasn’t been counted for any points in the pre-meet predictions, but don’t sleep on Ray. After watching Ngoni Makusha win the long jump last night Ray is ready to go.

Florida State picked up 16 points yesterday – which is 16 more than it had last year after the second day of competition. LSU just picked up its first points of the meet with five out of its javelin thrower. If everyone finishes how they are seeded coming into their events today, FSU will have a 30-29 advantage on LSU. I don’t think everyone will finish according to their seedings, they never seem to, so that number could be completely different one way or another. Auburn will also be the mix the next two days as well as Arizona State, Texas, Texas A&M and USC.

Both Florida State and LSU can score some big points today. Both teams have squads in the 4x100m relay with LSU running the top time in the prelims, but the Seminoles could surprise the field. Walter Dix will take on the Tigers’ Richard Thompson and Trindon Holliday in the 100m dash. With no LSU runners in the steeplechase, Luke Gunn has a chance to widen the gap a bit between the two schools.

In the day’s qualifying rounds the two schools will go head-to-head with each other in the triple jump and 110m hurdles. Taylor will look to get through to tomorrow’s final as will LSU’s Zedric Thomas. In the 110m hurdles, Drew Brunson is coming off a career-best time of 13.40 in yesterday’s first round. He’ll be in the lane next to the Tigers’ Ryan Fontenot.

On the women’s side, Florida State has a pair of athletes in competition today. One of the favorites to win the women’s triple jump is the Seminoles’ Kim Williams. She was second at the NCAA Indoor meet and won the NCAA East Regional title with a jump that would have broken the school record had it not been for a strong tailwind. After advancing to the semifinals in her first NCAA meet, Teona Rodgers will try to get to tomorrow’s finals in the 100m hurdles.

With all the excitement of the championships, what’s on everyone’s mind is still the flooding. Officials say the rivers are going to crest between 8 p.m. and 12 a.m. tonight – right about the time the meet is finishing up – and they’re not sure if they are going to go over the levy or stay contained. We’ve been driving the same route the last few days over the 9th-Street bridge and the water is just below the crown of the banks. We drove over a manhole that was bubbling with water like the opening of the Beverly Hillbillies. We haven’t had ran for the last two days and it’s fairly warm so hopefully the rivers won’t rise about the top of the banks.

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