RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Colleen Quigley and Kimberly Williams advanced to the finals in their respective specialties, and Marvin Bracy secured his placed in the semifinal round of the 100-meter dash Saturday morning at Olympic Stadium.
It was virtually a perfect morning for former Seminoles as the second day of track & field competition began at the XXXI Olympiad.
Williams, looking to improve on her sixth-place triple jump finish at the 2012 London Olympics, qualified sixth for Sunday’s final. The Jamaican star with more NCAA individual titles than anyone in Florida State history, posted a third-attempt mark of 14.22 meters (46-8) to comfortably put herself back on the big stage.
“Kimmi was her usually cool, collected self,” FSU coach Bob Braman said. “She took care of business and is a true medal threat in the final.”
The 2014 World Indoor Championships bronze medalist, Williams has not finished worse than sixth in the last five major world competitions. She will once again be chasing her chief rivals Caterine Ibarguen and Olga Rypakova when Sunday’s finals get underway at 7:55 p.m. (ET).
Quigley, the 2015 NCAA steeplechase champion, left a distinct impression in her Olympic debut. Facing world leader Ruth Jebet in the first of three heats, Quigley placed fourth in 9:21.82 – the second-fastest time of her career – and advanced to Monday’s final (10:15 a.m.) on time.
Jebet won the opening heat with the fastest time (9:12.62) of the qualifying rounds, but pulled her closest pursuers through to the final.
“That’s an amazing race for Colleen – 9:21 at 9 a.m. in warm conditions,” Braman said. “You can’t imagine how tough it is to be at your lifetime best in a prelim in the morning; just an incredibly gutsy race.”
Quigley, who was 12th at the 2015 World Championships, joins her USA teammates Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs in the final.
Bracy, one of the young guns on the USA sprint contingent, finished third in the first of eight opening-round 100-meter dash heats. With only the top two runners from each heat moving on to Sunday’s semifinals, Bracy had to count on his 10.16 standing as one of the next eight fastest times.
It did. In fact he and veteran Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre tied for the 15thfastest round one time of the day.
“I thought Marvin did a really nice job, especially for his first Olympic race,” Braman said. “He’ll clean up that drive phase a bit and be back under 10.00 in the semis, I’m sure. You also have to realize that his heat had the strongest headwind of all.
“It was a great opener, for sure.”
Kemar Hyman wasn’t as fortunate as Bracy. Competing in the third heat, Hyman got off to a slow start and never recovered. The Cayman Islands native and national record holder was well off his season-best (10.34), placing seventh.
Bracy drew lane 8 in heat 1 of his semifinal on Sunday, which is set to go off at 8 p.m. Jamaica’s Nickel Ashmeade and France’s Jimmy Vicaut appear to be the top challengers for Bracy, who will need to finish in the top-two in his heat, or post one of the next two fastest times from the three semifinal heats.
The much-anticipated 100-meter final is set for 9 p.m. Sunday.
Sunday’s lineup of former Seminoles also includes women’s 1500-meter semifinalists, Linden Hall and Violah Lagat, who will race out of heats 1 and 2, respectively. The former Seminole teammates will be hunting top-five finishes in their respective heats, or one of the next two fastest times, as 12 of 24 runners will move on to Tuesday night’s final.