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EUGENE, Ore. – Lady Tiger senior Kenyanna Wilson missed earning a berth into the final round of the women’s 100-meter dash by the slimmest of margins during Friday’s semifinal at the 2011 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, despite setting a new personal record with a time of 11.19 seconds for the eighth-fastest time in qualifying at historic Hayward Field.


Wilson sprinted to a fourth-place finish in the first semifinal heat with the eighth-fastest semifinal time of 11.19, but came up just short in her bid to advance to the 100-meter final based on advancement rules.


In order to advance to the 100-meter dash final held Friday night at Oregon’s Hayward Field, the sprinters in the field needed to either finish in the top two spots in one of three semifinal heats or finish with one of the two fastest times outside of those finishing in the top two of their heats.


By running her personal best of 11.19, Wilson finished the semifinal round with the third-fastest clocking among sprinters finishing in either third, fourth or fifth place in the heats. She was just .02 seconds behind LaShaunte’a Moore, who earned the eighth and final qualifying spot with a time of 11.17.


Despite coming up short of her first career finals appearance at the USA Championships, Friday’s run is a fitting end to an outstanding senior season with the Lady Tigers in 2011.


Wilson, a native of Glendale, Ariz., earned three All-America honors at the NCAA Championships during the 2011 season as she followed a third-place finish in the 60-meter final at the NCAA Indoor meet with a fifth-place finish in the 100-meter final on June 10 at the NCAA Outdoor meet. Wilson also led off LSU’s 4x100-meter relay team that captured its 13th NCAA title all-time with a time of 42.64.


Like Wilson, former LSU middle distance All-American Richard Jones fell victim to advancement policy despite running the fifth-fastest time of the semifinal round in the men’s 800-meter run.


While running in the first of two semifinal heats, Jones finished the race in fifth place with his clocking of 1 minute, 46.51 seconds. Only the top-four finishers in each of the two semifinal heats qualified for a spot in Saturday’s final. Despite finishing in fifth place in the first heat, Jones finished well in front of the time of 1:48.78 run by Khadevis Robinson of Nike to win the second semifinal heat.


Former Lady Tigers national champion LaTavia Thomas also saw her USA Championship run come to an end in the semifinal round of the women’s 800-meter run as she clocked 2:04.12 to finish in seventh place in the second heat and in 13th place overall among the 16 women’s semifinalists.


Former Tiger hurdler Ryan Fontenot earned a berth into the semifinals of the men’s 110-meter hurdles, as he nearly set a new personal best of his own with a wind-legal time of 13.52 to take fourth place in the second first-round heat. That was the 16th-fastest time of the preliminary round as Fontenot earned a berth into the semifinal round. He owns a personal best of 13.48 that was set during the 2010 outdoor season.


Barrett Nugent, the reigning NCAA champion in the 110-meter hurdles, failed to advance to the semifinal after running 13.61 to finish in fifth place in the third prelim heat and in 20th place overall.


Friday also proved to be an impressive day of qualifying for many of LSU’s recruits competing in Eugene this weekend as part of the 2011 USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships.


Future Tiger sprint star Aaron Ernest of Homewood, Ala., finished in sixth place in his first career final in the U.S. Junior 100-meter dash as he crossed the finish line with a wind-aided 10.34, while running out of Lane 1. He qualified for the 100-meter final after clocking the sixth-fastest time of the qualifying round in a wind-aided 10.36 in a race that was held earlier in the afternoon.


Ernest is set to return to the track on Saturday afternoon as he competes in the U.S. Junior 200-meter dash with the qualifying round scheduled for 6:25 p.m. CDT followed by the final at 8:25 p.m.


Two future Lady Tigers from St. Louis also enjoyed a big day of qualifying at the USA Junior meet as the duo of Samantha Levin and Montenae Roye-Speight advanced to finals that will also be held Saturday.


Levin dominated the second qualifying heat in the girl’s 800-meter run as she ran the second-fastest effort of the day at 2:08.57. She finished more than two seconds ahead of her nearest competitor in the heat with Georgia freshman Megan Malasartie finishing well back in second place with her time of 2:10.77.


Roye-Speight preceded Levin’s performance with a second-place finish in the second 400-meter prelim as her time of 54.54 was the sixth-fastest in three heats of the qualifying round of the girl’s 400 meters.


Levin will line up in the final round of the girl’s 800-meter run at this week’s USA Junior Championships on Saturday evening at 7 p.m. CDT. Roye-Speight will follow with her appearance in the girl’s 400-meter dash final set for a 7:20 p.m. start at Hayward Field.


In her bid to retain her U.S. Junior championship in the girl’s heptathlon, future Lady Tiger standout Alex Gochenour bowed out of the competition following Saturday’s long jump after aggravating an ankle injury that she suffered earlier this season. Gochenour stood in fourth place in the overall point standing at 3,806 points through five events, including 680 points with a mark of 17-9 ¾ in the long jump.


Gochenour, a native of Missouri Valley, Iowa, won the 2010 U.S. Junior gold medal with her PR score of 5,300 points. She will now prepare to join the Lady Tiger program during the fall semester.



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