EUGENE, Oregon – With a third-place time of 11.07 seconds in the women’s 100 meters Aggie All-American Jeneba Tarmoh initially edged out Allyson Felix by 0.001 of a second (11.068 to 11.069) to earn a spot on the United States team for London this summer during the Olympic Team Trials at Hayward Field on Saturday.
A bit later the official times for Tarmoh and Felix both read 11.068, creating a tie for third place and the need for a committee to discuss the tie-breaking procedure.
“I’m so happy,” said Tarmoh. “Being that close to Allyson is one of the greatest things I’ve ever accomplished this year. Throughout the season I’ve been consistently close to Allyson, who is my training partner. There is no other person I’d rather be that close to in a race like this.”
The action-filled day, which included a world record decathlon victory for Ashton Eaton with 9,039 points, also had a pair of Aggies advancing to finals with Jessica Beard in the women’s 400 and Sam Humphreys in the men’s javelin.
Tarmoh was stationed in lane one for the final after placing third in the third semifinal heat with a time of 11.10, fourth best among the eighth finalist. Tarmoh had strong start in the final, which had her among the leaders early in the race.
“The start of the race is my strength,” noted Tarmoh. “I’ve been working on that aspect of my race in order to get out ahead of other people in the race and then try to stay ahead.”
Carmelita Jeter won the 100 final in 10.92 with a +0.9 wind while Tianna Madison claimed second in 10.96. Tarmoh and a fast closing Felix were very close at the finish and it took a few seconds for the time to be verified for the third-place position.
“It was so annoying waiting for the official time to come up,” said Tarmoh. “I was getting really anxious, but I knew I had to be patient. When my name showed up as third I didn’t know what to do. I almost cried tears of joy.”
Tarmoh also made the 2011 World Championship team in the 200m with a third-place finish at Hayward Field last year.
“This is a special track, I love this track, it’s amazing,” stated Tarmoh.
Humphreys advanced to the finals of the men’s javelin with a toss of 256-3 (78.12) in the qualifying round. Humphreys placed second overall among the field of 24, trailing only a 263-4 (80.27) from NCAA champion Tim Glover of Illinois State.
“I’ve thrown against all these guys, except for maybe three people,” said Humphreys. “So being in this competition is nothing new. I have pretty good confidence in myself that if I can do what I’ve been trained to do, then it will happen.
“I was definitely a little bit more nervous since it’s a bigger meet. There is a lot more on the line here. As soon as my warm-ups started going real well, I started calming down a bit. I was able to relax and just think about the three throws I needed today to get to Monday’s final.”
After opening with a mark of 253-9 (77.35), Humphreys had his best effort in the second round. However, in the third stanza Humphreys unleashed a throw over the 80-meter line (262-5), but fouled the effort when he couldn’t keep his momentum from carrying him across the foul line.
“I’m upset about the last throw, but the main thing was to make the finals and thrown again on Monday,” stated Humphreys. “The final throw felt great and real smooth. It was just horrible that I stepped over the line.
“On the last throw coach told me to keep my last cross over real low and get my feet down quicker. I changed that up and I think I got my feet down quicker. I heard the crowd react to the throw and seeing it land over the 80 meter mark, but knowing I fouled, just breaks my heart.”
Later in the afternoon Beard finished fourth in her semifinal of the 400 with a time of 51.59 over Joanna Atkins, 51.76, in fifth place. Francena McCorory won the heat in 50.55 with Debbie Dunn (50.99) and Natasha Hastings (51.28) taking second and third.
“I’m happy I made it to the final, but I wanted to run better for the lane draw,” Beard said. “Whatever I get in the final I’m going to give it my all. The race went okay, but I felt like I tightened up in the last 30 meters. It’s nothing I can’t fix for tomorrow.”
The four qualifiers from the other heat included Sanya Richards-Ross (50.81), Dee Dee Trotter (51.23), Diamond Dixon (51.58) and Keshia Baker (51.62).
Michael Preble finished seventh in his semifinal heat of the 800 with a time of 1:49.95. Preble was in fourth place during the first circuit of the race. With 650m remaining, runners in the back half of the pack made their move. That left Preble in sixth place through the final curve.
Another semifinal had incoming Aggie Aldrich Bailey placing seventh in a loaded heat of the 400 with a time of 45.82. Bailey, who drew lane 8 for the second time at the Olympic Trials, had a solid start and then started to see other runners go by him through the curve.
The heat was claimed by LaShawn Merritt in 44.78, with Bryshon Nellum second in 45.16, while Manteo Mitchell was third and Jeremy Wariner fourth, both in 45.27.
In the men’s 100, Prezel Hardy, Jr. placed sixth in his heat with a 10.55 and didn’t advance to the semifinal on time.
On Sunday, events involving Texas A&M athletes include the women’s discus with incoming Aggie Shelbi Vaughan as well as Beard in the 400, where she will run out of lane 2.
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