Fred Kerley advances to 400m final at World Championships

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DOHA, Qatar – Aggie alum Fred Kerley won his 400m semifinal heat in 44.25 seconds, advancing to the final at the IAAF World Championships during Wednesday’s action in the Khalifa International Stadium. Another pair of alums, Lindon Victor and Annie Kunz, completed the first day of the multi-events in fourth and fifth place, respectively.

Kerley had a strong start and dominated the semifinal heat through 300m, then cruised to the finish line ahead of Kenya’s Emmanuel Korir (44.37), who advanced to the semifinals of the 800m during these World Championships.

“It’s all about Friday,” Kerley said of the 400m final. “Now, the first thing before the final is to recover. The spirit always helps when you have USA across your chest. This is very important for me as this is my second professional season.”

Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas won the second semifinal in 44.13 with Grenada’s Kirani James runner-up in 44.23. In the third semifinal, 2019 world leader Michael Norman did not advance as he slowed over the second half of the race and placed seventh in 45.94. Machel Cedeno of Trinidad & Tobago claimed the third semifinal in 44.41 ahead of Colombia’s Anthony Zambrano (44.55).

In Friday’s 400m final, which starts at 4:20 p.m. CT, Kerley will be stationed in lane five with Gardiner in lane four, Cedeno in lane six and James in lane seven.

Facing a field of 23 in the decathlon, Victor produced solid marks throughout the first five events in generating a score of 4,474 points. A time of 10.66 for 938 points in the 100m made him fourth best to open the multi-event. A career best long jump of 24-7 ¾ (7.51) followed for 937 points as he remained in fourth place.

A season best in the shot put added 866 points off a 53-3 ½ (16.24) and moved Victor into third place. A high jump clearance of 6-8 ¾ (2.05) picked up 850 points and kept him third overall. Closing the first day of the decathlon with the 400m, a season best time of 48.55 earned 883 points.

The Canadian tandem of Damian Warner (4,513) and Pierce LePage (4,486) lead the decathlon while defending champion and world record holder Kevin Mayer of France (4,483) is third. Victor is currently in fourth place, just 39 points behind the leading score.

Competing among a field of 20 in the heptathlon, Kunz had a stellar first day in totaling 3,840 points. She started with a career best of 13.27 in the 100m hurdles for 1,084 points. A clearance of 5-10 ¾ (1.80) added 978 points from the high jump. In the shot put, her mark of 45-0 ¼ (13.72) picked up 775 points. Closing out the first day with the 200m, Kunz clocked 24.37 for 945 points.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson of Great Britain leads the field with 4,138 points while defending champion Nafissatou Thiam of Belgium is second with 4,042 points. Then an American trio occupies places 3-4-5 with Kendell Williams (3,855), Erica Bougard (3,853) and Kunz (3,840). The second day of the heptathlon will include long jump, javelin and the 800m.