Seven Cougars advance at Universiade
Eight Cougars on the USA Track & Field team had their first taste of action at the 29th Summer Universiade on Wednesday. Of the eight UH competitors, four advanced to the semifinals of their events, while two more have punched their ticket to the finals Thursday.
Sophomore Birexus Hawkins and 2016 graduate Kelli Hardnett got the night started for USA Team. Running in the women’s 400m, both sprinters placed fourth in their respective heats. Hawkins finished in 57.14s with Hardnett coming in at 54.47s.
Their times earned them both automatic qualification to the semifinals Thursday.
Sophomores Samiyah Samuels and Justice Henderson represented USA in the women’s long jump. Henderson failed to qualify for the finals, managing a high of only 4.85m. Samuels placed fifth in Qualifying Group B with a best jump of 6.08m, earning her a spot in Thursday’s final.
Sophomore sprinter Sierra Smith was the lone member of USA Team to compete in the women’s 100m. Smith finished at 11.98s in the first round, good for a fifth-place finish and the final qualifying spot.
Ultimately, Smith’s 100m campaign ended in the second round, where she ran 12.04s and finished seventh in her heat, well off the qualifying mark.
Senior sprinter Cameron Burrell and 2016 graduate sprinter LeShon Collins both ran in the men’s 100m. The two former teammates started the day off well by both winning their first round qualifying heats with Burrell running 10.43s in the first heat and Collins running 10.30s in the third heat.
In the second round of competition, the two sprinters nearly matched each other’s times. Collins sprinted to a 10.43s finish in the second heat while Burrell just edged out his teammate with 10.42s in the third heat. Both sprinters placed third in their respective heats, qualifying automatically for the semifinals Thursday.
Tossing the rock
Senior thrower Cameron Cornelius threw 17.67m in Qualifying Group A of the men’s shot put. While not an automatic qualifier, it did earn him a spot in the final.
Cornelius failed to do much better in the final, managing a best of only 17.48m in his three attempts. Out of 12 throwers, the senior came in dead last.
Joining Cornelius in the shot put final was Coy Blair of Purdue. Blair, who holds the sixth best shot put throw in Purdue history, earned his spot in the final by placing fifth in Qualifying Group B with a throw of 18.17m.
However, Blair missed the podium as well with his best throw of 18.98m placing him eighth overall in the final.
Tony Carodine from Missouri represented USA Team in the men’s triple jump. His best jump was 15.63m in Qualifying Group A, which placed him third in the group and put him through to the final Thursday.
The best performance of the day belonged to Valarie Allman.
Competing in the women’s discus throw, the world qualifier from Stanford had the best throw out of all competitors. At 58.33m, Allman’s throw was an entire meter further than the second best thrower and two meters better than anyone from Qualifying Group B.
Allman’s path to a gold medal for USA seems fixed at the moment.