Five with UT Track & Field ties advance at USa Championships

Knoxville, Tenn. (WVLT/Submitted) -- DES MOINES, Iowa. – Led by a pair of former Lady Vols in the 800-meter race, five athletes with ties to the Tennessee track & field program advanced to the next round in their respective events on the opening day of the 2013 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.

One of two current Tennessee thinclads in action on Thursday, freshman sprinter Felicia Brown punched her ticket to Friday’s 400m semifinals with a readout of 53.17 seconds. Running in heat two, Brown missed out on one of the automatic qualifying slots, but her time was good for the 16th and final slot in the next round, which will run tomorrow at 8:36 p.m. ET.

With one current and three former Lady Vols in action in the 800m race, Tennessee secured two representatives in Friday’s semifinals. With the top two in each heat and the next six fastest times advancing, Chanelle Price, Phoebe Wright and Nijgia Snapp got the action going in heat one. Price earned her spot by winning the heat in 2 minutes, 2.05 seconds, while Wright followed in third with a mark of 2:02.61. Snapp placed fifth in the heat, clocking in at 2:05.88 – just off her season-best time of 2:05.

Former Lady Vol Erica Moore, who ran cross country in 2010 and is currently trained by UT Director of Track & Field/Cross County J.J. Clark, placed third in heat five with a time of 2:03.60.

When it was all said and done, Wright’s time was fast enough to join Price in the next round. With 16 moving on, Moore finished 17th overall to narrowly miss out and Snapp wound up 28th overall.

Running for New Balance, former Lady Vol Sarah Bowman – now Sarah Brown – punched her ticket to Saturday’s 1,500m finals with a fourth place finish in her heat. Brown clocked in at 4:12.93 in the second flight to finish sixth overall. She’ll look to earn a spot in August’s IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia, on Saturday at 5:46 p.m. ET.

Coming off his win over world record holder Usain Bolt, former Vol Justin Gatlin breezed to a second place finish in the second heat of the men’s 100m prelims to secure his place in Friday’s semis at 7:45 p.m. ET. Gatlin, who beat Bolt in Rome, Italy, with a time of 9.94 seconds, ran into a headwind on Thursday and finished in 10.37 seconds. The 2004 Olympic gold medalist and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist in the event, Gatlin is unbeaten in finals of the event in 2013.

Action continues at Drake Stadium tomorrow at 11 a.m. ET with the men’s decathlon, while Vol thrower Cameron Brown will open the day for the Big Orange at 2 p.m. ET in the USA Junior Championship hammer throw. ESPN2 will broadcast the meet live from 8-10 p.m. ET, while USATF.TV will have an online broadcast running all day.

For in-meet updates on the Orange & White, follow the team on Twitter at @Vol_Track. Join the conversation by using the hashtag #USAOutdoors throughout the meet.

Women’s 800m First Round: Adv. – Chanelle Price (unattached), 2:02.05/1st, Ht. 1 (3rd); Adv. – Phoebe Wright (Nike), 2:02.61/3rd, Ht. 1 (9th); DNA. – Erica Moore (Nike), 2:03.60/3rd, Ht. 5 (17th); DNA. – Nijgia Snapp (Tennessee), 2:05.88/5th, Ht. 1 (28th)
Women’s 1,500m First Round: Adv. – Sarah Brown (New Balance), 4:12.93/4th, Ht. 2 (6th)
Women’s 400m First Round: Adv. – Felicia Brown (Tennessee), 53.17/5th, Ht. 2 (16th)
Junior Women’s Triple Jump: NM – Brielyn Rogers (Glenarden TC), F

Men’s 100m First Round: Adv. – Justin Gatlin, 10.37 (w: -2.9)/2nd, Ht. 2 (9th)

! - Personal Best, !* - Tied Personal Best, a - American Record, c - Collegiate Record, adv. – Advanced, dna – Did Not Advance, dnf - Did Not Finish, dns – Did Not Start, dq - Disqualified, f - Foul, f! - Facility Record, fr - Freshman Record, fr* - Tied Freshman Record, fs - False Start, mr - Meet Record, nh – No Height, nm - No Mark, sr - School Record, w – wind-aided, wr - World Record

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