Garrett Jr., Williamson advance to NCAA Championships semifinals on Thursday
AUSTIN — Juniors Richard Garrett Jr. and Tyler Williamson both advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Championships with school-record performances on Thursday to highlight the UTSA men's track & field team's opening day of action at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
Garrett Jr. posted his second program record in as many meets en route to a ninth-place finish in the shot put. The Garland native recorded a measurement of 62-2 ½ (18.96m) on his second attempt of the evening and that added more than six inches to the mark he established two weeks ago when he became UTSA's first-ever Southland Conference Outdoor throws champion. He earned second-team All-America honors in the event a year ago and will attempt to duplicate that feat on Saturday, June 9, in Des Moines, Iowa.
"I stumbled upon a new delivery during practice this week and had good results, so I decided to go with it today," Garrett Jr. said. "I felt really good out there and was able to PR on my second throw, which really helped me move up in the standings early on. Qualifying for nationals has been a goal of mine all season after I just missed out indoors. Anything less was going to be a disappointment. I'm happy and excited to have the opportunity to extend my season and have a chance to be an All-American again."
Coming off a second-place performance at the Southland Championships, Williamson set a new school record in the long jump on his first attempt of the afternoon, which was good for fifth place. The Houston native, who earlier this season became just the third Roadrunner in program history to surpass the 25-foot barrier, broke the sand in a wind-aided 25-8 ¾ (7.84m) and that broke Steven Brown's six-year-old record by two inches. He will compete in the semis on Wednesday, June 6, at Drake Stadium.
"I've been jumping good all season, but I haven't been hitting the board as much as I should," Williamson said. "I was able to do that on my first jump today and that was big because it allowed me to pass on my final four attempts. That's four less jumps on my legs and with two weeks off before nationals, I should be fresh and ready to go. I was focused on what I needed to do and that was finish in the top 12. I felt like I was a little too excited at the conference meet, so I made sure I calmed down and stayed in control of my emotions today."
Meanwhile, two of the Roadrunners' three 400-meter hurdlers qualified for Friday's quarterfinals.
Sophomore Keyunta Hayes placed second in his first-round heat with the evening's third-fastest time in the 48-man field. The two-time Southland Champion circled the oval in 51.25 in the third of six preliminary sections. Junior Darryl Wyrick also moved on with a 52.49 in the first race of the day, but he had to wait out the final five heats before officially advancing. The quarters are slated for 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
Other Roadrunners who competed on the first day but did not advance included senior Mike Sanchez (shot put/31st), junior Roscoe Robinson (long jump/34th), sophomore Joshua Smith (400m hurdles/33rd) and freshmen Andrew Akens (shot put/39th) and Christopher Hall (400m/39th).
The three-day meet continues on Friday.