Akens, Garrett Jr. advance to national shot put semifinals on Thursday
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — UTSA saw All-American Richard Garrett Jr. and Andrew Akens advance to the national semifinals in the shot put and four other Roadrunners qualified for the quarterfinals on Thursday at the NCAA Championships Preliminary Rounds.
Garrett Jr., who entered the meet ranked seventh nationally, registered a measurement of 63-7 ¾ (19.40m) on his fifth attempt of the afternoon and that was good for fifth place in the field of 48. The Conference USA Champion moved on to the quarterfinals following his put of 60-4 ¾ (18.41m) on his third toss.
Akens joined his teammate as a national semifinalist following his eighth-place performance. The junior from Mesquite recorded a mark of 60-8 ¾ (18.51m) on his first attempt of the day and that stood among the top 12 for the remainder of the competition.
The national semifinals will take place at 7:30 p.m. (CT) on Wednesday, June 11, at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Meanwhile, the Roadrunners' trio of Keyunta Hayes (ninth), Jurmarcus Shelvin (14th) and Joshua Smith (21st) advanced to Friday's national quarterfinals in the 400-meter hurdles.
Hayes, the country's second-ranked performer, finished second in his opening-round heat in 51.01, while Shelvin was right behind him in third with his career-best time of 51.22 and both earned automatic berths to the next round. Smith grabbed one of the six spots based on time following his 51.50, which was good for fourth in his section.
Nate Brunette was the squad's other competitor during the opening day of the three-day meet and the senior advanced to Friday's quarters with his season-best clocking of 10.46. That was 17th in the field of 48 sprinters. Brunette also will run in the first round of the 200m on Friday night.
Other UTSA athletes scheduled to compete on Friday include All-American Keith Benford (high jump), Jonas Gutierrez (110m hurdles), James Johnson (200m) and Phil Steinert (hammer).