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Courtesy: UTSA Athletics

Garrett Jr. advances to national semifinals with school record in shot put on Thursday

Courtesy: UTSA Athletics Communications
Release: 05/27/2011
Courtesy UTSA Athletics Communications
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EUGENE, Ore. — Sophomore Richard Garrett registered consecutive school records in the shot put en route to a sixth-place finish (60-0 ½/18.30m) on Thursday at the NCAA Championships Preliminary Rounds, which are being held at historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon. By finishing in the top 12, the Garland native advanced to the national semifinals, which will be contested from June 8-11 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Despite battling unseasonably cool temperatures in the 50s and steady rain, Garrett Jr. put the implement 58-10 ¾ (17.95m) on his third and final first-round attempt and that was good for sixth in the opening round, which allowed him to move on to the quarterfinals. That was an improvement of four-and-three-quarter inches from the program standard he established in his second-place performance at the Southland Conference Outdoor Championships 12 days ago. He promptly bettered that mark on his first throw of the quarters with a toss of 60-0 ½ (18.30m) to become the first thrower in program history to advance this far at the national meet. The 6-foot-, 260-pounder entered the meet with the 16th-best mark (58-6/17.83m) in the West Region.

"I've never thrown in rain before, so I knew I needed to be mentally strong," Garrett Jr. said. "I kept telling myself to, 'stay calm and that I'm not the only one throwing in these conditions,' and that was key. I felt good and was able to make a couple of big throws that allowed me to advance and that's the name of the game this time of year. I want to thank (UTSA Head) Coach (Aaron) Fox and (Throws) Coach (Chris) Adams for sticking with me after I started out slow this season."

"Richard has struggled a bit in the shot after being an All-American during the indoor season and it's taken him a little while to get back into a rhythm, but he is peaking at the right time of year," head coach Aaron Fox said. "His hard work in practice and sticking with Coach Adams' plan has really paid off the last two meets and he is in a good position to continue his success in Des Moines."

On the track, sophomores Nate Brunette and Darryl Wyrick both advanced to Friday's national quarterfinals.

Brunette earned the 24th and final spot in Friday's 100 meters quarters after clocking a 10.61 in the opening first-round heat. The Humble native will look to move on to the national semifinals at 6:35 p.m. (CT) on Friday. The top three finishers in each of the three quarterfinal heats along with the next three best times will compete in Des Moines. He also is scheduled to run in the opening round of the deuce an hour-and-a-half after competing the 100m.

Meanwhile, Wyrick bounced back from a disappointing performance at the conference meet with a personal record in the 400m hurdles. The Texarkana native, who recorded the top time (51.82) in the Southland this season but failed to qualify for the league final, improved that mark to 51.66 in the fifth opening-round heat. That was good for 18th in the field of 48 hurdlers and he will attempt to move on to the national semis at 7:35 p.m. (CT) on Friday. The 6-foot, 165-pounder wlll run out of lane eight in the third and final quarterfinal of the night. Just like the 100m, the top three finishers in each heat along with the next three best times will move to the semifinals.

"It's a challenge to make the transition from training in 90-degree weather to cool and rainy conditions like we had here today, but Richard, Nate and Darryl were able to put that behind them and move on to the next round," Fox said.

UTSA had three other athletes who competed on Thursday but the trio failed to advance.

Freshman Keyunta Hayes followed his Southland Championship performance in the 400m hurdles with a 52.75 and that was good for 29th place, five spots shy of a spot in the quarterfinals. Junior Kemar Marsden recorded a 10.70 in the sixth and final 100m heat, which was 35th in the 48-man field, wile sophomore Tyler Williamson leaped to 22-2 ¼ (6.76m) measurement in the long jump to finish 41st.

The three-day meet continues on Friday and the Roadrunners have a total of seven entries. Sophomores Keith Benford (high jump), Brunette (100m/200m), Phil Steinert (hammer) and Wyrick (400m hurdles), Hayes (110m hurdles) and fellow freshman Kerry Thompson (high jump) all will be in action.

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