Hayes advances to national semifinals in 400-meter hurdles on Friday night
AUSTIN — Sophomore Keyunta Hayes advanced in both hurdles events on Friday evening to highlight UTSA's second day of action at the NCAA Championships Preliminary Rounds at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
The two-time Southland Conference Champion won his 400-meter hurdles heat to automatically qualify for the national semifinals, which are scheduled for 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday, June 6, in Des Moines, Iowa. His time of 50.37 was the fourth-fastest clocking of the evening and it matched his personal best set two weeks ago when he led a Roadrunners 1-2-3 finish in winning the Southland title. He joined juniors Richard Garrett Jr. (shot put) and Tyler Williamson (long jump), who both advanced to the semis on Thursday with school-record performances.
"I fed off Reggie (Wyatt of USC) and Steven (White of North Texas) because they were the two fastest guys in my heat," Hayes said. "I just made sure I stayed close because I knew it was going to be a fight to the finish. The wind threw them off their steps, but I was able to recover well from the push back. I never thought I'd be fortunate enough to experience this much success this early in my career, especially with all the events I do. I'm just thankful that my body has held up and I wouldn't be where I am today without Coach (Aaron) Fox and Coach (Adam) Hudson."
Two-and-a-half hours earlier, the Tyler native advanced to the 110m hurdles quarterfinals after finishing second in the fourth first-round heat. The Southland Champion clocked a wind-aided 13.93 and that was tied for the 11th-fastest time of the evening. The quarters will be contested at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.
"I really didn't have a good warmup and I couldn't get my steps down, but I knew I couldn't take a bad warmup into the race, so I made sure I stayed focused and moved to the next round," he said, "I still have room for improvement, but if I hurdle how I'm capable of, I should have a chance to advance to nationals tomorrow."
Also in action during the second day of competition were juniors Phil Steinert and Darryl Wyrick, but they were unable to advance.
Steinert placed 28th in the hammer with a toss of 190-9 (58.15m), while Wyrick was 20th in the 400m hurdles in a time of 52.32.
The three-day meet concludes on Saturday.