Smith advances to 400-meter hurdles national semifinals late Friday night
AUSTIN — Joshua Smith recorded the third-fastest 400-meter hurdles performance in UTSA men's track & field history late Friday night at the NCAA Championships Preliminary Rounds and the junior earned a spot in the national semifinals, which will take place in two weeks at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Competing in the quarterfinals three hours later than scheduled due to inclement weather, Smith came out and circled the Mike A. Myers Stadium oval in a career-best 50.74 en route to a third-place finish in the second of three heats.
However, it did not come without drama.
In fourth place entering the homestretch, the Flower Mound native began to make up ground and he leaned past Boise State's Jordin Andrade at the finish line to secure an automatic berth by a mere hundredth of a second.
It marked his second personal record in his last three outings, as he clocked a 51.09 in a runner-up performance two weeks ago at the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Championships. In fact, Smith has not finished worse than third in his last eight races dating back to late March.
The national semis are scheduled for 8:15 p.m. (CT) on Wednesday, June 5.
"I feel blessed right now because this has been a goal of mine all season," Smith said. "God gave me the strength to qualify because I trusted Him, my coaches and my training. (Assistant) Coach (Adam) Hudson told me to run fast and focus on clean hurdles and not to worry about anyone other than myself. I moved on to the next round because I was able to put that all together tonight."
Meanwhile, Jurmarcus Shelvin registered a 51.65 in a sixth-place finish in the opening section, but he was unable to advance after finishing 17th in the field of 24.
Christopher Hall competed in two events for the Roadrunners during the second day of the meet.
He opened his night with a 22nd-place showing (47.36) in the 400m quarterfinals before registering a 21.73 in the first flight of the 200m preliminary heats. That mark was good for 40th in the 48-man field.
Jonas Gutierrez was UTSA's other competitor of the day. The WAC Freshman of the Year raced to a 14.71 in the 110m hurdles prelims and that was the 39th-fastest time of the night.
The three-day meet concludes on Saturday.