LSU men make steady advance at NCAA track and field meet _lowres

Photo provided by Bryan Wayne/LSU Athletic Communications -- LSU sprinters Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (foreground) and Tinashe Mutanga (background) compete in the men’s 4x100-meter relay.

EUGENE, Ore. — Thecontinuation of the NCAA men’s track and field championships with the national semifinals Wednesday was anything but a walk in the park for LSU sprinter Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake.

Mitchell-Blake was the only one of LSU’s nine athletes who stepped onto the track at Hayward Field for the semifinals to run three races — doing it in about 2 hours, 15 minutes.

While running the 100 and 200 meters and 4x100-meter relay may not seem like a tall task because it adds up to just 400 meters, Mitchell-Blake had three warm-up periods during that time with each race coming about an hour apart.

Mitchell-Blake anchored the 4x100 relay to a heat win in 38.73 seconds, then came back to advance in the short sprints.

He clocked a wind-legal 10.09 in the 100 — matching the personal best he recorded on April 16 — and ran 20.17 in the 200 to qualify for both finals along with the relay final.

King takes third

Southeastern Louisiana sophomore Devin King matched his third-place finish in the pole vault at the NCAA indoor championships Wednesday night when he jumped 17-10½.

King, who led the nation this spring with a clearance of 18-8¼ that won the title at the Texas Relays in late March, passed the opening height Wednesday then got over the bar at 17-4½ and 17-10½ — the latter on his second attempt.

But he then missed three times at 18-2½ to bow out of the competition.

Stanford’s Dylan Duvio, a John Curtis Christian School graduate, cleared the opening height of 16-10¾, but then missed at 17-4½ and tied for 12th.

Tough day for Demons

The semifinals round of the NCAA championships wasn’t kind to the Northwestern State sprinters on Wednesday.

In the first running event — the 4x100-meter relay — the Demons’ team of Amir James, Micah Larkins, George Flaviano and Ty Shilling finished fifth in a heat that also included national leader LSU.

Northwestern State had a time of 39.69 seconds and was 17th among the 24 teams that qualified for the semifinals.

Later, Larkins and James failed to reach the final in the 100 meters with Larkins clocking a 10.42 and James running a 10.52.

However, Northwestern State’s Emmanuel Williams made the long jump final and finished seventh with a best of 24-11 to score two points for the Demons.

Fast times

The 100 meters final Friday figures to be a good one after the top five times posted Wednesday were separated by just 13/100ths of a second.

Texas’ Senoj-Jay Givans had the top time of 9.96 seconds, while Mitchell-Blake was fifth at 10.09 even though he won his heat.

In between were Tennessee’s Christian Coleman (10.03), Missouri’s Markesh Woodson (10.05) and Arkansas’ Kenzo Cotton (10.07).

All five times were wind-legal, aided by a breeze of less than 2.0 meters per second.

Fast times II

Texas A&M freshman Donavan Brazier won his semifinals heat of the 800 meters in a swift 1 minutes, 45.07 seconds Wednesday night.

The time put the native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, second on the American junior list for athletes under the age of 20 and in some strong company. Only the great Jim Ryun has run faster as a junior, clocking a hand-timed 1:44.3 almost a half-century ago on June 10, 1966.