EUGENE, Ore. — When Northwestern State sprinter Justin Walker steps on the track Saturday at the NCAA championships, he’ll carry a chip on his shoulder.
After finishing fourth in the 100-meter final Friday, which earned him his first individual All-America certificate, Walker will have something to prove in the 200 final.
Walker, a Slidell native who went to Northshore High School, hopes to atone for a poor start in the 100, which resulted in a time of 10.12 seconds. Baylor’s Trayvon Bromell, running next to Walker, won the title with a world junior record of 9.97 seconds.
“Getting (fourth) is something, but I really didn’t react to the gun the way I should have,” said Walker, who set the school record after sharing it previously at 10.13. “Reaction-wise, I’d put it in the five worst of my career. But I was proud of myself; I came out of my transition phase and didn’t quit. I was still able to power out and do some good stuff.
“This will definitely be motivation for the 200. That left a real bad taste in my mouth.”
Brown goes for title
Texas A&M junior sprinter Kamaria Brown, a Baton Rouge native, will be seeking her first NCAA individual title in the 200 meters final Saturday.
Brown, the runner-up in that event last season to LSU’s Kimberlyn Duncan, had the second-fastest time in Thursday’s semifinals at 22.99 seconds.
At the NCAA West preliminary rounds two weeks ago, Brown, who’s also expected to run on the Aggies’ 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays in the finals Saturday, advanced to the NCAA championships with a time of 22.66.
The first running event Saturday will have a familiar look with the Southeastern Conference having four of the eight finalists in both the men’s and women’s 4x100 relays.
LSU, Texas A&M, Florida and Alabama all got both sprint relays through the semis.
A&M (38.60 seconds), Florida (38.77) and LSU (38.85) put up the three-fastest times in the men’s semifinals. In the women’s semis, Florida was second (43.26), A&M was third (43.44) and LSU seventh (43.95).
LSU track sports information director Will Stafford received the Excellence in Communications Award for Division I schools at the Track and Field Writers of America’s annual brunch Friday.
Presented by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, the award recognizes athletics communications representatives at schools or conferences who’ve shown a commitment to coverage and support of the sport on an array of media platforms.
On the tube
The four-day competition concludes Saturday with ESPNU providing live coverage from 4 to 6 p.m. CDT.
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter @MicklesAdvocate.