SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Slidell native Justin Walker’s college career came to a close in the semifinals of the 200 meters Sunday at the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships when the Northwestern State senior didn’t advance to the final in his fifth race over four days.
Walker finished sixth in his heat, with the top four in each semi moving on to the championship race. His 20.64 time was second-best among the three collegiate semifinalists. Florida’s Dedric Dukes, the NCAA champ, won the first heat in 20.21, while LSU’s Aaron Ernest finished just behind Walker in 20.67, the 12th-best time in the 16-man semifinal field.
Walker, who went to Northshore High, ran 20.13 at the NCAA outdoor meet this month to finish third. His semifinal came about 36 hours after Friday’s 100-meter final, where he was fifth.
Walker, who is three hours away from earning his degree, plans to complete that process next month while he and family members consider his competitive future.
Oregon wide receiver Allen wins 110-meter hurdles
Ronnie Ash began his day by becoming the first in the world since 2012 to break the 13-second barrier in the 110 hurdles.
He ended it on a golf cart being driven slowly out of Hornet Stadium, bandages around his right ankle and left wrist, with two bags of ice secured tightly around his right knee and left shoulder.
It was the result of a nasty spill Sunday midway through the final after tumbling over one of the hurdles just when it appeared he was pulling away from the pack.
That quickly, Ash’s hopes of winning his first national title at the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships crashed as hard as he did.
Ash’s tumble opened the door for Devon Allen, who sprinted past his fallen colleague and went on to win in 13.16 seconds.
Allen, the college champion who doubles as a wide receiver at Oregon, edged Ryan Wilson by five-hundredths of a second for his first U.S. title.
“I knew I was going to run fast in this league,” Allen said. “Things started clicking in practice, feeling better and going through things and running faster.”
It was the final race of the meet and easily the closest. The difference between first and sixth place was 12 hundredths of a second.
Ash wasn’t a part of it. He spent nearly an hour getting treatment, which included multiple small cuts and abrasions around his face. He expects to be sidelined for at least a month.
At least he’ll have something to reflect on. Ash’s 12.99 run in the semifinals is the fastest time in the world this year and the fastest by anyone since Aries Merritt set the world record of 12.80 in 2012.
Curtis Mitchell won his first U.S. title in the 200. His time of 20.13 is the second-fastest by an American this year.
Jeneba Tarmoh was at a loss for words after running 22.06 to win the women’s 200.
A gold medalist in the 400 relay in 2012, Tarmoh got off to a sluggish start, then drifted wide on the final turn before holding off former LSU star Kimberlyn Duncan, who finished in 20.10.
Also, ex-LSU standout Cassandra Tate was third in the 400 hurdles in 54.70, and Charlene Lipsey (2:01.02) and LaTavia Thomas (2:02.46) finished sixth and eighth in the 800.
LSU rising senior Quincy Downing was seventh in the men’s 400 hurdles in 53.00.