JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — University of New Orleans hurdler Alexia Fortenberry added her name to the qualifying list for nationals when the NCAA East preliminary rounds came to a close Saturday.
Fortenberry, a junior, earned a trip to the NCAA championships to be held June 8-11 in Eugene, Oregon, when she was fourth in her quarterfinals heat of the 100-meter hurdles at the University of North Florida.
Fortenberry, a West Jefferson High School graduate, earned the final 100-meter hurdles spot from the East prelims when she clocked a time of 13.18 seconds and advanced to the semifinals on time.
After missing out on nationals a year ago, Fortenberry, who competed for Team USA in the World University Games last summer, had to wait a few anxious moments to learn she would be going to Eugene.
She claimed the third and last spot that went to athletes who didn’t earn automatic spots with top-three finishes in the three quarterfinal heats by an eyelash over Florida State’s Mulern Jean.
While they both clocked 13.18 seconds, Fortenberry had a 13.171 to Jean’s 13.180 when the FinishLynx electronic timing system read out to thousands of a second.
The only other state school other than LSU to earn a spot in nationals Saturday was the Northwestern State men’s 4x100 relay team in the first running event of the night.
The foursome of Amir James, Micah Larkins, George Flaviano and Ty Shilling finished fifth in a heat won by national leader LSU in 39.04 seconds.
The Demons were fifth in the heat in 39.85 seconds, good for the third and final wildcard spot among the non-automatic qualifiers.
James and Larkin both earned individual spots at nationals on Friday in the open 100 meters.