4x100 Relay Team Falls Four-Hundredths Short of Finals
May 30, 2003
COLUMBUS, OHIO - - With one of the four original sprinters who set the NCAA Regional qualifying time having to be back in Hungary due to a family illness, The University of Memphis men's track and field 4x100 meter relay team still came dangerously close to advancing to the finals of the event, Friday. Memphis missed the eighth, and final, spot in the finals by four-hundredths of a second.
The relay team of Michael Woods (Memphis, Tenn./Central), Austin Hunter (filling in for absent Gary Nemeth), Franck Diadhiou (Ziquinchor, Senegal) and Ivan Williams (Riverdale, Ga./Mount Zion) finished third in the most competitive heat of the four, with nine hundredths of a second separating the team from Tennessee, who won the heat, from Memphis, who finished third. Mississippi finished second in 40.53, while Tennessee qualified with the fourth fastest overall time of 40.45. Memphis ran a 40.54.
The Tigers will finish 11th overall, with the top eight spots being determined Saturday when the finals are run. LSU posted the fastest qualifying time of 39.36, while Middle Tennessee was second with a 39.60. Alabama State was third quick with a 40.40, while Tennessee was fourth with a 40.45. Purdue will be in lane five after posting a 39.67. Toledo is sixth with a 40.04, Ohio State seventh with a 40.37 and Wisconsin grabbed the last finals spot with a time of 40.50.
The trio of Mid-South schools missed the finals by minute time spots. Mississippi State fell two-hundredths shy in 40.52, Ole Miss three-hundredths with a 40.53 and Memphis three hundredths with a 40.54.
Diadhiou and Williams will both compete again this evening. Diadhiou will run the preliminary round of the 100 meter dash finals, while Williams will be in the 200 prelims. Woods and Hunter (Jackson, Tenn./Central) are done with the regional schedules.
The Mid-East Regional is one of four regionals being conducted around the country. The top five finishers in individual events (excluding the 10,000 meter run, the decathlon and the heptathlon) will qualify for the NCAA Championships. The top three relay teams from each region qualify for the Nationals. This is the first year the NCAA has used the regional format to qualify athletes for the national meet. Previously, automatic and provisional national-qualifying marks were established and there was no regional level of competition.