June 7, 2007
Sacramento, CA – The men’s track & field team completed day one at the NCAA Outdoor Championships late Wednesday evening on the West Coast. The meet is being held at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex at Sacramento State University. Five individuals and a relay team competed for Clemson on the first day, with two student-athletes plus the relay squad advancing to the finals of their respective events.
Travis Padgett had a long, active day. The Shelby, NC native qualified for Friday’s 100m final after a 10.27 in the semifinals. He won his prelim with a time of 10.22 early Wednesday afternoon. He finished one-hundredth of a second ahead of J-Mee Samuels of Arkansas for the final Friday at 6:15 PM (PT). Padgett was fourth as a freshman at the 2006 meet in the 100m dash.
Jacoby Ford, an indoor All-American and ACC champion in the 60m dash, struggled Wednesday with his slowest time in a Tiger uniform. He clocked a 10.73 and was last in the field. He was hampered by a hamstring strain at the East Region Championships two weeks ago.
The 4x100m relay team qualified for Friday’s final in the eighth and final spot on Wednesday. Padgett, C.J. Spiller compiled a time of 40.04, fifth-fastest in a competitive opening preliminary. It will mark the first time Clemson has competed in the 400m relay final since the 2002 team of Airese Currie, Jacey Harper, Otto Spain, and Dwight Thomas finished runner-up in Baton Rouge, LA. Wednesday was the first time this season that Clemson used this particular combination of sprinters for the relay team.
Matt Clark, competing in his first-ever NCAA national meet in track, advanced to the 5000m final with a time of 14:31.36 on Wednesday. He was less than one second behind the first-place finisher in his tightly-bunched section. The final is scheduled for 7:45 PM Friday.
In the pole vault, Mitch Greeley advanced to the final after clearing 16’10.75″ in the prelims. He had some nervous moments, however, as he had to clear the bar on his last attempt to make it to Friday’s 6:15 PM final. Greeley was a 2006 indoor All-American in the vault and is the school record-holder as well.
George Fields finished 15th in the field of 26 competitors in the long jump prelims Wednesday. Fields, who finished fourth two weeks ago at the East Region Championships, hit a mark of 24’5.75″ in a solid first jump. However, he fouled on the final two attempts and did not qualify for Thursday’s final. The sophomore from Columbia, SC was competing in his first-ever NCAA national meet.
Adam Linkenauger’s decorated career at Clemson came to a close in Wednesday’s high jump prelims. The senior from Fincastle, VA cleared 6’8.75″ on his second attempt, but did not advance to the final after missing on three tries at 6’10.75″. Linkenauger won seven ACC titles, including four consecutive outdoors, in his career as a Tiger.
Thursday will be a light day of action for the Tigers. Padgett is scheduled for the 200m prelims at 3:30 PM. Should he advance to the semifinals, they will be held shortly thereafter at 5:20 in the afternoon.
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