Lawrence, Kansas – Tobi Amusan was her same young self on Saturday morning at the Rock Chalk Park for the NCAA West Preliminaries. The freshman sensation galloped to a first-place finish in her 100m hurdle heat with a time of 13.04 to earn herself an autobid to the NCAA Championships.
“I feel excited because my goal was to just win the race and make it to Eugene,” Amusan noted. “I executed from the blocks though my start wasn’t good enough, but it still went well and I won the heat.”
Amusan’s time was the fourth-fastest in the 48 athlete field. The Nigeria native has yet to lose a 100m hurdle race this year to a collegiate athlete. Her only setback was to Evonne Britton (post college/professional athlete) who narrowly edged her at the UTEP Springtime. Amusan will be the first UTEP woman since Janice Jackson (2014) to compete in the 100m hurdles at the NCAA Championships.
“It’s something good for a freshman to make it to Eugene,” Amusan said. “Hopefully when I get to Eugene I do well. I know what I’m capable of doing.”
The women’s 4x100m relay team of Tyler Ragin, Amusan, Alexis Roberts and Florence Uwakwe was dealt one of the toughest hands in all of sports. Running in the first heat, the foursome clocked a time of 45.04 to place fifth in their heat. Entering the third and final heat, the relay time stood as the 12th fastest yet to be recorded. Oklahoma’s time of 44.68 clocked in the final heat bumped the UTEP relay team out of a trip to the NCAA Championships.
Bria Love (13.88) and Sven Zellner (14.64) were unable to advance to Eugene in their respective hurdle events.
The four individuals advancing to Eugene are Uwakwe (400m dash), Jonah Koech (800m run), Amusan and heptathlete Lucia Mokrasova. The school record holder in the heptathlon did not compete this weekend because the top 24 heptathlon scores from the season automatically advance to the NCAA Championships.
Mokrasova’s 5,615 point total she racked up at the Texas Relays ranks 18th nationally.