Rucker, Echols Advance At IAAF World Junior Championships
July 11, 2012
BARCELONA - South Carolina's rising sophomore Erika Rucker and incoming freshman Dondre Echols both advanced for Team USA at the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships held at the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona, Spain.
Rucker, the 2012 SEC Indoor Freshman Runner of the Year, won her heat of the women's 400-meter dash preliminary round at 53.52 to advance to Thursday semifinal. Rucker will hit the track Thursday with the hopes of qualifying for Friday's final.
"I felt like this was good race for me," Rucker said. "I did what my coach told me to do and was happy with the way it turned out. Around the 200, once I caught up to the runner on my outside, I start to relax a little bit. This was a good start, but the semifinals will be difficult - two-plus-two - so, I know I have to bring my best to the next race."
Echols (Oxen Hill, Md.) has qualified for Thursday's 110-meter hurdles final after successfully advancing through the qualifying and semifinal rounds. In the preliminary heats, Echols won his heat at 13.77 as the seventh-best overall qualifier. He then finished second in his semifinal to advance automatically to tomorrow's final. Echols recovered from a rough start of clipping several hurdles, but came on strong at the end, advancing from fourth with 15 meters back.
"It was a good race, but I got to work on my footing," Echols said. "I can stick with them - I just have to get my steps together. (To comeback), I just finished strong as I always do. I had to stick right beside them. (For the finals tomorrow I need to) rest and get ready - I want to medal."