National leaders Terrance Laird and Tamara Clark began their quest to win respective 2021 SEC Championships sprint doubles this weekend after qualifying for the finals of the men’s and women’s 200m championship races on Thursday’s first day.
Laird Leads The Way SEC Championships – Watch Video
Laird leads the world rankings with a sizzling 19.81 seconds, achieved on March 25 at the Texas Relays and the LSU sprinter looked comfortable when running 20.13 seconds to win his semi-final heat and setting a new E.B. Cushing Stadium facility record.
Running from lane five in heat four, Laird finished easily ahead of Florida’s Dedrick Vanover who ran a PB of 20.65 for second place as the SEC Indoor champion qualified with the quickest time from the four heats.
NCAA Indoor national champion Matthew Boling of Georgia also won his heat on the day, taking section four with a new outdoor personal best time of 20.27 to finish ahead of Jalen Brown of Arkansas who ran a PB of 20.80 to also advanced to the final.
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Devon Achane, the freshman from Texas A&M also moved on to the championship race with a third-place finish in heat four in 20.92.
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Meanwhile, Joseph Fahnbulleh of Florida and Lance Lang of Kentucky also secured passages into Saturday’s finals after winning their respective semi-final heat.
Lang posted a time of 20.36 to set a new personal best when winning the second heat.
Fahnbulleh rounded out the heat winners after he clocked 20.46s to take the third heat ahead of Lance Broome of Texas A&M who crossed in a new PB of 20.68s.
In the meantime, Alabama’s Clark paced the qualifiers on the women’s side after she ran 22.55 secs to break the facility record. Clark leads the NCAA top list with a time of 22.50s and she will be hoping to improve that mark when she lines up in the 200m final on Saturday.
LSU freshman Favour Ofili won heat three with a PB of 22.64s, finishing ahead of Arkansas Tiana Wilson (22.93 PB) and Jada Baylark (23.22) who also advanced to Saturday’s final.
Symone Mason of LSU captured the second heat in a personal best of 22.99s with her teammate Thelma Davies who was second to her in the heat, also advancing with a time of 23.23.
Joella Lloyd of Tennessee was among the notable sprinters failing to advance to the final of the women’s 200m.