Former Texas Tech star Gil Roberts and South Plains College graduate Vernon Norwood blazed their way into the finals of the men’s 400 meters Friday at the U.S. outdoor track and field championships in Sacramento, California.
Roberts clocked 44.99 seconds, the fastest time in two semifinal races. Norwood, in the second of two heats along with Roberts, ran a 45.21 for second in the race and third overall.
They’ll compete for a national title at 4:42 p.m. CDT today.
Earlier Friday, former Tech all-American Jason Young finished sixth in the finals of the discus and current Tech athlete Le’Tristan Pledger advanced to the semifinals round of the women’s 100-meter hurdles.
Young, a 2012 London Olympian, threw 198 feet, 7 inches. Tech’s Kole Weldon, who just finished his junior season with the Red Raiders, threw 187-3 and was 13th.
Young, 33, was the NCAA runner-up for the Red Raiders in 2004, the U.S. outdoor runner-up in 2010 and 2011 and got third at the 2012 U.S. Olympic trials.
Friday was day three of the U.S. championships, which continue through Sunday at Sacramento State.
In the first round of the women’s 100 hurdles, Pledger ran a time of 13.16 seconds, finishing fifth in a heat won by Olympic gold and silver medalist Dawn Harper.
Pledger was a sophomore this year at Tech. Her time was 15th, but sufficient to crack the field of 16 semifinal runners, nine of whom are professionals. The semifinals are at 1 p.m. CDT today.
On Thursday, Tech’s Hannah Carson got seventh in the women’s javelin with a career best of 185-1. The Chandler, Arizona, product was eighth at the NCAA championships earlier this month, good for first-team all-America recognition. She was a sophomore this season.
Former Monterey and Tech standout Omo Osaghae competes in the 110-meter hurdles, which has the first round at 1:50 p.m. CDT today and the semifinals and finals on Sunday. Osaghae won the world championship in the 60-meter hurdles earlier this year in Poland.
Other current and former Tech athletes scheduled to compete today are 2014 U.S. indoor champion Tori Polk in the women’s long jump and 2014 NCAA indoor all-Americans JaCorian Duffield and Bradley Adkins in the high jump.
Follow Don on Twitter