Norwood qualifies for national semifinals in 400-meter run

Staff Report
Eight LSU Track & Field team participants, including Morgan City High School alum Vernon Norwood, qualified for the NCAA Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., following their performances at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds at the University of North Florida Friday.
Norwood qualified in the 400-meter run after finishing with the second-fastest time of the day in the quarterfinal round at 45.17. The time, which matched his lifetime personal record in the event, was bested only by the 45.09 recorded by Pittburgh's Brycen Spratling in the same heat as Norwood. The duo was racing in the first of three heats in the event.
The Top 12 finishers in each event at the preliminary round advance to the semifinals at the 2014 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which will be held June 11-14 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
Norwood, a junior, also ran 45.17 in a silver-medal-winning performance at the SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships just two weeks ago. He is the NCAA’s No. 4-ranked performer in the event this season.
“I didn’t execute as well as I should have today, but it was enough to get me to the next round,” Norwood said in a news release. “That was the plan coming here, to get to Eugene. I did that, so I’ll take it. Coming close to the end, I think I slowed down a little bit because I knew I had (Florida's Arman) Hall beat, but I didn’t see (Brycen Spratling) coming up behind me on the inside. He got me a little bit there.
“I just want to get back to training and work on fixing my mistakes over the next couple of weeks so those things don’t happen again when I get to Eugene. I’m looking forward to competing again.”
Norwood entered the NCAA East Preliminary Thursday with the top time in the field of 48 at 45.17 and finished first in the fourth of six qualifying heats with a time of 45.88 to advance to the quarterfinals.The time was the fifth-fastest of the day.
Norwood's action at the NCAA East Preliminary is not complete as he and his teammates will be in action Saturday night in the 4x400-meter relay. The Tigers' relay team of Norwood, junior Quincy Downing, sophomore Darrell Bush and sophomore Cyril Grayson is ranked No. 2 out of 24 teams entering the preliminaries with a time of 3:02.81.
Florida has the top time in 4x400 at 2:59.73.

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