Former Vol headed to Olympics; fireworks in the 200-meter semis

July 5, 2008

( -- Former Vol Anthony Famiglietti won the steeplechase Saturday at the US Olympic Trials at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field in Eugene.

Famiglietti, a three-time All-America while at Tennessee, qualified for his second consecutive Summer Olympics with his time of 8:20.24. The 2004 Olympian claimed the second US title of his career by taking control of the race during the first lap and leading the 13-person field for the entire seven and a half lap race.

“Anthony felt the best way to win the race was to set a hard, tough pace from the gun,” distance coach George Watts said. “We had actually talked about that for a couple of weeks and he accomplished what he set out to do. I’m very proud of Anthony for bouncing back from a tough year in 2007, and I believe he is going to run much faster in Beijing.”

Current Vol Rubin Williams advanced to Sunday’s final round of the 200. Williams, Tennessee’s most decorated All-America with 17 career honors, finished third in his semifinal heat to automatically advance with his 20.56 clocking. The San Jose, Calif., native finished second in his quarterfinal heat earlier in the day with a 20.58 time. Sophomore Evander Wells, a six-time All-America, just missed qualifying for the final as he finished fifth in his semifinal heat in 20.80 out of lane one. The Stone Mountain, Ga., native earned his spot in the semifinal with a 20.73 time in the quarterfinal round.

In the 200-meter quarterfinals earlier in the day, powerhouse Tyson Gay fell to the track with intense cramping, ending his hopes of sweeping the 100- and 200-meter gold medals in Beijing.

Aries Merritt, a two-time NCAA champion and seven-time All-America while running for the Vols, advanced to Sunday’s semifinal round in the 110 hurdles with his wind-aided time of 13.38 in the quarterfinal round. Earlier in the day Saturday, Merritt recorded the fourth-fastest time in the qualifying round after running the straightaway of hurdles in 13.49. In action late Friday night, former Vol Garland Porter threw the hammer 224-10 and finished ninth.

Sunday’s events feature the final two rounds in the 110 hurdles, as well as the finals in the 200 and javelin. The top-three finishers in each event that have reached the Olympic ‘A’ standard qualify to represent Team USA in this year’s Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. Live results can be found at, and NBC has two hours of live coverage from the final day of the Olympic Trials beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern time.

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