Former Lady Tiger national champion Cassandra Tate will have her sights set on the medal podium when she lines up in Wednesday’s final of the women’s 400-meter hurdles at this year’s IAAF World Championships in Athletics after winning her semifinal heat at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing on Monday with the second-fastest time of the day.
Tate, who easily advanced from the first round of qualifying on Sunday with the fastest time in the field at 54.27 seconds, emerged from Monday’s semifinals as a true medal threat in her first World Championships by taking the tape in 54.33 with the second-fastest time among the eight qualifiers.
Just as she did in her qualifying heat the day before, Tate beat South Africa’s Wenda Nel (54.63) to the finish line in the first of three semifinal heats in Monday’s evening session at the National Stadium.
Also advancing to the final of the women’s 400-meter hurdles were Czech Republic’s Zuzana Hejnova (54.24), Denmark’s Sara Slott Petersen (54.34), Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer (54.45), Jamaica’s Janieve Russell (54.78), Great Britain’s Eilidh Child (54.80) and USA’s Shamier Little (54.86). The World Championship final in the event will be run on Wednesday at 7:10 a.m. CT as part of the evening session in Beijing.
Tate has enjoyed a steady rise among the world’s elite 400-meter hurdlers since being crowned the NCAA Champion in the women’s in her senior season with the Lady Tigers in 2012. She arrived in Beijing in this year’s IAAF World Championships as the No. 4-ranked performer worldwide for the 2015 season with her personal best of 54.01 set at the USA Track & Field Championships in June.
A native of Hammond, Louisiana, and product of Loranger High School, Tate is seeking her second career World Championships medal as she is a former indoor champion in the 4×400-meter relay for Team USA.
Monday’s action at the Bird’s Nest also saw LSU’s first athlete advance to the final round at this year’s World Championships as 2011 bronze medalist Kelly-Ann Baptiste placed sixth in the women’s 100-meter final with a time of 11.01 (-0.3). Baptiste, who runs for Trinidad & Tobago, also emerged as the sixth-fastest qualifier from the semifinal round after clocking a wind-legal 10.90 (+0.9) earlier in the afternoon.
LSU’s 2015 NCAA Indoor and NCAA Outdoor Champion Vernon Norwood saw his run to the World final in the men’s 400-meter dash come to an end in Monday’s semifinal round after he clocked 45.07 for 18th place for his debut at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics. Norwood, who placed sixth in his semifinal heat, is sure to join the gold-medal chase as a member of Team USA’s 4×400-meter relay team in Sunday’s finale.