Armstrong advances to hurdle finals

Armstrong advances to hurdle finals

   DURHAM, N.C.  Illinois junior Sherman Armstrong advanced to the finals of the 400-meter hurdles after winning his preliminary heat Wednesday at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

   His time of 49.73 seconds was the third fastest overall. He will compete Friday for a chance at the national championship in Wallace Wade Stadium on the Duke campus.

   "I wasn''t worried about the time; my focus was just to win my heat and get to the final," Armstrong said. "Now I have to get ready to run the 110s (today).

   "But it feels good to advance, and I''m really looking forward to the finals on Friday. It''s going to be a dogfight."

   An Illini women''s 400 relay squad will join Armstrong in Friday''s finals. Posting their best time of the season, sophomore Chequetta Bearfield, freshman Perdita Felicien, senior Lyria Martin and graduate student Kerry-Ann Richards placed second in their heat and fourth overall at 44.12 seconds.

   "This group has improved each time they''ve raced, and now we''ll see if they can take it to another level in the final," coach Gary Winckler said.

   Illini sophomore Jason Van Swol, competing in the 800, was 18th overall (1:49.97) and did not advance. Bearfield, running the 200, was 19th overall and will not continue.