June 7, 2012
DES MOINES, Iowa--Senior sprinter Shericka Ward (Leesburg, Fla.) registered her fastest career time in the 100 meter hurdles in her final collegiate race, crossing the finish line in 13.09 and finishing fourth in her national semifinal heat at Drake Stadium in the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Thursday evening.
Following the national quarterfinal heats at the NCAA East Regional two weeks ago Ward was ranked 17th out of 24 qualifiers for the semifinals. She beat that ranking by seven spots as her time of 13.09 was 10th overall from the three semifinal heats.
The top two finishers in each heat plus the next two fastest times advanced to the finals on Saturday afternoon and Ward missed that cutoff by a mere four-hundredths of a second. She was making her third consecutive appearance at the finals site in the NCAA Championships and ran a terrific semifinal race.
Ward's finish is especially impressive considering that she returned from an injury sustained in late April at the Penn Relays in time to compete at the NCAA East Regional, where she ran in the first round and automatically qualified for the quarterfinals. She then placed fifth in her quarterfinal heat and advanced on time to tonight's semifinals.
Brianna Rollins of Clemson won the third semifinal heat with a time of 12.73, while Katie Nelms of Stanford (13.00) and Donique Flemings of Texas A&M (13.05) also finished in front of Ward by narrow margins.
During her Villanova career Ward was the leader of the Wildcats group of sprinters and she developed into one of the top hurdlers in the country. Early next week All-America honors will be announced and Ward is certain to finish her collegiate career as a three-time All-American, BIG EAST champion and seven-time All-BIG EAST performer.
Coming up on Saturday afternoon senior Sheila Reid (Newmarket, Ont.) and junior Bogdana Mimic (Pancevo, Serbia) will run in the national championship race of the 5000 meters. The race goes off at 12:19 p.m. Central time from Drake Stadium.
100 METER HURDLES NATIONAL SEMIFINALS
Semifinal Heat 3
Brianna Rollins, Clemson - 12.73
Katie Nelms, Stanford - 13.00
Donique' Flemings, Texas A&M - 13.05
Shericka Ward, Villanova - 13.09
Katie Grimes, Texas Tech - 13.20
Sharika Nelvis, Arkansas State - 13.23
Cassandra Lloyd, Wright State - 13.36
Lauren Blackburn, USC - 13.52