Mon August 21, 2023

By Lance Hawley

Sports Razorbacks

Nickisha Pryce wins 400m prelim to start World Championship journey

Arkansas Track & Field Wps!! Nickisha Pryce
Nickisha Pryce wins 400m prelim to start World Championship journey
Shawn Price

BUDAPEST, Hungary – Razorback Nickisha Pryce won her opening round heat of the 400m in 50.38 seconds to advance to Monday’s semifinal on the second day of the World Athletics Championships held at the National Athletic Center.


Competition on Monday includes Razorback Jaydon Hibbert competing in the final of the triple jump while the qualifying round of the pole vault includes a pair of Arkansas alums in Sandi Morris and Tina Šutej. Arkansas volunteer assistant Shamier Little runs the opening round of the 400m hurdles as well.


The first World Championship silver medal for the United States in the women’s long jump was claimed by Tara Davis-Woodhall, who trains with Arkansas men’s associate head coach Travis Geopfert. In the history of the meet, there have been eight gold and three bronze medals for Americans.


An opening round leap of 22-8 (6.91) placed Davis-Woodhall in medal contention while Ivana Vuleta of Serbia countered with a 23-1.25 (7.05) in the second round and produced the winning mark of 23-5.25 (7.14) in the fifth stanza.


Alina Rotaru-Kottmann of Romania created her own drama in the final round, moving from seventh to third with a 22-7 (6.88), moving within an inch of Davis-Woodhall.


In the 1,500m, Nikki Hiltz faced a tough field that included heat winner Faith Kipyegon of Kenya (3:55.14), Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands (3:55.48) and the British pair Laura Muir (3:56.36) and Katie Snowden (3:56.72). Hiltz finished 11th in 4:00.84 and was 11th overall among the times generated by the two semifinal heats.


However, a new rule implemented this season had runners advancing on place, top six in each of the two heats, while no one advances on time in the middle distance and distance events.


While Pryce generated the fifth best time among the opening round of the 400m, from lane nine, teammate Britton Wilson placed eighth in the same heat with a 53.87. Collapsing at the finish line, Wilson was escorted off the track via a wheelchair.


Finishing behind Pryce in the fourth of six heats were Cuban Roxana Gomez (50.86) and Gabby Scott of Puerto Rico (51.07). The overall leading time of 49.90 was supplied by Marileidy Paulino of Dominican Republic.


Arkansas transfer Romaine Beckford cleared three heights in high jump qualifying, making 7-4.5 (2.22) on his first attempt to place 11th in his group and 22nd overall. A height of 7-5.75 (2.28) was needed to reach the final.


Three fouls in the heptathlon long jump knocked Taliyah Brooks out of medal contention and she did not contest either the javelin or 800m.


Katrina Johnson-Thomson of Great Britain won the heptathlon with 6,740 points to defeat American Anna Hall (6,720) by just 20 points.