EUGENE, Ore. – Shakima Wimbley came to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in search of a national title and the superstar sprinter will have the chance to compete for two on Saturday.
Wimbley, who is on the Bowerman Award Watch List and was named the USTFCCCA South Region Women’s Track Athlete of the Year, advanced to the finals in the women’s 400m and helped the Hurricanes’ 4x400m relay move on to the final in their event.
A native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Wimbley won Heat 2 of the women’s 400m semifinals with a time of 51.17 seconds, advancing to Saturday’s final. The senior, who entered the meet with an NCAA-leading time of 50.40 seconds, ran the second-fastest semifinal time on Thursday behind Texas’ Chrisann Gordon at 50.39 seconds. Wimbley, who won the NCAA indoor 400m title in March, will look to add an outdoor championship in the same event at 7:32 p.m., ET Saturday.
“Shakima ran a really smart 400 race,” Miami director of track and field/cross country Amy Deem said. “She set it up well. She knows where she’s got to fix it for the final, but she set it up well. The thing that I have liked the last two races is that she is really aware of what is going on around her and she is reacting to it. I think in that aspect, she has grown tremendously as a 400-meter runner. To be able to switch gears where she got out well and then she settled in and somebody made a move on her and she has been able to react to it. I am really pleased with that and I think she set herself up well for the final.”
The women’s 4x400m relay team of Anna Runia, Aiyanna Stiverne, Brittny Ellis & Wimbley finished second in Heat 2 with a time of 3:33.41, earning an automatic qualifying spot in the event final. After Runia’s opening leg, Stiverne and Ellis charged past competitors to get the baton to Wimbley, who motored around the track in 51.91 seconds to secure Miami’s position. The two-time defending ACC champion Canes will be in the field of eight teams racing in Saturday’s final, scheduled for 8:51 p.m., ET.
“We advanced, but it wasn’t our best race,” Deem said. “We made multiple technical mistakes that hopefully we will fix and run the way we are able to run on Saturday.”
Stiverne finished 14th overall in the women’s 400m, placing third in Heat 3 of the semifinals with a time of 53.25 seconds. The senior did not advance to Saturday’s final, closing out her individual Hurricane career with an ACC bronze medal in the 400m and the fifth-fastest outdoor 400m time in school history.
Ebony Morrison closed out her Hurricane career on Thursday, finishing 14th overall in the women’s 100m hurdles. The senior was fifth in Heat 2 with a time of 13.29 seconds, but did not advance to the finals. Morrison wraps up her Miami career with an ACC indoor championship in the 60m hurdles and the 4x100m relay, multiple All-America honors and the school record in the 100m hurdles at 12.76 seconds. She was also a key member of Miami’s back-to-back ACC indoor team championships in 2016-17.
“Ebony has been a great Hurricane,” Deem said. It was disappointing, because she has battled some injuries this year and I think that played on her a little bit in the last part of the season. She’s been an NCAA qualifier and been an All-American. She has really worked hard and been a great, positive person on our team.”
The women’s 4x100m relay team of Carolyn Brown, Wimbley, Stiverne and Kristina Knott ran a time of 43.88 seconds, finishing fourth in Heat 1, but the Hurricanes were disqualified following the conclusion of the semifinals.
“I didn’t think we executed our races very well in the relays today,” Deem said. “I know the 4×4 advanced, but it was disappointing to see us not run very smart. It wasn’t our best day in the relays and it was disappointing to see us end the season that way. Luckily, we have another shot to come back and run really well in the 4×4.”
The NCAA Outdoor Championships will be broadcast live across the ESPN family of networks. You can watch the Hurricanes Saturday beginning at 6:30 p.m., ET on ESPN. The entire meet will be available on ESPN3 and the Watch ESPN app.
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