EUGENE, Ore. – Livingstone College graduate Quanera Hayes placed first in her heat in the 400 meters on Thursday and second overall in the opening round of competition in the USA Track and Field Championships.
Hayes competes again tonight in the second round of competition, and is scheduled to run at 11:10 p.m. eastern standard time. NBCSN is televising tonight’s competition live.
Hayes, who won the national championship in the 400 meters and 200 meters Memorial Day weekend while competing in the NCAA Championships, is trying to earn a spot on the U.S. national team. If she’s successful, she’ll represent America at the 2015 IAAF World Championships, Aug. 22-30, in Beijing.
“This is a joyous time for the Livingstone College community and for Quanera’s family and friends,” said Head Track Coach Justin Davis. “The fact that Quanera has qualified for the second round proves that … she’s peaking at the right moment for the USA Championships. It’s very difficult for a Division II athlete to make the transition to becoming professional, and with Quanera’s faith in the Lord and her unbelievable talent, she has the capability to go far in USA track and field.”
Livingstone President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr. said he hopes people will tune in tonight to watch Hayes run.
“Quanera was an outstanding athlete during her four years at Livingstone College, and she has captured our hearts with her determination to win that is matched only by her humility and faith,” Jenkins said. “I am confident she will continue competing to the best of her ability and will make not only herself and her family but also her Livingstone College family proud.”
The Twitter world was blowing up on Friday from Hayes supporters and from officials with the United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
Around 10 a.m., officials posted a photo of Hayes as she crossed the finish line. The caption read:” Fastest college woman in the 400m 1st round? Not Okolo, not Funderburk. It’s #NCAADII champ Quanera Hayes in 51.31!
That caption referred to Courtney Okolo of Texas University, the NCAA DI record holder in the 400 meters, and Kala Funderburk of Florida State University, reigning NCAA DI 400 meters champion.
After she won on Thursday, Hayes said: “I was doing what I need to do to get to the next level in my career. One of the main things I was working on is my third 100. We’ve been working on that in practice every day. That’s what I was looking for.”