Bethune-Cookman track and field alum Ronnie Ash and Eric Cray each advanced to the semifinals of their respective events at the 2016 Summer Olympics Monday in Rio de Janeiro.
Ash, an NCAA national champion hurdler his days at B-CU, won his heat in the 110 meter hurdles while Cray, a 2009 B-CU graduate running for the Philippines , finished third in his 400 meter hurdles heat with a time of 49.05 seconds, slightly off his personal best of 48.98. [easyazon_infoblock align=”right” identifier=”B011E4ODCG” locale=”US” tag=”hbcusports-20″]
Ash clocked a time of 13.31 to finish ahead of France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (13.36) and Great Britain’s Lawrence Clark (13.55). His victory came while overcoming both rainy conditions and hitting some hurdles.
“I felt myself accelerating a little bit and I tried to see where my placement was. It kind of got away from me and I looked out my peripheral vision and I crashed the hurdle,” Ash said. “It happens, I shouldn’t have done it, my coach told me not to. (My coach said) to run straight through, look dead down the center of your lane, but you want to conserve some when you’re in a race to set yourself up for tomorrow.”
Ash’s time was the second-best overall Monday night behind Omar McLeod of Jamaica (13.27).
The top three finishers of Monday’s six heats advanced to Tuesday along with the next six fastest runners. All of Ash’s U.S. Olympic Team teammates made it through.
Cray’s time was the 14th fastest among the 24 who advanced. Annsert Whyte of Jamaica (48.37) clocked the fastest time while Keisuke Nozawa of Japan (48.62) and Ireland’s Thomas Barr (48.93) finished ahead of Cray in the heat.
Cray came into the Olympics as a two-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist with that personal best time shattering the Philippines national record he previously held.
Both will compete Tuesday, with Cray’s semifinal scheduled for 8:35 p.m. EST and Ash at approximately 7:40 p.m. EST.
Courtesy: B-CU Media Relations