Wolfpack’s Hill, Lucas miss at 5,000

St. Augustine’s, ECU athletes still in chase for Olympic spots

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EUGENE, Ore. After years of fighting through injury, former N.C. State standout Julia Lucas, saw her luck change this year, nearly resulting in an Olympic berth.

Lucas took the lead with three laps to go in the women’s 5,000 meter final at the Olympic trials final Thursday night, before going from first to fourth in the final 50 meters.

“That’s when it started getting real ugly,” Lucas said after the race. She was out-leaned at the finish line by Kim Conley. Her time of 15 minutes, 19.83 seconds was just .04 seconds behind Conley.

“I thought that on this day, I’d be the best athlete,” Lucas said. “To put in a really long grind would be my shot. You can’t sneak on the team, you have to deserve it and I gave it away. It’s nothing but my responsibility to get through the race.”

Hickory High and recent N.C. State graduate Ryan Hill, competed in the men’s 5,000 meter final and finished a surprising fifth in a personal best time of 13:27.49.

“I’m happy right now, but hopefully in four years from now, I’ll be

top three,” Hill said. “I wish I could’ve had a little more left, but was surprised how close I would end up to the top guys.”

Men’s 400-meter hurdles: Saint Augustine’s graduate Bershawn “Batman” Jackson qualified for the semifinals of the 400 meter hurdles after winning his preliminary heat on Thursday.

Running in the second of four heats, Jackson outraced the field in 50.59 seconds. His preliminary time was 12th fastest heading into the semifinals, which will be held Friday. The top three in each heat in addition to the next four best times reached the semifinals.

Jackson is a four-time U.S. outdoor champion in the men’s 400 hurdles. An Olympic bronze medalist in 2008, Jack-son is the 2005 world champion in the event. He was a three-time NCAA Division II champion at Saint Augustine’s.

Women’s High Jump: East Carolina junior All-American Tynita Butts took the next step in realizing her Olympic dream, finishing in a tie for first to qualify for the high jump finals.

Competing in the second of two flights, Butts cleared 1.79 and 1.83 meters on her first attempt – one of only six competitors to avoid a miss in the preliminary. The elite field includes American record holder Chaunte Lowe and two-time defending NCAA champion Brigetta Barrett of the University of Arizona.

The finals are scheduled for Saturday. The NBC Sports Network will provide live coverage of the day’s events beginning at 9 p.m.

Women’s 200: Looking so smooth and exerting little effort, Allyson Felix glided to an easy heat win in the 200 meters.

Minutes later, appearing just as smooth and expending just as little of energy, Jeneba Tarmoh cruised to a victory in her heat.

If controversy was weighing the sprinters down, they didn’t show it on the track.

Five days ago, the training partners crossed the finish line in a tie for the third and last Olympic spot in the 100.

Now, everyone is waiting to see what they will choose to break the dead heat – a runoff, coin flip or if one of them simply gives the spot to the other.

Men’s Steeplechase: Evan Jager won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 8 minutes, 17.40 seconds in the U.S. track trials Thursday night to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

Donn Cabral was second in 8:19.81, and Kyle Alcorn finished third in 8:22.17 for the other two places on the U.S. team for the London Games.

Jager, who trains with the Oregon Track Club, competed at the 2009 world championship in the 5,000, but recently switched to the steeplechase.

Basketball: Dwyane Wade needs surgery on his left knee and will miss the Olympics.

The Miami Heat guard called USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski on Thursday and let them know that he is not healthy enough to participate in the Olympics. Wade was playing through pain for much of the postseason, yet still averaged 22.6 points during Miami’s five-game win over Oklahoma City in the NBA Finals.

Wade tells The Associated Press that the situation is disappointing.