Tate, Mitchell-Blake Qualify for World Semifinals

by Will Stafford (@WillStaffordLSU)
Tate, Mitchell-Blake Qualify for World Semifinals

LONDON – LSU Track & Field alums Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Cassandra Tate took their mark at the London Stadium for the first time at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in Athletics and advanced to semifinals in the men’s 200-meter dash and women’s 400-meter hurdles, respectively, during Monday’s events.

Mitchell-Blake, the British Champion at 200 meters, was an easy heat winner and the second-fastest qualifier of the day as he clocked 20.08 seconds in front of a home crowd to win the seventh and final heat.

An eight-time All-American while at LSU and recent graduate in international trade and finance in May, Mitchell-Blake helped set the tone for Team GB in the very first event of the evening at the London Stadium. The 2017 NCAA Outdoor Silver Medalist trailed only Trinidad & Tobago’s Jereem Richards (20.05) in the combined standings among the seven qualifying heats.

Mitchell-Blake earned his spot on Team GB back in July while running a meet record of 20.18 to win the 200-meter title at the British Athletics Championships held in Birmingham, England. He broke John Regis’ 30-year-old championship record of 20.25 to qualify for the IAAF World Championships in Athletics for the first time in his career.

The semifinal round of the men’s 200-meter dash is scheduled for Wednesday at 2:55 p.m. CT as Mitchell-Blake will line up in Lane 5 in the first heat. The final is set to run Thursday at 3:52 p.m. CT.

Tate, the reigning World Bronze Medalist in the women’s 400-meter hurdles following her third-place finish in Beijing two years ago, took a step toward the medal podium on Monday when she turned in a run of 55.48 for third place in the second qualifying heat. She emerged from the preliminary round with the 13th-fastest time of the night to return to the World semifinal set for 1:30 p.m. CT on Tuesday.

The top-two finishers in each semifinal heat plus the athletes with the next two fastest times will advance to the final of the women’s 400-meter hurdles running Thursday at 3:35 p.m. CT.

Tate is not the only LSU alumnae competing Tuesday at the London Stadium as reigning U.S. Outdoor Silver Medalist Kimberlyn Duncan takes her mark in the second prelim heat of the women’s 200-meter dash at 1:38 p.m. CT. Duncan is making her second career appearance at the World Championships after first representing Team USA in Moscow in 2013 when she lined up as the U.S. Champion in the 200 meters.