DES MOINES, Iowa – Florida State junior James Harris matched his personal-best time in the finals of the 400-meter dash at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Saturday, placing fifth in 45.23.
Harris, who came into the finals as the No. 7 seed, was just .01 seconds out of fourth place at the finish. Josh Mance, who was enrolled at FSU in the spring and trained in Tallahassee, was fourth (45.22).
LaShawn Merritt, the 2008 Olympic champion, won in 44.21 and was followed by Tony McQuay (44.74) and Arman Hall (45.01). Harris will have an opportunity to compete for Team USA at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia later this summer as the member of the 4x400 relay pool.
His fifth-place finish comes one day after Seminole teammate Dentarius Locke placed sixth in the 100-meter finals to earn a spot on the Team USA 4x100 relay pool at the World Championships.
Three former Seminoles also competed Saturday in the preliminary rounds of the 200-meter dash at Drake University. Brandon Byram, Maurice Mitchell and Charles Clark all advanced to Sunday’s semifinal round.
Byram, a multi-time All-American for the Seminoles who completed his eligibility in 2011, got things going by winning heat 3 in 20.21, which was the fourth-fastest qualifying time in the preliminary rounds. Mitchell and Clark, who combined for three consecutive NCAA 200-meter titles while representing the Seminoles, also moved on.
Clark was the first to grab an automatic spot in the semis, finishing second to 100-meter champion Tyson Gay in the first heat of the preliminary round. Clark checked in with a time of 20.57. Mitchell followed with a runner-up finish to his former collegiate rival Ameer Webb in heat two, posting a time of 20.38.
The top four finishers in Sunday’s two semifinal heats, set for 3:05 p.m. (ET). will advance to the finals later in the day.
Also on Saturday, incoming transfer Otniel Teixeira notched a personal-best time of 3:56.55 to place 10th in the finals of the Junior Championships 1500-meter run. Teixeira will enroll at FSU in the fall as a transfer from USF.
In addition to the 200 semifinals, two other Seminoles will compete Sunday as the USA Championships draw to a close. Lacy Warren (Janson), a 2012 Olympian, is vying for her third trip to the IAAF World Outdoor Championships as a member of Team USA.
Harris will also get another crack at earning a medal Sunday in the high jump competition, where he enters as the No. 5 seed.