Three athletes with South Plains ties advance to gold medal finals in Tokyo
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - As the Olympic Games traditionally turns its attention away from the swimming pool to the track, three area athletes have already clinched the chance to compete for a medal. For distance runner Benard Keter and shot put thrower Jessica Ramsey, the opportunity came in the closing moments of their first competition.
Benard Keter, who was a distance runner for Texas Tech (2015-17) and Wayland Baptist (2013-15), survived enough successful “water jumps” to claim the last remaining at-large spot Friday in the first round of the Men’s 3,000m Steeplechase (8:17.31), only 7.48 seconds behind the top-ranked qualifier, Lamecha Girla of Ethiopia. He will run for the gold 7:15 a.m. CST Monday at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium. After he won two NAIA titles at Wayland Baptist, Keter earned four Big 12 titles after he transferred to Tech. In addition to representing the Stars & Stripes on the world’s biggest stage, Keter also serves as a specialist for the United States Army.
Ramsey, who competed for South Plains College in 2011-12 found herself in a similar predicament. After she started out with two fouls in the qualification round of the Women’s Shot Put, Ramsey slung the metal ball 18.75 meters down the middle of the open field- which was enough for a spot Saturday night’s final. The contest begins 8:35 p.m. CST (10:35 a.m. Sunday in Japan). After her time at SPC, Ramsey finished her collegiate career at Western Kentucky University.
Jamaica’s Karayme Bartley, who currently races for the Red Raiders, has a chance to make Olympic history while competing in the inaugural 4 x 400m Mixed Relay. As he stood in anchor position at Friday’s heat waiting to receive the baton from Stacey Williams, his host nation was in fourth position. With a split time of 44.80, he was able to surpass Great Britain’s Lee Thompson in the final 25 meters, helping Jamaica to a third-place finish behind Poland and the Netherlands. The Tech sprinter will have a chance to go for the gold 7:35 a.m. CST Saturday. Bartley transferred to Tech from the University of Iowa in 2019, and has received All-American honors at both schools.
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