June 21, 2013
DES MOINES, Iowa – The belief has always been there for Charles Silmon. When critics have said that what he was doing would not hold up against the elite competition he has proven the critics wrong each time. Friday night at Drake Stadium, he did it yet again as Silmon finished third in the men’s 100-meter dash to advance to the IAAF World Championships in August in Moscow, Russia.
“I came out with third place,” Silmon noted. “I sat out last week to try and get everything back together. I was fine after the first race, but the second race I was hurting a little and just wanted to get through the race. I am amazed at what I did tonight.”
The men’s 100-meter dash final was loaded with the best of the best in the 100-meter dash. Silmon was up against the best professionals in Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Mike Rodgers and his top rivals from the collegiate game in Dentarius Locke and Isaiah Young. After winning his semifinal heat, Silmon would be in the middle of the track with Gay next to him.
Silmon got off to a strong start and was looking in good shape before a mid-race fade dropped him further back in the field.
“It was a crazy race,” Silmon said. “I kind of panicked a little bit when I realized how close I was to the elite professionals. I got my composure back and finished strong. I realized I was fifth or sixth and said to myself to forget any injury I have and just finish the race as hard as I could.”
Silmon was able to get himself back into the race. Like at the NCAA Championships just two weeks earlier, he used a strong finish to get himself back into contention. The waiting game then begun to see if he would be among the top-three that would compete in the 100-meter dash for the United States at the World Championships. Gay and Gatlins first and second, respectively, marks came up immediately. However, a wait ensued that seemed to take an eternity. At long last, the mark came on the board, and Silmon had just edged out Mike Rodgers with a faster wind-legal 9.98 seconds.
“This was outstanding for Charles,” TCU head coach Darryl Anderson said. “From where he has started to where he is today is incredible. He has given great leadership to our young guys and this is a culmination of what all the work has been for. I told him before the race there would be three winners, and he was the third winner.”
By making the final of the 100-meter dash, Silmon will be part of the men’s 4x100 relay pool that will look to take down Olympic Champions and world record holders Jamaica in Moscow at the World Championships. The first person he called after the race was his mom.
“She has been my No. 1 fan throughout my entire career, including the ACL injuries back in high school,” Silmon said. “She is my guardian angel. She is always with me at races, even when she isn’t at the track.”
On paper, it seemed like déjà vu for Silmon in the men’s 100 semifinals. He was next to Locke of Florida State, his foe from the NCAA Championships in the lane right next to him. He was slightly beat out of the blocks, but the lead by the rest of the field did not last long as he got ahead and was able to edge out former Oklahoma star Mookie Salaam at the line to win his heat in a wind-aided 9.85.
Jessica Young was part of a challenging field in the semifinals of the women’s 100-meter dash. She was able to rally to gain a few spots near the end, but finished sixth in her heat and not among the advancing runners. She posted a time of 11.16 and finished 12th overall.
Silmon and Young return to the track tomorrow for the first rounds of the 200-meter dash. Silmon and the men run a 2:40 p.m. and Young and the women take the track at 3:40 p.m. Saturday will also see Whitney Gipson take part in the women’s long jump. The 2012 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor long jump champ will begin competition at 3:15 p.m. TV coverage will start at 3 p.m. on Universal Sports before switching over to the NBC Sports Network from 4-6 p.m. All events prior to 3 p.m. will be streamed on usatf.tv.