Top sprinters have poor showing at NCAAs

DES MOINES, Iowa – Florida’s Jeff Demps and LSU’s Semoy Hackett figured to be tough to beat in their respective 100-meter finals at this week’s NCAA outdoor track and field championships.

Not so tough after all.

Demps and Hackett both failed to get through the 100 semifinals Wednesday, which could have ramifications for Texas A&M’s quest for a third straight men’s team title and LSU’s shot at a record 15th women’s crown.

Demps, a football star for the Gators and the defending outdoor champion in the 100, was just 14th out of 24 qualifiers and third in his heat in 10.40 seconds. His absence could cost the Gators valuable points in their expected tussle with Texas A&M and rival Florida State for the team title.

Hackett was winning her heat – which was turned around from its original direction in hopes of avoiding a headwind – before pulling up about 10 meters short because she apparently thought she had crossed the finish line.

Hackett finished in a disappointing 11.55.

The Tigers women, along with Oregon, are expected to battle for the title with the two-time defending champion Aggies from Texas A&M. But A&M also suffered a blow in the 100 as star Jeneba Tarmoh failed to make the finals after a false start.

Tarmoh was third at the outdoor meet in 2010 and owned the nation’s fastest time in 2011 at 10.94. She’ll still get her chance to help the Aggies win their fifth straight 400 relay title on Saturday.

The championships kicked off with a light schedule that included finals in the women’s 10,000 and some field events.

The finals in sprints begin Friday night – and those will likely go a long way in deciding national championships on both the men’s and women’s sides.

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