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Published August 04 2012

Dickinson State grads make it to semifinals in 100, 400 meters

DICKINSON, N.D. – Dickinson State graduates Derrick Atkins and Ramon Miller had to fight for it, but each advanced to the semifinals of their respective events on Saturday.

The Bahamas sprinters both finished second in their respective heats, each advancing on photo finishes.

Atkins ran a time of 10.22 seconds in the 100 meters while Miller clocked a 45.57 time in the 400.

Atkins, competing in the first round of the 100, finished runner-up to Justin Gatlin of the United States, who won in 9.97 seconds.

Atkins, who reached the semifinals of the Beijing Olympics in 2008 but had to fight his way back to London following two years defined by injuries, cracked a wide smile and waved to fans as his name was announced at Olympic Stadium.

As Gatlin pulled away from the field, Atkins found himself in a chase for second against Trinidad and Tobago’s Rondel Sorrillo (10.23), Poland’s Dariusz Kuc (10.24) and Brazil’s Nilson Andre (10.26). The stadium’s photo-finish cameras showed Atkins’ torso had crossed the finish line just ahead of Sorrillo and Kuc.

As he walked off the track, cameras caught Atkins cracking another smile as he looked at the finishers list on a scoreboard.

Miller had to fight for his trip to the semifinals.

The 12-time NAIA champion used a strong kick in the final 50 meters of his 400 preliminary heat to clock in at 45.57 seconds.

He finished second to Grenada’s Kirani James (45.23) and came all the way back from fifth to edge third-place finisher Liemarvin Bonevacia by three-hundredths of a second. and beat fourth-place finisher Isaac Makwela by one-tenth of a second. The top three advance to the semifinals.

Atkins’ semifinal heat begins at 1:45 p.m. today. He is up against Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, the favorite to win gold, and American Tyson Gay, who defeated Atkins for the gold at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan.

Miller, one of three Bahamas sprinters to reach the 400 semifinals, is scheduled to race again at 2:40 p.m. today. His heat includes World Junior champion Luguelín Santos of the Dominican Republic and Belgium’s Kevin Borlee, the bronze medalist at the 2011 World Championships.

DSU alumnus Trevor Barry, a Bahamas high jumper, is scheduled to compete in the preliminaries that begin at 3:05 p.m. today. Barry is the second of two groups of 18 jumpers, so he’ll jump closer to 4 p.m.