'Just another race': UTSA track star bound for Olympic trials

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by Vinnie Vinzetta & Kens5.com staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @vinniekens5

kens5.com

Posted on June 26, 2012 at 2:09 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 26 at 5:02 PM

SAN ANTONIO -- Track Town USA will be getting a taste of UTSA.

Sophomore track star Keyunta Hayes is heading to Eugene, Oregon to compete in the Olympic Trials for the 400 meter hurdles.

The young Roadrunner never thought he'd be considered for the 2012 Games, but thanks to an outstanding qualifying time at the NCAA Outdoor National Championships, he just may be punching a ticket to London.

"It's something I put towards 2016, where as I knew that I could be a contender then," Hayes said after a recent workout at UTSA. "But as of right now, it shocked me that I could be able to run so fast."

Although new to the 400 meter hurdles, Hayes stunned coaches and competitors with his ability to dominate the event so quickly.

"He's fairly new to the 400 hurdles and he still really hasn't run a race where it's been like a really good race," said UTSA head track coach Aaron Fox. "We really don't know what he's capable of running in."

Hayes has finished no worse than second place in nine of his last 11 races. His National Championship time of 49.38 is the best in the Southern Conference in the last 20 years.

"I'm here to run my fastest and give it all I've got," Hayes said of the Olympic trials. "Because it's one shot, two shots, maybe three if you're lucky."

So he's keeping it simple.

"I'm just going out there saying, 'Same race different place.' Even though I've run at Oregon, again, it's just another race to run faster."

Hayes will be competing against the top American hurdlers on Thursday, June 26.

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