Former Pleasantville High School track and field runner Nia Ali won her heat in the women's 100-meter hurdles preliminaries Friday at the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore.
Ali finished in 12.94 seconds, the eighth-fastest time among the 32 runners in five heats.
The women's 100 hurdles semifinals are at 6:15 p.m. EDT today and the final at 8:45 p.m. EDT. NBC Sports Network will televise the final. The top three finishers will make Team USA and compete in the Summer Games in London.
Ali, representing Nike, edged Candice Price and Kristi Castlin, who both finished in 12.98. Six of the eight fastest runners represent Nike, including Kellie Wells, who won Heat 2 in 12.68, the event's best preliminary time.
Ali, who graduated from Pleasantville in 2006, starred at the University of Southern California. She won the NCAA Division I title in the women's 100 hurdles in a wind-aided personal best 12.63 last June in Des Moines, Iowa. That made her the first graduate of a high school in Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland or southern Ocean counties to win a Division I title in track and field.
She has been in California training for the Olympics since her graduation last year. Her best time this season is 12.73.
At Pleasantville in 2006, Ali was The Press Co-Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year with Danielle Tauro of Southern Regional and Kimberly Warren of Atlantic City. Ali won South Jersey and state Group II titles in the 100 hurdles, and won the 100 hurdles at the Meet of Champions in 13.78. She was also a South Jersey champion in the 200 and the high jump.
Ali, a transfer from West Catholic High School in Philadelphia, also was named The Press Co-Girls Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year in 2005-2006, along with Tauro and Ocean City's Brittany Sedberry.