Sunday, June 24, 2012

Aretha Thurmond earns Olympic team berth number four with second place finish...

EUGENE--University of Washington hall of famer Aretha Thurmond (left/photo of victory lap by Randy Miyazaki, successfully made her third consecutive US Olympic team and fourth career team as she finished second in the discus on a mostly sunny day at Hayward Field.

Thurmond opened the competition with a toss of 203-6 (62.04m). as defending Olympic champ Stephanie Brown-Trafton answered with a leading toss of 207-8 (63.30m).

After two fouls and a fourth round toss of 196-6, Thurmond locked down her Olympic berth with her best throw of the day, spinning the platter 204-6 (62.23m).

Brown-Trafton, the American record holder in the event, closed the competition with a toss of 213-10 (65.18m) to put a bow on the victory.

Afterwards, Thurmond, who prepped at Renton HS, said, “It’s just been an awesome ride. I think competing at this level has made me a better person…I’m just overwhelmed having been able to do this for this long, and it still excites me.”

“For me the key to longevity is taking care of yourself. It’s training smart.”

Summing things up, she said, “This is so exciting. Four times: It’s a dream come true. This wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for my support team.”

A season best of 26-1 (7.95m) was not enough for Washington alum Norris Frederick, as he finished fifth in the long jump.

Entering the competition, Frederick needed not only to finish in the top three, but had to jump at least 26-11 (8.20m), as he didn't have the required Olympic A standard.

After the preliminary rounds in which he jumped 24-10 1/2 (7.58m), Frederick, who was in eighth, moved to fifth with the 26-1 jump.

In the penultimate round, he jumped 18-10 1/4 (5.76m), then jumped 25-9 1/2 (7.86m) in the final round.

Defending US champ Marquise Goodwin of Texas took the victory with a jump of 27-4 (8.33m), followed by Wiil Claye at 27-0 (8.23m).

George Kitchen nabbed the final spot with a jump of 26-11 1/4 (8.21m), and most importantly, exceeded the Olympic A standard, as entering the competition, Goodwin and Claye were the only ones with the standard in their pockets.

The Huskies' Logan Miller no heighted in three attempts at the opening height of 13-11 1/4 (4.25m), but gained valuable experience competing against an elite field.

Monday will see a host of athletes with Washington ties competing.

In the men's discus, Marysville's Jarred Rome, WSU alum Ian Waltz, and former Husky Will Conwell aim for one of the twelve spots in the finals.

Washington State alum Collier Lawrence will run in the 3000 steeplechase, along with Seattle resident Lois Keller.

Club Northwest's John Ricardi will see his first action in the men's steeple.

A host of Washingtonians are entered in the men's pole vault--American record holder Brad Walker, Seattle resident Levi Keller, former Husky Scott Roth, and Seattle's Jason Colwick, a former NCAA champion from Rice University.

In the women's 5000 heats, Tacoma's Brie Felnagle and former Husky Katie Mackey will compete.

One notable name missing from the women's 5000 is former Seattle Pacific standout Jessica Tebo, as she was injured during the 5000 at the NCAA championships in Des Moines. Tebo had the Olympic A standard, a mark she got at the Payton Jordan Invitational in April, where she ran 15:19.43.

In the men's 5000, Bellingham's Jake Riley and Washington State alum Bernard Lagat look to qualify for Thursday's final.

Competing in Monday finals are Curtis HS alum Andrea Geubelle and WSU alum Blessing Ufodiama in the women's triple jump; Vancouver high schooler Sean Keller in the men's javelin; and in the final men's running event of the night, Gig Harbor's Mark Wieczorek runs in the 800 meters.

Complete day 3 results from the US Olympic track & field trials are available here.

At the British Olympic Trials Sunday in Birmingham, England, Washington's James Alaka finished third in his heat, running 21.19, and did not make the finals.

Results of his race are available here.

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