Thursday, July 7, 2016

Andrea Geubelle repeats third place Trials finish, but this time she get to go to the Olympics...

EUGENE—As she did in 2012, University Place resident Andrea Geubelle (left/photo by Paul Merca) finished third in the triple jump and made her first Olympic team as the US Olympic Track & Field Trials concluded Thursday evening at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

Four years ago, she took third at the Trials, but was short of the Olympic standard, and did not get to go to London.

The Curtis HS grad, who started eighth in the order, began her series under slightly rainy conditions not unlike what she was accustomed to with a solid mark of 45-0.25 (13.72m), then fouled in round 2, and a 44-4.75 (13.53m) in round 3, which kept her in fourth after three rounds.

She matched her third round jump in the fourth round, and then improved to her eventual best mark of 45-9.25 (13.95m) in round 5 before closing with a jump of 44-10.25 (13.67m).

With the rainy conditions, it appeared that eventual winner Keturah Orji (46-11.75/14.32m) of the University of Georgia and Geubelle would be the only two headed to Rio, as both had the Olympic qualifying standard of 46-5.25 (14.15m) in their pockets before the meet.

However, Christina Epps changed the team composition, as she came through with a jump of 46-6 (14.17m) in round 5 to go from fifth to second, and most importantly, attain the Olympic standard.

April Sinkler of Club Northwest finished sixth with a best of 43-9.25 (13.34m)

“We have some studs who are going to Rio, and the weather’s not going to hold us back,” said Geubelle, in reference to Epps’ breakthrough jump in round 5.

About having the standard before the meet, she said that it gave her confidence and that she didn’t have to worry about that, but instead, she only worried about competing today.

“At the same time, at no time at all did I feel that I had it (the Olympic team spot) in the bag.  I grabbed both of these girls and said, ‘Holy cow, we’re sending three women to the Olympics, and that hasn’t happened in a while (1996 in Atlanta to be exact).’”

“I think that (having three women on the team) shows the rise of US triple jumping, and that we are capable of doing something special at the Olympics.”

In talking about her injury filled 2014 and 2015 seasons, she said that she never gave up hope, and thanked the medical team that she worked with in Tacoma.

She touched briefly on the coaching change from Kansas, where she worked with Wayne Pate, to going home to Tacoma, where she reunited with her high school and club coach Nate Wilford of the Flying AJ’s track club. She admitted that the first phase of her jump is the longest, and that her jumping isn’t the prettiest, but it gets the job done. 

“It’s just go as fast as you can, go hard, and see how far you jump,” she said

Washington alum Mel Lawrence finished eighth in the finals of the women’s 3000 steeplechase, in a personal best of 9:36.35.

In other events, Kara Winger took only one throw and qualified with the best mark of the day, a toss of 201-6 (61.42m).  Western Washington’s Bethany Drake, and Katie Reichert threw 170-2 (51.87m) and 169-3 (51.60m) while Viking alum Monica Gruszecki tossed the spear 162-6 (49.55m).

Rainier Beach HS grad Ginnie Crawford, who announced that this will be her final Olympic Trials competition, failed to finish.

In the women’s 1500, Alexa Efraimson was a time qualifier, finishing seventh in her heat in 4:14.40.  Gabriele Grunewald of the Brooks Beasts, who earlier in the day was a non-qualifying 11th in her heat of the 5000 (15:58.72), bounced back and ran 4:18.07 to finish sixth in her heat and move to the semi finals.

The men’s 1500 saw Auburn/Riverside alum Jordan McNamara run 3:42.58 in heat 1 to place 4th, while Izaic Yorks ran 3:42.57 and finish 7th in heat 3 to advance to Friday’s semis.

In the women’s 5000, Katie Mackey of the Brooks Beasts (2nd in heat 2 in 15:26.64) and Seattle Pacific alum Jessica Tebo (6th in heat 1 in 15:43.64) advance to the finals.  Not advancing were Grunewald (15:58.72) and Angela Bizzarri (16:21.05) of the Beasts, while teammate Jessica Tonn did not start. 

The men’s 400 hurdles saw Jeshua Anderson advance easily, as he ran 50.09 to take second in heat 3.  CJ Allen of WSU was a non-advancing seventh in heat 1 in 51.75.

Looking ahead to Friday’s action, Dakarai Hightower from Tacoma, Washington State’s Thane Pierson, and University HS/Spokane’s Noah Martin are in action in the men’s high jump qualifying.  The women’s and men’s 1500 semis will see Efraimson, Grunewald, McNamara and Yorks, while Jeshua Anderson goes in the semis of the men’s 400 hurdles.

The complete schedule for Friday's competition is below.

Complete results of Thursday’s action is available here.

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