Olympic Trials Day 4 Preview
Day Four of the U.S. Olympic Trials will see finals in the women's triple jump and 800 meters, and the men's high jump, javelin throw, and 800 meters.
TV coverage: 9:00 PM to 11:00 PM on NBC Sports Network
|6:30 PM ET||Men's Discus Throw||Prelim|
|7:50 PM ET||Women's 3000 Meter Steeplechase||Prelim|
|8:25 PM ET||Men's 3000 Meter Steeplechase||Prelim|
|8:30 PM ET||Men's Pole Vault||Prelim|
|8:45 PM ET||Women's Triple Jump||Final|
|8:50 PM ET||Men's High Jump||Final|
|TV Coverage Begins|
|9:00 PM ET||Men's Javelin Throw||Final|
|9:05 PM ET||Women's 5000 Meter Run||Prelim|
|9:50 PM ET||Women's 800 Meter Run||Final|
|10:00 PM ET||Men's 5000 Meter Run||Prelim|
|10:47 PM ET||Men's 800 Meter Run||Final|
Women's Triple Jump
The Favorite: Amanda Smock (New York AC / Minneapolis, MN)
There are a few events in which the USA has only one Olympic 'A' qualifier and thus can send only one entrant. Then there is this event, where no one has an 'A' qualifier -- in fact, Smock is the only 'B' qualifier. This is not just because the USA is weak in this event; the IAAF has made many of the field event qualifying marks ridiculously hard to achieve in order to keep entries down.
Smock, the 2011 US champion, did not have the 'B' qualifier for the 2011 Worlds until late in the qualification period. That same mark is her 'B' qualifier for the Olympics. Unless someone else hits the mark, where Smock finishes doesn't matter; she'll be the lone US entrant.
Could anyone else come up with a 'B' and displace Smock?
The College Girl: Andrea Geubelle (Kansas / University Place, WA)
Geubelle looked like the NCAA champion two weeks ago, but her winning jump was protested by an opposing coach and the replay showed a hairline foul. That long non-jump was a wind-aided 14.32 meters (46' 11Â¾"), and Geubelle has also recorded a wind-aided 14.17 meters (46' 6"), indicating that she's close to being able to hit the Olympic 'A' mark of 14.10 meters.
The Remarkable Recovery: Erica McLain (Nike / Menlo Park, CA)
In March 2011, McLain suffered a horrific ankle dislocation while training, one so severe that she was actually looking at the sole of her shoe. Few besides McLain and her support team expected her to be competing again at all, let alone just a year later and at a near-Olympic level. The fact that McLain has not achieved an Olympic standard is not surprising since she was out of competition for most of the qualifying period. Her PR of 14.33 meters (47' Â¾"), set in 2010 (her last full season of competition) would be an Olympic 'A' qualifier. So McLain is capable of achieving the 'B' mark--the only questions are if she's capable of doing it on this ankle, and in this meet.
Men's High Jump
Jesse Williams (Oregon TC / Eugene, OR)
Jamie Nieto (New York AC / Chula Vista, CA)
Erik Kynard (Kansas State / Toledo, OH)
Williams is the defending World Champion and his big win at New York's adidas Grand Prix indicates he's in good form. Nieto is in the later stages of his career and is beginning to dabble in acting, and finished fourth at the 2004 Olympics. Young Kynard recently won his second straight NCAA Championships in dramatic style with a big PR. All three are coached by Cliff Rovelto.
These are the only three finalists who have achieved the Olympic 'A' qualifier of 2.31 meters (7' 7"), which means that they are the Olympic team unless someone else both beats one of them and jumps at least 7' 7" while doing so. Could anyone do it?
The Longhorn: Andra Manson (Nike / Austin, TX)
Manson didn't do much either this year or last, but he has big heights in him. He first jumped 7' 7" ten years ago while in high school hit it as recently as 2010.
Men's Javelin Throw
Cyrus Hostetler (Oregon TC / Eugene, OR)
Sean Furey (Mizuno / San Diego, CA)
Craig Kinsley (unattached / Providence, RI)
Hostetler was an Oregon star and will be the fan favorite. Furey was the 2010 US champion. Kinsley recently hit a huge PR of 82.31 meters (270' 0").
These are the only three athletes with the Olympic 'A' standard of 82.00 meters (269' 0"), and thus will automatically be the Olympic team unless someone else hits that standard. Who could do it?
The NCAA Champion: Tim Glover (Illinois State / Normal, IL)
Glover, who just completed his junior year, won NCAA titles in both 2011 and 2010. His improvement curve has been rather dramatic, adding more than thirty feet from his freshman year to his sophomore year and another four feet the next. He's flirted with the 82.00 meter qualifying mark, hitting 81.31 at the Sea Ray Relays and 81.69 just two weeks ago at the NCAA Championships.
Been Down This Road Before: Corey White (unattached / Los Angeles, CA)
White missed the 'A' standard for the 2008 Olympics by just 15 centimeters. In 2010 he threw a lifetime best of 82.97 meters (272' 3"), but the Olympic qualifying period didn't begin until 2011.
The Oregon Hero: Sam Crouser (Oregon / Gresham, OR)
Crouser just finished his freshman season for the Ducks and stands little chance of hitting the Olympic 'A' standard. He will, however, illicit a big cheer from the crowd. He is part of the "First Family of Throwing"; Sam, his sister Haley, and cousin Ryan are all national high school record holders, and father Dean and uncle Brian were stars at Oregon who won national titles and set records.
Women's 800 meters
Alysia MontaÃ±o (Nike / Canyon Country, CA)
Molly Beckwith (Saucony / Bloomington, IN)
Alice Schmidt (Nike / Coronado, CA)
MontaÃ±o appears head and shoulders above the rest, recently winning the tough Prefontaine Classic race in near-PR time. Beckwith is still relatively new to all of this, just a year out of Indiana where she started off as a soccer player before knee injuries encouraged a switch to track. Schmidt is the seasoned pro, being on US national teams as far back as 2005, and this year showed an new turn of endurance with a big PR at 1500 meters.
The Unpredictable Runner: Maggie Vessey (New Balance / Seacliff, CA)
Vessey is more consistent than she used to be, but she's still a bit of a wild card in the 800, which is a highly unpredictable event to begin with. Her racing style tends to be to hang back early and make a late rush, which works well when the pace is fast but can be difficult to pull off when it isn't. Still, she's been runner-up at the last two national championships and was a Worlds finalist last year.
The Local Runner: Geena Gall (Oregon TC / Eugene, OR)
Gall, a two-time NCAA champion at Michigan, is now with the Eugene-based Oregon Track Club. She's peaking at the right time, setting a new PR while taking second place at the Prefontaine Classic.
The Walk-On: Phoebe Wright (Nike / Signal Mountain, TN)
Wright came to Tennessee as a walk-on athlete and left in 2010 as a double NCAA champion. Since then, her progress has been minimal, but she's still a smart and tough runner. Besides, is there a better-sounding place for a runner to live than "Signal Mountain, Tennessee"?
Men's 800 meters
Nick Symmonds (Oregon TC / Springfield, OR)
Khadevis Robinson (Nike / Las Vegas, NV)
Symmonds is almost the Prefontaine of the present day, an outspoken athlete with an appeal beyond just us track nerds. Robinson has been around forever, winning his first national title back in 1999, and seems to have only gotten better with age. These two are smart, tough, experienced, and their race results have been very good. They're considered strong favorites to make the Olympic team, but what about that third spot? That's wide open.
The Front Runner: Charles Jock (Nike / San Diego, CA)
Jock's racing style is very simple: run hard, period. He got run down at last year's NCAA Championships by the narrowest of margins in one of the many legendary kicks of Robby Andrews (who is entered in the 1500). But he came back at last year's USATF championships and won a place on the World Championships team.
The Beard: Ryan Martin (UC Santa Barbara / Lake Forest, CA)
Martin once appeared to be working on ZZ Top-style facial hair, leading my wife to quip that "he's a graduate of the Jesse Squire school of ugly beards" (referring to my own regrettable early-20s experiments). He's trimmed it down now but still has a good bit left. A Big West conference rival of Jock, the two have put on some tremendous battles at their conference championships; Martin came up just 0.02 seconds short of the win this year, running 1:44.77 in the process.
The Oregonians: Tyler Mulder (Oregon TC / Eugene, OR), Elijah Greer (Oregon / Lake Oswego, OR)
Four years ago, Eugene-based runners swept the three Olympic spots in the 800 meters and the fans blew the top off of Hayward Field. It's possible it could happen again, but it's a bit of a long shot. Mulder has achieved the Olympic 'A' standard, but Greer needs a PR to hit it.