Monday, June 25, 2012

Olympic Trials - Big Day for Minnesotans

It’s a huge day in Eugene for Minnesotans.  The women’s 3,000m Steeplechase kicks things off at 6:50 CDT.  Team USA Minnesota’s Jamie Cheever will be one of 24 athletes in one of the qualifying heats.  The former Gopher’s qualifying time of 9:52.15 gives her the 13th best qualifying time.  The men will run at 7:25 CDT with Justin Tyner representing the state.  His 8:33.98 is the 18th fastest qualifying time.  The Olympic Games A-standards are 9:43.0 and 8:23.1 for women and men, respectively.  So Cheever and Tyner will both need to shave roughly 10 seconds from their current times, in addition to finishing in the top-3, in order to move on to London.
At 8:05 CDT the women’s 5,000m qualifying heat will be held.  Unfortunately, there aren’t any Minnesotan’s in the field.  Similarly to the 10,000m, Team USA Minnesota’s Meghan Peyton missed qualifying for the meet by a handful of seconds.  The men will toe the line in the 5,000m at 9:00 CDT and the qualifying heats will feature two Minnesotan’s, Elliott Heath and Hassan Mead.  Heath owns the 9th fastest qualifying time of 13:26.14, while Mead is seeded 19th with a 13:33.42.  Mead is coming off his 11th place finish in the 10,000m where he set a school record for the U of M, running 27:59.04.
Tonight will also be the finals for the 800m.  Only Heather Kampf is still alive, having survived the first two rounds.  As a reminder, she’ll need to run 1:59.9 or better and finish in the top-3 in order to punch her ticket to London.
I haven’t mentioned any field events yet, but it should be noted that the women’s Triple Jump and men’s High Jump teams will both be determined tonight.  Amanda Smock (formerly Thieschafer) is currently in the lead after the preliminary jumps.  It currently looks like none of the women will achieve the Olympic Games A-standard.  If that is indeed the case, only 1 athlete with the B-standard will be sent to London.  If Smock can maintain her lead, she’ll become an Olympian.  Here’s a recent article on the Melrose native. 
In the high jump, former Minnesota State – Mankato athlete, Jim Dilling is one of thirteen athletes that made it through the preliminaries.  Ten of those jumpers leapt 7-1 ¾ or 2.18m, including Dilling .  The former U.S. champ was one of three people to not have a miss in the prelims.
Finally, I’ve been meaning to provide links to Track & Field News’ form charts, which rank the top-10 athletes by position.  Here are the men's and women's charts.

After today's events, there will be two rest days before the meet resumes on Thursday, July, 28th.

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