The Road to Beijing Begins In Oregon at the U.S. Olympic Trials
June 19, 2008
BERKELEY - Up to eight members of the California track and field team, along with prominent Golden Bear alumni, have the opportunity to compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials from June 27 to July 6 in Eugene Ore. at the historic Hayward Field. These select athletes hope to earn a spot on the U.S. National team and represent their country at the Olympic Games in Beijing, China, in August. Among the Bears competing will be Alysia Johnson who already has an Olympic 'A' standard in the 800 meters.
Johnson, a six-time All-American at Cal, had been on a roll before slightly reinjuring her foot during the NCAA Championships. She had the best collegiate 800-meter time in the nation at 2:00.57, set at the Pac-10 Championships, eclipsing her previous conference meet-record time of 2:01.74, which was achieved at the 2007 Pac-10 Championships. At the 2008 NCAA West Regional, Johnson successfully defended her 800-meter title with a meet-record time of 2:00.77, surpassing her previous west regional meet-record time of 2:02.12 from 2007. Her personal-best time of 1:59.29 is not only a school record, but is the third fastest in collegiate history.
The 800-meter quarterfinal round is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Friday, June 27. The semifinals will take place the next day at 4:25 p.m. and the final will be held on Monday, June 30, at 8:15 p.m. (PT).
Also among Cal's athletes who look to perform well at the trials are high jumper Ed Wright and 100-meter hurdler Kimyon Broom. Wright enters the trials with a personal best of 7-3.25 (2.22m), which is also tied for the seventh-best in school history. A three-time All-American, Wright won his second straight Pac-10 high jump title in 2008, as he once again tied his personal best. He advanced to the NCAA Championships when he took fourth and posted a mark of 6-11 (2.11m) at the NCAA West Regional. He came in 14th at the national championships. Wright is currently tied for 10th according to the USATF national rankings.
The qualifying round of the men's high jump is scheduled for Thursday, July 3, at 7:25 p.m. The final will take place on Saturday, July 5, at 12:55 p.m.
Broom, who made her way on to the national scene at the end of the season, set the school 100-meter-hurdles record of 13.17 in the preliminaries at the Pac-10 Championships, and later went on to claim the conference title with a time of 13.26. Broom is currently ranked 23rd in the nation and the top 32 runners will compete in the trials in that event. At the NCAA Championships, Broom was part of the 4x100-meter relay that earned All-America honors.
The quarterfinals of the 100-meter hurdles will take place on Saturday, July 5, at 1:15 p.m. The semifinals and the final will both be held on Sunday, July 6, with the semifinals at 3:35 p.m. and the final at 5:40 p.m.
Additionally, two other athletes who have a very good chance of competing in the trials are All-American David Torrence in the 1500 and Jake Hanson in the 400-meter hurdles. Since the entries for each event are not locked up until two days prior, Torrence and Hanson are still waiting to see if they can compete at the trials. Three other Bears who also could receive an invitation to the trials are Ryan Young (javelin), 2008 NCAA pole vault champion Katie Morgan and Thomas Mack (110-meter hurdles).
Three Cal alumni trying to make the U.S. Olympic team are Grace Upshaw (long jump), Travis Nutter (hammer) and Kristin Heaston (shot put). Nutter, a three-time All-American, owns Cal's second-best hammer throw in school history at 225-6 that he earned in 1998. He has been listed in the Top 10 in the U.S. rankings by Track & Field News six times in the last nine years. He currently ranks third in the nation at 246-1. Upshaw, A 2004 Olympian and four-time U.S. national champion in the long jump, moved up from a No. 32 world ranking to a No. 5 world ranking in 2003. Currently in the USATF rankings, Upshaw is ranked third with a mark of 21-11. Her personal best is 22-5.25, which she earned in 2004 in Eugene, Ore. Heaston, a five-time All-American, claimed her third U.S. Outdoor Championship with a personal-best throw of 61-5.75 (18.74m). At the 2004 Olympic Games, Heaston was the first woman to throw in the qualifying round at Ancient Olympia, making her the first woman ever to compete at Olympia. In 2003, Heaston became the first woman to win the U.S. Indoor and Outdoor shot put titles in the same year since Connie Price-Smith did it in 2000.
The TV coverage for the trials is listed below.
Date Times Network June 28 12:00-1:00 a.m. USAJune 28 8:00-9:00 p.m. NBCJune 29 7:00-8:00 p.m. NBCJune 30 11:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m. USAJuly 3 11:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m. USAJuly 4 11:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m. USAJuly 5 5:00-6:00 p.m. NBCJuly 6 7:00-9:00 p.m. NBC
Check on CalBears.com for updates whenever a Cal athlete makes the Olympic team. When the trials are completed, a full recap will be posted on CalBears.com. Live stats will also be posted on CalBears.com when available.