Toby Stevenson Aims For U.S. Olympic Pole Vault Berth

July 10, 2004

Sacramento, Ca - Summer Pierson was an unheralded discus thrower during her tenure at Stanford University in the late 1990's. But through hard work and persistence, Pierson has become one of the top discus throwers in the country, and on Saturday at the 2004 United States Olympic Trials at Sacramento State University she moved to Monday's final with an eighth place showing in the semifinals.

Pierson, a 2000 Stanford graduate who has the second-best effort in school history (190-0, 57.92m) had an effort of 186-1 (56.72m) in the qualifying rounds at Hornet Stadium on Saturday. The day's best effort was turned in by Aretha Hill at 205-1 (62.51m). The finals are slated for Monday (7/12/04, 7:30 p.m. pt).

There were a couple disappointments on the day for a couple former Stanford athletes. Chryste Gaines, the 1992 Stanford graduate and Olympic gold medalist in the 400 meter relay in 1996, failed in her bid for a berth on the 2004 U.S. Olympic team in the 100 meters with an eleventh place finish (11.30) in the semifinals. Eight sprinters advanced to the finals including Torri Edwards who had a time of 11.00. Marion Jones, LaTasha Colander and Lauryn Williams each had times of 11.14. The eighth position was taken by Angela Daigle at 11.27. In the 100 meter finals later in the day, Colander finished first at 10.97 followed by Edwards (11.02) and Williams (11.10). Gail Devers placed fourth (11.11) while Jones was fifth (11.14).

Ashley Wysong, a 2002 Stanford graduate, ended her 800 meter Olympic bid with a 16th place finish (2:09.88) in the semifinals. Jearl Miles-Clark had the best time at 2:00.33.

Tracye Lawyer-Thomas, the 1999 NCAA heptathlon champion from Stanford, finished the two-day heptathlon competition with 5,772 points to place eighth. Shelia Burrell gained the Olympic berth with a tally of 6,194 points.

On Sunday (7/11/04), Toby Stevenson, a 2000 Stanford graduate, will attempt to make his first U.S. Olympic team in the pole vault. The 27-year-old Stevenson, who trains at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista (San Diego County), leads the world this year with a vault of 19-8 1/4. Stevenson will join 12 other vaulters in the finals.

Stevenson, a six-time All-American and the 1998 NCAA champion, will be trying to become the first Stanford pole vaulter to make the United States Olympic team since 1932 when Bill Miller captured the gold medal. Only one other Stanford pole vaulter has participated in the Olympics. Sam Bellah finished sixth in the pole vault at the 1908 Olympics and seventh at the 1912 Olympics.

Erica Wheeler, a two-time All-American from Stanford in 1987-88, will be attempting to make her second U.S. Olympic team in the javelin in Sunday's final (2:45 p.m. pt). Wheeler finished fourth in Friday's prelims in the javelin (172-8, 52.64m) to advance along with eleven other athletes. An 18-year veteran of the sport, Wheeler is still among the top U.S. javelin throwers. Wheeler, the 2003 USA Outdoor javelin champion, is competing in her fifth Olympic Trials.

The top three finishers at the U.S. Olympic Trials who have already met the Olympic 'A' qualifying standard in their event will be named to the Team USA roster for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

For complete results at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials, go to

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