Late round heroics were the order of the day in the USATF women’s hammer throw final on Saturday in Eugene.
In an event of many meters, mere inches made all the difference.
Amber Campbell pulled out a 6th round 237’ 5” to top NCAA champ DeAnna Price by 3 inches, win the national title, and stamp her ticket to Beijing – the 5th World Championships of her remarkable career, in addition to two Olympics.
NCAA champion Price also has met the World Championship standard, so she’ll be joining Campbell in Beijing in August.
Only two inches separated Amanda Bingson from Jeneva Stevens in the battle for the final spot on the World Championship team.
Bingson’s 5th round 231’ 7” bounced Stevens off the podium and assured Bingson her ticket to China.
All is not lost for Stevens, however, as she made the Worlds team in the shot put on Thursday.
It’s been a remarkable June for Price at Hayward Field. Here she won the NCAA title on June 11 and made her first Worlds team 16 days later.
“This is my place!” said the exuberant Price.
“I did what I had to do today and I’m happy with it,” she continued. “There’s a lot more in the tank and I’m just going to have to keep practicing, keep practicing – keep driving and keep going for what I need to do.”
The key to Price’s goals for Beijing is the consistency of her preparation: “Just train hard and do my job… that’s all I can ask for.”
“I’m a young athlete and I know I don’t have the experience, but I do have the drive and I know that I can do something.”
Amanda Bingson looks to Beijing as a chance to refine her focus. “I need to settle back down and work on myself to get back to mentally being right,” she said, “so that’s going to be a big part of our training.”
“The goal is always to win. We’re looking for big girl finals, being close to our PR, hopefully for a medal, and definitely going out and trying to win.”
A contrarian on Eugene’s sweltering weather conditions, Coastal Carolina graduate Campbell said, “This is pleasant! This is a nice 8:00 in the morning training session. We’ve had 95F with 90% humidity for the last two weeks, so I’m good – this is fine.”
Bingson agreed. As someone who has lived in Las Vegas and Austin, she said, “Oh, this weather is awesome - I love this weather! I was about to put on my sweatshirt, to be honest!”
Stevens views the weather as good preparation for what is to come. “Today was a down day being in the tent, in the call rooms, in the heat. You know what? It’s going to be hot in China so you have to go through this to get used to that.”
Next Amber Campbell will go to the Pan-American Games in Toronto and try to turn her ’11 bronze into silver or gold.
But Beijing is her ultimate goal.
“I want to do much better than I did today, make the final, and vie for a medal.”
It’s a dynamic team that the US is sending to Worlds:
Campbell, the accomplished veteran with a stellar resume of seven world and Olympic teams;
Bingson, at six years in the sport a relative newcomer, whose rapid progression includes the American record; and
Price, the exciting find of the year with unbounded potential.