Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Day 4 - US Olympic Track and Field Trials

"Getting It Right on This Day"

by Mark Cullen

Current and past US World champions proved again that gold glitters for only so long.

Lawi Laulauga Tausaga-Collins became the second US thrower who is either current or past World champion to foul out of these Trials. 

On Sunday it was Brooke Anderson (Eugene 2022) in the hammer, and today it was World discus champ Tausaga-Collins (Budapest 2023) matching that result. 

In better discus news, defending Olympic gold medalist Valarie Allman out-threw the competition by over 7 meters with her 70.89/232-7 meet record and season’s best. One and done and on to finals.

There was a thrill a minute in the women’s high jump. The top two positions were hotly contested - as were 3rd and 4th, with a place on the Olympic team on the line.

Charity Hufnagel picked a terrific time to jump a PB. Her 1.94/6’ 4 ¼” put her stamp on this competition as she jumped cleanly and nailed her first 5 heights in a row. She won on the countback over Rachel Glenn, who scaled the same height. Vashti Cunningham, the winner of multiple indoor and outdoor US titles, was third.

For a country long known for its excellence in the men’s and women’s long jump, the men did little to uphold their part of the bargain today. Not a single athlete in the finals had the Olympic standard. The competition was won by Jeremiah Davis in a modest 8.20/26-11.

Cole Hocker returned to the scene of his college exploits and registered a mild upset over Jared Nuguse in the men’s 1500. Hocker’s 3:30.59 was a meet and personal best. In third was 21-year-old Hobbs Kessler, while the veteran 23-year-old Hocker made his second Olympic team.

USATF says that it’s the deepest US-only men’s 1500 in history. That’s for sure. 3:34.21 got Cooper Teare only 9th place. 3:31.53 did not get surprise 4th placer Vincent Ciattei on the team.

“I was very happy with 6th place (in the 2021 Olympics),” said Hocker, “but now the goal is a medal.”

Cole Hocker wins the 1500m
Jared Nuguse (l), 2nd
Hobbs Kessler (c), 3rd
photo courtesy USATF

Six points separated Anna Hall and Chari Hawkins with one event to go in the heptathlon. But Hall outran Hawkins by over 10 seconds in the closing 800m, and won comfortably, 6614-6456. 

For Hawkins and third-placer Taliyah Brooks (6408), this was a near miss of the 6480 Olympic qualifying standard for both.

Quincy Hall won the men’s 400m in a blistering 44.17, with Eugene World champion Michael Norman second in 44.41. Chris Bailey equaled his PB in 44.42, with veteran Vernon Norman 4th in 44.47 and ready again for relay duty.

Prep phenom Quincy Wilson finished 6th in 44.94, the third time he has broken 45.00 in less than four days. It remains to be seen if he will be chosen for relay duty at the Olympics.

In a tribute rare for a 16-year-old, he was offered the stadium microphone. He addressed the crowd and thanked them profusely for their support on his epic Trials ride, and told them he looked forward to coming back to Hayward Field.

The denizens of Hayward can’t wait.

There’s really nothing like a 5,000m race at Hayward Field, and tonight’s women’s race was won by two one-hundredths of a second. There was, expectedly, steady attrition during the race. Parker Valby led the field in an apparent attempt to make the qualifying standard of 14:52 in addition to scoring a top three finish.

Valby ran 14:51.44 in fourth to achive the first part of her goal, but the more experienced trio of Elle St. Pierre, Elise Cranny, and Karissa Schweitzer pulled away from her and finished in that order.

Second by two-one hundredths of a second in 14:40.36, Elise Cranny said that the race played out the way she expected it to, “but I didn’t quite have that last little bit.”

Third-placer Karissa Schweitzer said, “I’m really excited about this; it just is really hard going into it (the Olympic Trials race), and I know I had the confidence of having made a team before, but this one – there’s  just so many obstacles going in and I felt like I really needed this one.”

Nia Akins of the Brooks Beasts won the 800m in a PB of 1:57.36. Juliette Whittaker picked a good day for a PR as she finished 3rd in 1:58.45.

Athing Mu suffered a terrible disappointment by falling and failing to make the team. The World and Olympic champion moved inside too quickly near the 200m mark and went down hard. She recovered enough to record a brave finish, albeit in last place.

Allie Wilson, who was second in a season’s best 1:58.32, summarized a meet in which three defending world champions have already failed to advance, like this:

“I definitely wouldn’t say that the season has gone the way I had wanted it to. And I just keep saying to myself it doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be pretty. You just have to get it right on this day.”

1 comment:

  1. Brooke is a prior world champ and was one of the favorites for Paris, but she is not the defending world champ.