USATF must fix flawed Olympic selection process that keeps Curtis Thompson off the U.S. team

20160704_gma_al2_103To really appreciate how absurd it is that Sean Furey is a U.S. Olympian in the javelin and Curtis Thompson isn’t, consider this:

–> Furey makes the Olympic team because he threw the javelin 272-5 on June 6, 2015.

–> Thompson doesn’t make the Olympic team because he threw the javelin only 271-11 on July 4, 2016.

Thompson beat Furey by more than 40 feet in the Olympic Trials javelin, but the Florence native — who broke a 16-year-old Olympic Trials record on Monday – will be watching the Olympics on TV with the rest of us next month while Furey – who admittedly has thrown terrible all year — will be in Rio.

Absolutely absurd.

How on Earth do you break the U.S. Olympic Trials MEET RECORD in the javelin and not qualify for the Olympics?

But that’s exactly what happened to Thompson.

If the goal is to put together the best possible Olympic team, the U.S. is going about this completely the wrong way.

Let’s take a look at the Olympic javelin qualifying and how exactly the U.S. got into the position where it’s sending a guy who hasn’t thrown over 250-2 this year instead of a guy who’s thrown 270 feet:

Generally, the top three finishers in each event at the Trials comprise the Olympic team. Pretty simple.

But in the javelin, things are strange. There is an Olympic qualifying standard in every event, and in most events, there are numerous Americans over the standard, so whoever finishes in the top three at the Trials is assured of a berth on the Olympic team.

But in the javelin, the Olympic standard is very tough to reach. In fact, going into this year’s Olympic Trials, the Olympic standard (272-4) was higher than the Olympic Trials meet record (270-4, set in 2000 by Beaux Greer). Which is ridiculous. It essentially renders the Olympic Trials in the javelin meaningless.

Athletes have about 13 months to meet the standard, which seems generous. But with a young, rapidly improving athlete like Thompson, the early portion of that qualifying period doesn’t match up with when he’s throwing his best.

Compare the cases of Furey and Thompson. Furey qualified on the sixth day of the 13-month window — June 6 of last year. More than 13 months ago. In the finals of the Trials, he didn’t throw within 40 feet of the standard.

But Thompson just keeps improving.

He came into his sophomore year at Mississippi State with a PR of 248-1, from last year’s SEC Championships, then proceeded to throw 265-10 at the Florida State Relays, 254-8 to win the NCAA championships and 271-11 on Monday to break the Trials record (which was later broken by Cyrus Hostetler).

That 271-11 made Thompson the No. 16 thrower in U.S. history but it fell five inches short of the Olympic qualifying standard.

In previous years, Thompson would have had the opportunity to get an Olympic qualifier after the trials. And the way he’s throwing, the way he’s improving every meet, nobody would bet against him.

But the USATF eliminated that rule this year. No more chasing marks. If you don’t have a qualifying standard by the end of your event at the Trials, you aren’t going.

Counting secondary throws in various meets, Thompson has at least 30 throws over 230 feet this year. Probably more like 50. Heck, he had five on Monday alone.

Furey has one.

But because of a long throw 13 months ago, he’s going to Rio instead of Thompson.

The situation is so absurd that even Furey – whose best throw this year is 227-10 – kind of acknowledged that Thompson should be headed to Rio instead of him.

“The rules are the rules,” Furey said. “If I make it to the Olympics, I won’t apologize. I’ll go and try to hammer a throw.

“But I also respect Curtis Thompson, who missed the standard by just 12 centimeters (five inches). If he got the (Olympic invite), he deserved it, and I’d root for him.”

Thompson handled the situation with typical class and grace.

“I thought it was enough, but it was 12 centimeters shy from the standard but that’s OK,” he said. “I came here. I wanted to do my best and that’s what I gave. I gave it my all. To PR is actually great. I love it here. The fans here are really supportive. It just gives you that adrenaline.

“It’s not frustrating. It just means you have to come out and have to throw the standard. I’m not upset about my performance. I’m actually really happy about how I performed.”

The whole idea should be to send the athletes to Rio who have the best chance to excel. The way Thompson is improving, it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s throwing 280 by late August. Compare that to Furey, who didn’t even throw 230 feet in the Trials finals.

Furey has had a terrific career. He’s a three-time national champion and a two-time Pan Am Games finalist. But Thompson is ranked 29th in the WORLD this year. Furey is ranked 129th in the world this year.

If the goal is to adhere to a bunch of archaic rules and regulations, then Furey is the guy.

If the goal is to send the best possible team to the Olympics, then Curtis Thompson should be on that flight to Rio.

 

 

Thompson not frustrated, despite missing Olympics by just 5 inches

20160704_gma_al2_103You could understand if Curtis Thompson was frustrated or upset or even angry.

Not only did he uncork one of the best javelin throws in the world this year, not only did he break the U.S. Olympic Trials record, not only did he post the sixth-best mark ever by a collegian, he placed second in the Olympic Trials, the meet that in theory determines the U.S. Olympic team.

Yet when the javelin begins at the Rio Olympics next month, Thompson won’t be there.

A couple rules conspired to work against Thompson, a Florence High School graduate who just finished his sophomore year at Mississippi State.

Thompson, competing in his first Olympic Trials on Monday, opened with a monster throw of 271-11 and led most of the way until Cyrus Hostetler broke a seven-year-old PR with a throw of 273-1 to break Thompson’s meet record and ultimately win the event.

Thompson finished second but still won’t go to Rio because he fell five inches shy of the Olympic qualifying standard of 272-4.

In metric terms, the Olympic standard is 83 meters, and Thompson threw 82.22 meters.

Hold your hand up, and the distance between your thumb and pink is about the distance that kept Thompson from becoming a U.S. Olympian.

“I thought it was enough, but it was 12 centimeters shy from the standard but that’s OK,” a gracious Thompson said. “I came here. I wanted to do my best and that’s what I gave. I gave it my all. To PR is actually great. I love it here. The fans here are really supportive. It just gives you that adrenaline.

“It’s not frustrating. It just means you have to come out and have to throw the standard. I’m not upset about my performance. I’m actually really happy about how I performed today.”

In past years, athletes who finished in the top three at the Trials but missed the standard in their event had a window – usually about two weeks – in which they could chase the standard. USATF, the governing body for track and field in the U.S., has banned that practice this year, which means that Sean Furey – who placed 11th in the Trials with a throw of 227-10, more than 40 feet worse than Thompson’s best throw – will represent the U.S. since he threw 272-6 on June 6, 2015, on the sixth day of the qualifying window.

So Furey gets in based on a  throw more than a year ago despite throwing 40 feet worse than Thompson on Monday.

Thompson’s progress has been remarkable. His high school best at Florence was 224-10 to win the Meet of Champions. Last year, he threw 248-1 at the SEC meet. So he’s improved more than 46 feet in two years and more than 20 feet in the past year.

Here’s a look at his year-by-year progression going back to freshman year at Florence:

2016 271-11 [2nd, U.S. Olympic Trials, Eugene, Ore.]
2015 248-1 [4th, SEC Championships, Starkville, Miss.]
2014 224-10 [1st, Meet of Champions, South Plainfield]
2013 203-5 [3rd, New Balance Nationals, Greensboro, N.C.]
2012 188-9 [1st, Burlington County Open, Maple Shade]
2011 175-7 [3rd, Parochial A States, Old Bridge]

Thompson followed his 271-11 with a 238-5, foul, 236-7, 253-1 and 256-1.

“Getting that throw in the beginning, I was really relaxed,” he said. “I really started to try and go get it and when I started to try too hard that’s when it didn’t go as far.

“It’s just a learning experience for me. When you throw a big one, you just have to find a way to relax and actually continue how you are throwing and not change a thing.”

Thompson is the NCAA champ, runner-up at nationals, all-time No. 17 in U.S. history and top-30 in the world.

But he’s not done yet.

He’ll throw in the NACAC Under-23 Championships in El Salvador, later this month.

The NACAC – the North America Central America Caribbean Association- championships are scheduled for July 15-17 at Estadio Nacional Jorge “El Magic” Gonzalez in San Salvador.

 

Thompson breaks U.S. Trials javelin record, settles for 2nd, falls an agonizing 5 INCHES from Olympics

VFJAIVANBAJAKMN.20160326000324Florence native Curtis Thompson bombed a meet-record 271-11 throw on his first attempt, then hung on for second place at the U.S. Olympic Trials javelin at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Despite placing second and holding the meet record for about half an hour, Thompson, the NCAA champion for Mississippi State as a sophomore this spring, will not represent the U.S. in the Olympics.

He needed to throw 272-4 by today to meet the Olympic standard and make the trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. So he wound up five inches from becoming an Olympian.

In previous years, athletes could chase marks after the Trials, but that practice has been disallowed this year, according to the USATF.

Veteran Cyrus Hostetler knocked Thompson out of the lead when he threw 273-1 on his fifth throw.

Hostetler, Sam Crouser and Sean Furey are the only Americans with the Olympic standard. So that trio will head to Rio, even though Crouser and Furey placed fourth and 11th in the Trials.

In other words, the Olympic Trials had no bearing on who made the Olympic team.

Thompson’s previous career-best 265-10 at the Florida Relays in Tallahassee in April.

Thompson broke the United States Olympic Trials new-implement record of 270-4, set in Breaux Greer. The current implement has been in use since 1988.

His mark in turn was broken half an hour later by Hostetler, who threw 273-1 on his fifth throw, breaking a seven-year-old personal-best.

Thompson’s 271-11 is No. 17 in U.S. history, No. 29 in the world this year, No. 2 among Americans this year and No. 6 on the all-time college list.

Thompson followed his 271-11 throw with a 238-5 and a foul. In the finals, he threw 236-7, 253-1 and 256-1 on his final attempt.

Here is a look at the updated all-time Trials performance list:

273- 1 … Cyrus Hostetler, 2016 [1]
271-11 … Curtis Thompson, 2016 [2]
270-  4 … Breaux Greer, 2004 [1]
268-  6 … Todd Riech, 1996 [1]
267-  8 … Tom Pukstys, 1996 [2]
261-10 … Brian Chaput, 2004 [2]
261-  4 … Dave Stephens, 1988 [1]
261-  4 … Riley Dolezal, 2016 []
260-  8 … Brian Crouser, 1988 [2]
260-  8 … Tom Petranoff, 1988 [3]
257-  7 … Mike Barnett, 1988 [4]

And here’s the updated all-time U.S. performance list:

  • 299- 6 … Breaux Greer, Indianapolis, June 21, 2007
  • 292- 6 … Tom Petranoff, Potchefstroom, Jan. 3, 1991
  • 285- 9 … Tom Pukstys, Jena, May 28, 1968
  • 276- 2 … Mike Barnett, Santa Barbara, Calif., July 11, 1991
  • 275-10 … Tim Glover, Tennessee Relays, Knoxville, April 11, 2015
  • 275- 2 … Dave Stephens, Knoxville, May 3, 1991
  • 275- 2 … Chris Hill, Eugene, Ore., June, 25, 2009
  • 275- 0 … Roald Bradstock, Tucson, Ariz., May 2, 1987
  • 274- 9 … Leigh Smith Athens, Ga., May 9, 2008
  • 273-11 … Riley Dolezal, Des Moines, Iowa, June 23, 2013
  • 273- 4 … Sam Crouser, Olympic Trials, Eugene, Ore., June 25, 2012
  • 273- 1 … Cyrus Hostetler, Pepsi Team, Eugene, Ore., July 4, 2016
  • 272- 9 … Sam Humphreys, Olympic Trials, Eugene, Ore., June 23, 2012
  • 272- 3 … Brian Crouser Corvallis, May 16, 1987
  • 272- 2 … Corey White, Texas Relays, Austin, April 4, 2009
  • 271-11 … Curtis Thompson, U.S. Trials, Eugene, July 4, 2016
  • 271- 5 … Duncan Atwood, San Jose, Calif., June 26, 1987
  • 271- 5 … Sean Furey, Lisle, Ill., June 9, 2012
  • 270- 5 … Ed Kaminski, Emporia, Kans., May 14, 1994
  • 270- 0 … Craig Kinsley, Lisle, Ill., June 9, 2012
  • 269- 8 … Mike Hazle, Doha, May 9, 2008,
  • 269- 5 … Todd Riech, Gateshead, Aug. 19, 1996
  • 265- 2 … Rob Curtis, Norwalk, Calif., June 14, 1990
  • 263-11 … Brian Chaput, Princeton, N.J., April 23, 2005
  • 263- 0 … Ty Sevin College Station, Texas, April 15, 2000
  • 263- 1 … Adam Montague, Drake Relays, Des Moines, Iowa, April 25, 2008

And here’s an all-time collegiate list, with every collegiate that’s ever thrown 265 feet. It  shows Thompson at No. 16 overall and No. 11 among American collegians. Those shown with an asterisk hit their PR outside the college season. If they had an in-season mark over 265 feet as well, it’s also listed.

292- 4 … Patrik Boden [Texas/Sweden], 1990
288- 4* … Matt Närhi [UTEP/Finland], 1999
279- 1* … Pål Arne Fagernes [Arizona State], 1996
275- 2* … Chris Hill [Georgia], 2009
273- 4* … Sam Crouser [Oregon], 2015
273- 3 … Tom Pukstys [Florida], 1990
273- 2 …… Narhi, 1999
272-10 … Cyrus Hosteler [Oregon], 2009
272- 9* … Sam Humphreys [Texas A&M], 2013
272- 2 … Corey White [USC], 2009
272- 1* … John Ampomah [Ghana/Middle Tennessee], 2015
271-11* … Curtis Thompson [Mississippi State], 2016
271- 0 … Dag Wennlund [Sweden/Texas], 1987
268- 8 …… Humphreys, 2013
268- 7 … Ioannis Kyriazis [Greece/Texas A&M], 2016
268- 7 … Esko Mikkola [Finland/Arizona], 1998
268- 4 …… Hill [Georgia], 2009
267-11 … Leigh Smith [Tennessee], 2004
268- 0 … Tim Glover [Illinois State], 2012
265-10 …… Thompson [Mississippi State], 2016

Deptford graduate Tim VanLiew,a former All-America soccer goalie and two-time NCAA Division 3 javelin champion, finished seventh at 236-8.

English Gardner runs wind-legal 10.74 and wins Olympic Trials 100!!!!!!!!

458cd238-bc5b-4c52-adbd-b3dd71eeae20Eastern High School graduate English Gardner ran 10.74 — seventh-fastest in world history — to win the 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic Track Trials and lock up her first berth on the United States Olympic track team.

Gardner’s time is a personal-best, No. 4 in U.S. history and No. 7 on the all-time IAAF world list.

It’s fastest in the Olympic Trials since Florence Griffith-Joyner ran a series of fast – but controversial – races in 1988 in Indianapolis – a world-record 10.49 in the first round, then 10.70 in the semis and 10.61 in the final.

Gardner had run a wind-aided 10.74 in the semis, but the wind was a legal 1.0 meters-per-second in the final.

Tianna Bartoletta (10.78) and Tori Bowie (10.78) will join Gardner at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Morolake Akinosun (10.95) and Jenna Prandini (10.96) made it five under 11 seconds in the final.

Running in lane 5, Gardner got out very quickly. Her reaction time was .151 of a second, fastest in the field. She broke away from Bartoletta and Bowie in the final 25 meters, then broke down on the track, sobbing at the realization of what she had done.

Gardner, a native of Voorhees and former New Jersey Meet of Champions winner at Eastern Regional High School, is the second South Jersey woman in two days to make the Olympic team. Marielle Hall of Haddonfield qualified in the 10,000 on Saturday.

In Olympic history, only three other South Jersey women have made the U.S. Olympic team – long jumper Carol Lewis of Willingboro in 1980, 1984 and 1988; Erin Donohue of Haddonfield in 2008; and long jumper Shana Williams of Bridgeton in 1996 and 2000.

The Olympics were opened to women in 1928, so from 1928 through 2012, three South Jersey women qualified and over the last two days two more did.

Gardner ran 10.90 in the trials Saturday and a wind-aided 10.74 – her fastest ever under any conditions – in the semifinals earlier Sunday.

Here are the full results of the final:

1. English Gardner [Nike] 10.74
2. Tianna Bartoletta [Nike] 10.78
3. Tori Bowie [adidas] 10.78
4. Morolake Akinosun [Texas] 10.95
5. Jenna Prandini [Puma] 10.96
6. Ariana Washington [Oregon] 11.01
7. Barbara Pierre [Nike] 11.10
8. Tiffany Townsend [adidas] 11.11

Bartoletta’s time is fastest ever for second place and Bowie’s is fastest ever for third place. The three now rank No. 2 and tied for No. 3 in meet history. The final produced three of the five-fastest performers in meet history.

Here is the updated all-time Olympic Trials performance list:

10.49 Florence Griffith-Joyner, 1988 [q]
10.61 … Griffith-Joyner, 1988 [1]
10.70 … Griffith-Joyner, 1988 [s]
10.74 English Gardner, 2016 [1]
10.78 Torri Edwards, 2008 [s]
10.78 Tianna Bartoletta, 2016 [2]
10.78 Tori Bowie, 2016 [3]
10.81 Evelyn Ashford, 1988 [2]
10.82 Gwen Torrence, 1996 [1]
10.83 Sheila Echols, 1988 [q]
10.85 … Ashford, 1988 [s]
10.85 Muna Lee, 2008 [1]
10.88 Diane Williams, 1988 [q]
10.88 Marion Jones, 2000 [1]
10.90 … Edwards, 2008 [2]
10.90 Lauryn Williams, 2008 [3]
10.91 … Torrence, 1988 [3]
10.91 Gail Devers, 1996 [2]
10.92 Alice Brown, 1988 [q]
10.92 D’Andre Hill, 1996 [3]
10.92 Carmelita Jeter, 2012 [1]
10.93 Marshevet Hooker, 2008 [4]
10.95 Morolake Akinosun, 2016 [4]
10.96 Chryste Gaines, 1996 [q]
10.96 Inger Miller, 1996 [4]
10.96 Allyson Felix, 2008 [5]
10.96 Tianna Madison, 2012 [2]
10.96 … Madison, 2012 [s]
10.96 Jenna Prandini, 2016 [5]
10.97 … Jeter, 2008 [s]
10.97 Michelle Lewis, 2008 [s]
10.97 Latasha Colander, 2004 [1]

Gardner blasts (slightly) wind-aided 10.74 to advance to Trials 100 final!!!!!

458cd238-bc5b-4c52-adbd-b3dd71eeae20Eastern Regional High School graduate English Gardner, the 15th-fastest sprinter in the history of the world, moved to within one step of making her first Olympic team Sunday when she ran a wind-aided 10.74 and won the third of three semifinals at the U.S. Olympic Track Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

It’s the fastest she’s ever run under any conditions.

The top two placers in the three races, plus the next-two fastest finishers, advanced to the final, scheduled for 8:44 p.m. Sunday. The top three will qualify to run the 100 at the Rio Olympics in Brazil in August.

To follow the results of the final in real time tonight, click here.

Gardner, who has a wind-legal PR of 10.79 and a season-best of 10.81, ranks fourth in the world this year and No. 2 among Americans, 1-100th of a second behind Tori Bowie, a former NCAA long jump champion. Bowie ran 10.74 to win the first heat Sunday.

All three semis were wind-aided. The first race was assisted with a 3.1 meters-per-second wind, the second at 4.5 and the third at 2.5. So Gardner got the least assistance but tied Bowie for the fastest time.

Although we don’t have lane assignments just yet, here are the eight finalists along with first their time in Sunday’s semifinals followed by their wind-legal PR:

10.74w / 10.79 … English Gardner
10.74w / 10.80 … Tori Bowie
10.79w / 10.85 … Tianna Bartoletta
10.86w / 10.92 … Jenna Prandini
10.97w / 11.01 … Ariana Washington
10.97w / 11.04 … Morolake Akinosun
11.01w / 10.85 … Barbara Pierre
11.03w / 11.08 … Tiffany Townsend

Here is the all-time wind-legal Olympic Trials performance list through Sunday’s first round:

10.49 Florence Griffith-Joyner, 1988 [q]
10.61 Griffith-Joyner, 1988 [1]
10.70 Griffith-Joyner, 1988 [s]
10.78 Torri Edwards, 2008 [s]
10.81 Evelyn Ashford, 1988 [2]
10.82 Gwen Torrence, 1996 [1]
10.83 Sheila Echols, 1988 [q]
10.85 Ashford, 1988 [s]
10.85 Muna Lee, 2008 [1]
10.88 Diane Williams, 1988 [q]
10.88 Marion Jones, 2000 [1]
10.90 Edwards, 2008 [2]
10.90 Lauryn Williams, 2008 [3]
10.91 Torrence, 1988 [3]
10.91 Gail Devers, 1996 [2]
10.92 Alice Brown, 1988 [q]
10.92 D’Andre Hill, 1996 [3]
10.92 Carmelita Jeter, 2012 [1]
10.93 Marshevet Hooker, 2008 [4]
10.96 Chryste Gaines, 1996 [q]
10.96 Inger Miller, 1996 [4]
10.96 Allyson Felix, 2008 [5]
10.96 Tianna Madison, 2012 [2]
10.96 Madison, 2012 [s]
10.97 Jeter, 2008 [s]
10.97 Michelle Lewis, 2008 [s]
10.97 Latasha Colander, 2004 [1]

The first two rounds of the women’s Olympic 100 in Rio are scheduled for Aug. 12, with the semis and finals following on Aug. 13.

Haddonfield Olympian Marielle Hall planning to double back in 5,000!

CmYb1zoUIAAuoglShe’s already made the U.S. Olympic team in one event, and now Marielle Hall has her sites set on another berth.

Hall on Saturday became the fourth South Jersey woman in history to make the U.S. Olympic track team when she placed third in the 10,000-meter run in 31:54.77.

The former Haddonfield star qualified in both the 5,000 and 10,000, with 31:37.45 in the 10,000 and a 15:06.45 in the 5,000.

There was only a final in the 10,000, but the 5,000 has two rounds. The 5,000 semis are slated for 4:20 p.m. Thursday, with the final following at 4:28 p.m. on the final day of the Trials, Sunday, July 10.

Hall is the No. 6 seed in the 5,000 but after Molly Huddle, who ran 14:48.14 during the qualifying window, the next five entries are within 5 1/2 seconds, with Emily Infield, Abbey D’Agostino, Nicole Tully, Shelby Houlihan and Hall all between 15:00.91 and 15:06.45.

Huddle and Infield, like Hall, made the team in the 5,000, so they could go either way in the 5,000.

But Hall said she’s planning on racing Thursday.

“I think I’m still competing in the 5k, so I’m still just taking it one day at a time,” said Hall, an All-America at Texas. “I’ve still got to talk to my coach and see where he’s at, but I came into the Trials planning on competing in both events.”

Hall made the Olympic team with a minimum of effort in the 10,000. She ran very smart tactically, settling into the pack for 6,000 meters before moving into the lead group with 4,000 meters left.

She never had to run a lap faster than 74, but she ran her last 12 laps between 74 and 76.

Her 800s after a 76.2 opening lap looked like this:

2:35.7
2:32.5
2:34.3
2:39.0
2:35.0
2:35.2
2:31.7
2:32.4
2:31.7
2:30.3
2:29.1
2:32.4

So her last six 800s were all between 2:29.1 and 2:32.4. And she was in such a comfortable spot late in the race — nearly 100 meters ahead of fourth-place Kelly Taylor — that she didn’t even have to kick. Her last lap was almost exactly as fast as her second lap.

This is brilliant tactical running. Especially with two 5,000s looming in a week.

It helped that she already had the Olympic standard of 32:15, so all she had to do was get into the top three and she was on her way to Rio.

“Going into it, my coach told me two things,” Hall said. “To be patient and to be invisible for the first half.

“It’s a really long race, so for me I had to get used to the waves. Sometimes there are surges and sometimes people are falling back, lots of contact, so being a part of the pack you can definitely feel the tension, but all of that is expected in this race.”

Gardner gets out to blazing start in Olympic Trials 100-meter dash trials!!!

e4fb166e-0346-42cd-ae3f-cc9bae533737-1English Gardner was just running to advance. She wound up running really fast.

Gardner, a native of Voorhees and graduate of Eastern Regional High School, opened her bid to make her first U.S. Olympic team in style Saturday with the fastest 100-meter dash time in the qualifying rounds in 28 years.

Gardner won the first of five heats in 10.90, the fastest wind-legal time in the first round at the Trials since 1988, when three women ran faster – Florence Griffith-Joyner and her dubious and asterisked 10.49, Sheila Echols and her clean 10.83 and admitted steroid user Diane Williams, who ran 10.88.

Running just to qualify, Gardner ran within 11-100ths of a second of her PR of 10.79, which is No. 15 in world history and No. 7 among athletes with no history of or direct connection to positive drug tests.

“You get out there and have a set plan and then you execute that plan, then turn to look at the clock and I said, ‘Oh, I might need to slow down,'” Gardner said. “Things have been going for well for me in training, spiritually, mentally, physically. I’m so fit right now.”

Gardner technically wasn’t the fastest qualifier for Sunday’s semis. Jenna Prandini ran 10.81, but that was with an assisting wind of 3.6 meters per second.  Her wind-legal PR is 10.90.

The semifinals are scheduled for 4:02 p.m. Sunday, with the finals following at 5:44 p.m. at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Gardner’s 10.90 came with a legal wind of 1.8 meters per second. Next-fastest qualifier was Tori Bowie, who ran 10.91 in the fifth heat. Bowie and Gardner rank No. 3 and 4 in the world this year – and 1 and 2 among Americans – at 10.80 for Bowie and 10.81 for Gardner. The 10.80 equalled her two-year-old PR from Monaco in 2014. Gardner ran her PR of 10.79 in Eugene in 2014.

“When we get to the final,” Gardner said, “hopefully Tori and I can can give you the best show of your life.”

Gardner will be in lane 3 in the third of three semifinal races. The top two finishers in each of three races, plus the next-two fastest times, will advance to the eight-woman final.

Everybody who has ever run 10.92 or faster in a final has made the Olympic team. Gardner placed seventh in the 100 final in the 2012 Trials after her sophomore year at Oregon.

Start lists for the semis and all of Sunday’s events are here.

I put together a list of all the sub-11 wind-legal times in U.S. Olympic Trials history. Gardner is already the No. 9 performer on a list that unfortunately has to include several drug cheats, since these marks came outside the period they are known to have tested positive.

Interesting to note that five of the 10-fastest wind-legal qualifying times in meet history came this year, with four others in 1988 and one in 1996.

10.49 Florence Griffith-Joyner, 1988 [q]
10.61 … Griffith-Joyner, 1988 [1]
10.70 … Griffith-Joyner, 1988 [s]
10.78 Torri Edwards, 2008 [s]
10.81 Evelyn Ashford, 1988 [2]
10.82 Gwen Torrence, 1996 [1]
10.83 Sheila Echols, 1988 [q]
10.85 … Ashford, 1988 [s]
10.85 Muna Lee, 2008 [1]
10.88 Diane Williams, 1988 [q]
10.88 Marion Jones, 2000 [1]
10.90 … Edwards, 2008 [2]
10.90 Lauryn Williams, 2008 [3]
10.90 English Gardner, 2016 [q]
10.91 … Torrence, 1988 [3]
10.91 Gail Devers, 1996 [2]
10.91 Torie Bowe, 2016 [q]
10.92 Alice Brown, 1988 [q]
10.92 D’Andre Hill, 1996 [3]
10.92 Carmelita Jeter, 2012 [1]
10.93 Marshevet Hooker, 2008 [4]
10.96 Chryste Gaines, 1996 [q]
10.96 Inger Miller, 1996 [4]
10.96 Allyson Felix, 2008 [5]
10.96 Tianna Madison, 2012 [2]
10.96 … Madison, 2012 [s]
10.97 … Jeter, 2008 [s]
10.97 Michelle Lewis, 2008 [s]
10.97 Latasha Colander, 2004 [1]
10.99 Morolake Akinosun, 2016 [q]
10.99 Joanna Atkins, 2016 [q]
10.99 Alex Atkinson, 2016 [q]

Thompson, VanLiew advance in Olympic Trials javelin, Mirabelli just misses

VFJAIVANBAJAKMN.20160326000324A trio of South Jersey javelin throwers descended on the U.S. Olympic Trials, and two of the three — Curtis Thompson of Florence and Tim VanLiew of Deptford — advanced to the 12-man final scheduled for Monday.

Chris Mirabelli of Holy Cross came close and finished 14th overall, giving South Jersey three of the top 14 American javelin throwers.

Vince Labosky would be proud!

Labosky, a Holy Cross graduate, was the 1990 U.S. javelin champion.

Thompson, the NCAA champion for Mississippi State, threw 249-10, 244-10 and 247-3 in Saturday’s first round  and was the only entrant with three throws over 240 feet.

VanLiew, the two-time NCAA Division 3 champ and D-3 record holder for Rutgers-Camden, threw 221-5, 231-10 and 237-6, with the 237-6 winding up eighth-best among qualifiers.

Riley Dolezal led all qualifiers at 251-7, and Sean Furey was also over 250 feet at 250-2.

Mirabelli, the Big 10 champion, threw 224-4 on his first attempt but fouled on his next two throws. The cutoff was 227-2, so he was less than three feet from joining Thompson and VanLiew in the finals.

Thompson and Mirabelli have been rivals since sophomore year of high school, and they threw consecutively with the first flight on Saturday. VanLiew was more of a soccer player in high school and college. He was an All-America goalie for Rutgers-Camden before resurrecting his javelin career.

Mirabelli’s PR is 240-3, Thompson’s is 265-10 and VanLiew’s is 247-10.

The javelin championship is scheduled for 4:25 p.m. Monday back at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene.

Here’s a look at the top performers – not performances – in U.S. Olympic Trials history, since the inception of the new implement in 1988:

270-  3 … Breaux Greer, 2004 [1]
268-  7 … Sam Humphreys, 2012 [1]
268-  6 … Todd Riech, 1996 [1]
267-  8 … Tom Pukstys, 1996 [2]
265-  1 … Sam Crouser, 2012 [2]
263-  4 … Tim Glover, 2012 [q]
262-  2 … Craig Kinsley, 2012 [3]
261-10 … Brian Chaput, 2004 [2]
261-  4 … Dave Stephens, 1988 [1]
260-  8 … Brian Crouser, 1988 [2]
260-  8 … Tom Petranoff, 1988 [3]
255-10 … Barry Krammes, 2012 [q]
255-  7 … Mike Barnett, 1988 [4]
255-  5 … Sean Furey, 2012 [4]
254-  8 … Cyrus Hostetler, 2012 [5]
253-  4 … Roald Bradstock, 1996 [5]
253-  0 … Sean Keller, 2012 [q]
251-  7 … Riley Dolezal, 2016 [q]
251-  6 … Ed Kaminski, 1996 [q]

Since Thompson has the best throw in meet history below 250 feet, he is currently sitting in the No. 20 spot on the all-time U.S. Olympic Trials javelin performers list.

Thompson is ranked 45th on the IAAF World List and is No. 2 American this year behind Cyrus Hosteler, who threw 275-0 in a meet in Tucson in May but only threw 243-8 on Saturday.

Here are the season bests and career bests of the 12 finalists

Cyrus Hostetler          275-0 / 275-0
Curtis Thompson       265-10 / 265-10
Riley Dolezal               263-10 / 273-11
Timothy VanLiew      261-3 / 261-3
Sam Humphreys        258-5 / 272-9
Christopher Carper   254-3 / 256-2
Sean Furey                  250-2 / 272-6
Robert Robbins          247- 9 / 248-11
Sam Crouser               244-0 / 273-4
Carson Fuller              240-11 / 240-11
Damien Odle               240-8 / 240-8
Capers Williamson    239-4 / 239-4

Important to remember that no matter what happens in the final, the U.S. athletes must meet the Olympic standard of 272-4 by July 11 to make it to Rio.

If an athlete finishes in the top three and isn’t able to nail the Olympic standard by July 11 — which is very soon — he would be replaced by the next highest-placing athlete who does have the standard.

Since Hosteler, Crouser and Furey all met the standard during the current qualifying period — which opened June 1 of last year – if no new athletes reach the standard on Monday, Hosteler, Crouser and Furey will comprise the U.S. contingent headed to the Olympics, no matter how they throw in the championship round.

If an athlete (or athletes) who hasn’t yet met the standard does throw 272-4 or better, then the top three finishers Monday with the standard go to Rio.

Marielle Hall is an Olympian!!! Haddonfield native takes 3rd in 10,000 at U.S. Trials!!!

CmYb1zoUIAAuoglHaddonfield High School graduate Marielle Hall made her first Olympic team Saturday, running 31:54.77 and placing third in the Olympic Trials 10,000 Saturday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Hall, a former All-America at Texas, is the first South Jersey woman ever to make the U.S. Olympic team in a race longer than 800 meters and only the fourth South Jersey woman ever to make the U.S. Olympic track team.

She qualified for the Olympic Games scheduled for Aug. 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The women’s 10,000 is scheduled for Aug. 12.

Molly Huddle and Emily Infield took the top two spots, running 31:41.62 and 31:46.09. Hall was comfortably ahead of fourth place, finishing about 90 meters ahead of Kellyn Taylor, who ran 32:11.29.

Hall is the second Haddonfield runner to make the U.S. Olympic team in the last three Olympics. Erin Donohue made the team in the 1,500-meter run in 2008. Donohue just missed advancing to the semifinals in the 800 on Friday.

Hall’s time is ninth-fastest in U.S. Olympic Trials history.

On the IAAF 2016 world list, Hall ranks 22nd at 31:37.45 from Palo Alto in May. Of the 21 runners ahead of her, 14 are Ethiopian. That’s her PR.

She’s qualified for the 5,000 as well. We’ll see if she toes the line Thursday for the 5,000.

Here’s what the all-time Olympic Trials performance list looks like:

31:09.65 … Deena Kastor, 2004 [1]
31:34.81 … Shalene Flanagan, 2008 [1]
31:37.72 … Kara Goucher, 2008 [2]
31:41.62 … Molly Huddle, 2016 [1]
31:43.60 … Amy Begley, 2008 [3]
31:46.09 … Emily Infield, 2016 [2]
31:51.05 … Deena Kastor, 2000 [1]
31:51.27 … Lynn Nelson, 1988 [1]
31:54.77 … Marielle Hall, 2016 [3]
31:58.14 … Elva Dryer, 2004 [2]
31:58.34 … Jen Rhines, 2000 [2]
31:58.36 … Amy Hastings, 2012 [1]
31:58.68 … Libbie Hickman, 2000 [3]
31:59.21 … Natosha Rogers, 2012 [2]
31:59.69 … Shalene Flanagan, 2012 [3]

Hall is only the fourth South Jersey woman to make a U.S. Olympic track team. Carol Lewis of Willingboro made the team in the long jump in 1980, 1984 and 1988, Donohue ran the 1,500 in 2008 and Shana Williams of Bridgeton made the team in the long jump in 1996 and 2000.

The official Olympic Trials web site lists splits for all runners, but Hall’s are all screwed up. Here’s what they show, although it’s pretty clear she didn’t run three straight 75.12s. And her sixth and seventh splits are over 2 1/2 minutes each, so we know they’re not right. But this is what we have, and we’ll fix it when we can. Presumably her last mile is correct:

400 …. 76.16
800 …. 78.35
1200 … 77.28
1600 … 76.39
2000 … 76.08
2400 … ???
2800 … ???
3200 … 78.16
3600 … 76.79
4000 … 77.79
4400 … 77.33
4800 … 76.14
5200 … 75.49
5600 … 76.25
6000 … 76.12
6400 … 75.55
6800 … 76.11
7200 … 75.12
7600 … 75.12
8000 … 75.12
8400 … 75.11
8800 … 74.90
9200 … 74.14
9600 … 76.15
10000 .. 76.22

 

English Gardner’s quest to make first Olympic team begins now in Eugene

e4fb166e-0346-42cd-ae3f-cc9bae533737-1She’ll line up next to another South Jersey native and a few feet away from another of New Jersey’s greatest sprinters of all time.

It’s the start of English Gardner’s quest to become an Olympian.

Gardner, a graduate of Eastern High School, will be in lane six for the first of five heats of the 100-meter dash at the 2016 Olympic Track and Field Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, on Saturday afternoon. The first round goes off at 6:33 p.m. EST, with the semis and finals tomorrow.

Here are the heat sheets for all of Saturday’s events: http://www.usatf.org/usatf/files/6e/6e8e01bc-9098-4b29-93e5-e543d69b9a14.pdf

To follow along live, click here: http://trialsresults.usatf.org

Gardner, ranked fourth in the world, reached the 100-meter dash final four years ago while competing for the University of Oregon and placed seventh in 11.28 after an 11.27 in the trials and an 11.10 in the semifinals.

But she is a consistent sub-11 sprinter these days and ran within 2-100ths of her PR of 10.79 earlier this spring.

The only runner in the field seeded higher than Gardner is Tori Bowie, who has run 1-100th of a second faster this year at 10.80.

Gardner is No. 15 in world history with her 10.79 in 2015 on the same Hayward Field track she’ll race on this week. Of the 14  who have run faster than Gardner, seven have had at least one positive test for a banned substance.

There will be five 100-meter dash races in the trials, with 21 women advancing to the semifinals – the top three in each heat and the next six-fastest.

Gardner’s heat, the first of five, also features Miki Barber of Montclair, who like Gardner is a former New Jersey Meet of Champions winner, and Williamstown native Gabrielle Farquharson, who qualified for the Trials in three events. Barber will be in lane 4, with Farquharson next to Gardner in lane 6.

Here is a list of every wind-legal sub-11 performance in U.S. Olympic Trials history:

10.49 Florence Griffith-Joyner, 1988 [q]
10.61 Griffith-Joyner, 1988 [1]
10.70 Griffith-Joyner, 1988 [s]
10.78 Torri Edwards, 2008 [s]
10.81 Evelyn Ashford, 1988 [2]
10.82 Gwen Torrence, 1996 [1]
10.83 Sheila Echols, 1988 [q]
10.85 Ashford, 1988 [s]
10.85 Muna Lee, 2008 [1]
10.88 Diane Williams, 1988 [q]
10.88 Marion Jones, 2000 [1]
10.90 Edwards, 2008 [2]
10.90 Lauryn Williams, 2008 [3]
10.91 Torrence, 1988 [3]
10.91 Gail Devers, 1996 [2]
10.92 Alice Brown, 1988 [q]
10.92 D’Andre Hill, 1996 [3]
10.92 Carmelita Jeter, 2012 [1]
10.93 Marshevet Hooker, 2008 [4]
10.96 Chryste Gaines, 1996 [q]
10.96 Inger Miller, 1996 [4]
10.96 Allyson Felix, 2008 [5]
10.96 Tianna Madison, 2012 [2]
10.96 Madison, 2012 [s]
10.97 Jeter, 2008 [s]
10.97 Michelle Lewis, 2008 [s]
10.97 Latasha Colander, 2004 [1]

As you can see, 14 of the 25-fastest times in Trials history came from the 1988 meet in Indianapolis and the 1996 meet in Atlanta, both during the height of suspected drug use.

Athletes who were subject to IAAF suspensions are listed here if their marks did not occur during the period of their suspension, as per IAAF policy.

Here is a list of all the U.S. Olympic Trials 100-meter dash winners:

2012 Carmelita Jeter, 10.92
2008 Muna Lee, 10.85
2004 LaTasha Colander, 10.97
2000 Marion Jones, 10.88
1996 Gwen Torrence, 10.82
1992 Gwen Torrence, 10.97
1988 Florence Griffith-Joyner, 10.61
1984 Evelyn Ashford, 11.18
1980 Alice Brown, 11.32
1976 Brenda Morehead, 11.08
1972 Barbara Ferrell, 11.3
1968 Wyomia Tyus, 11.3
1964 Edith McGuire, 11.3w
1960 Wilma Rudolph, 11.5
1956 Isabelle Daniels, 12.0
1952 Mae Faggs, 12.1
1948 Mabel Walker, 12.3
1936 Helen Stephens, 11.7
1932 Ethel Harrington, 12.3
1928 Elta Cartwright, 12.4