Jessica Woodard returned to competition in style Saturday with a 60-foot shot put bomb in her first track meet in 15 months.
Woodard, a graduate of Cherokee, won a meet Saturday at the Chula Vista (Calif.) Elite Athlete Training Center, her first competition since an indoor met in Iowa City in January of 2020 and her first outdoor meet since a meet in Norman, Okla., in April of 2019.
That’s an Olympic qualifier for Woodard, which means if she finishes in the top three in the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene in June, she’ll represent the United States in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics (if they’re held). The qualifying standard is 58-0 1/4.
The throw was her best since a 60-4 at the Göteborg Grand Prix in Sweden in August of 2019 and 4th-best of her career. She threw just over a foot shy of her lifetime best of 61-3 1/2, which she set when she placed second at the 2018 NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore.
Woodard ranks No. 24 in U.S. history with her 61-3 1/2 in Eugene in 2018.