A solid start for Jessica Woodard Thursday afternoon at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Woodard, a 2013 Cherokee High School graduate, easily advanced to the second round of the shot put at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
She took one throw and hit 60-3 1/4, almost exactly two feet below her lifetime best of 62-3 1/2, which she threw in Tucson last month and makes her No. 17 in U.S. history.
Her throw was 6th-best of the first round, although place does not matter at this point.
All that matters is that Woodard was one of the top 12 throwers in the first round who advance to the finals, scheduled for 11 p.m. EST on Thursday evening.
Because the first round and second round are considered separate meets and throws don’t carry over, there was no need for Woodard to take anymore throws after hitting 60-3 1/4 because it was impossible for that throw to not be in the top 12 after each of the 22 entrants had gotten three attempts.
The cutoff for advancing wound up at 56-11 1/2.
On Thursday evening, the 12 throwers who advanced will get three more attempts and the top eight in that group will then get three more. The top seven qualifiers Thursday – including Woodard – have the Olympic standard of 58-0 3/4.
Woodard threw 58-2 1/4 in the prelims in the 2016 Trials, while she was a sophomore at Oklahoma, and made the finals in Eugene but did not get a legal throw in the final.
She placed 8th at USATF Nationals in 2017, 9th in 2018 and 6th in 2019. The meet was not held last year.