Jessica Woodard placed 3rd at USATF Nationals Saturday and popped her second indoor PR of the month.
Woodard, a Cherokee graduate, threw the shot put 61-4 ¼, placing third behind 2019 World Outdoor Championships finalists Maggie Ewen [world No. 1 64-11 ¼] and Chase Ealey [62-8] at the Podium in Spokane, Wash.
It was Woodard’s best finish ever at a national championship meet and she finished only 15 ½ inches from 2ndplace and a spot on the U.S. team that will compete in the World Championships March 18-20 in Belgrade, Serbia.
Woodard had an indoor PR of 59-0 ¼ coming into this indoor season, but she’s now PR’d in all three meets she’s competed in with a 59-6 last month in Phoenix, then 60-7 ½ two weeks ago in Albuquerque and now 61-4 ¼ in Spokane.
Woodard fouled on her first attempt and then got off a 59-10 ¼ throw to get her into the mix. After another foul, she popped her 61-4 ¼. She followed with a 59-2 ¾ before surpassing 60 feet again with a 60-10 – her 2nd-best throw ever.
Her four legal throws averaged 60-3 ¾, which is better than her PR earlier this month.
Woodard has now made the finals in seven straight national championships meets.
She was 8th at the 2017 outdoor championships, 9th at the 2018 outdoor championships, 7th at the 2019 indoor championships and 6th outdoors, 6th at the 2020 indoor championships, 7th in the shot at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials She also placed 13th at 2017 Outdoor Nationals I the discus.
Last time she didn’t reach a final was at the 2016 Olympic Trials, when she was 21 years old and a sophomore at Oklahoma.