Even randomer thoughts on Days 3 through 6, which means that you count the walks as Day 0 and the hammer throw as Day 4.67.
All in a Day’s Work
For the javelin qualifying, Kara Winger and Brittany Borman did the equivalent of showing up for work, punching in on the time clock, checking their emails, then punching out and heading home. On her first – and only – throw, Kara bombed a 61.42 (201-6); though not an automatic qualifier, she was pretty sure of advancing so she shut down for the day. Brittany followed suit shortly thereafter; her opening 58.06 (190-6) was clearly going to be good enough to advance and she passed on her other two attempts.
Sandi Morris didn’t have to do much more. Two vaults for her and she was on to the finals. Of course, given that this was her first competition since injuring her wrist, an uneventful qualifying round was not, well, a given.
Nice work if you can get it. Others, as we shall see, did not have such easy days.
Science Experiment I
Is it easier to come back four months after delivering a baby or two hours after running a 5k? We only have two observations for the study but it appears that coming back after a 5k is easier. Sarah Brown’s well-chronicled journey from motherhood to the Olympic Trials is an amazing story but it did not have a Cinderella ending. Her 4:24.97 was about a second short of fast enough to advance to the semis.
Less obvious to many may have been Gabe Grunewald’s story. She ran in the 5k heats at 4:40 pm; her 15:58.72 did not advance her to the final. Okay, maybe that was just a warm up. Sure enough, barely two hours later she was toeing the line in the 1500 heats. Running easily with the pack for most of the race, she responded with a creditable kick in the final straight to take 6th and get an automatic spot in the semis; her 4:18.07 would have been fast enough to advance her on time anyway. I guess some of us just take longer to get untracked than others.
Science Experiment II
Can you fall in the 1500 heats and still advance to the semis? Again, limited data points but the two we have say yes. With about 350 meters to go in heat one, both Alexa Efraimson and Rachel Schneider found themselves prone on the track. Both got up quickly and finished 7th and 8th respectively. Though their times were not good enough for an automatic qualifier, each advanced on time.
Molly Ludlow has some history with finishing fourth in world championship/Olympic qualifying. Unfortunately, she added another chapter on Monday when her dramatic home straightaway challenge came up just .04 short of third place. Of course, we’ll never know what Molly’s fate would have been absent the nasty collision that took Brenda Martinez and Alysia Montano out of the race. We do know that Molly lost momentum and was forced wide on the final turn.
The dreaded fourth place finish fell on other ABers. Amanda Bingson never found her rhythm in the hammer and was fourth there. Pretty much the same for Tia Brooks, though for a while she was in the top three. As expected the 100H final was extremely competitive; Queen Harrison got herself into the mix near the end but came up .02 short of making the team. Honorable mention has to go to Stephanie Garcia. She ran a game race, taking the lead for a while, but was headed for fourth place until her trail leg clipped the final barrier; she got up and finished but lost a place in the process.
It Ain’t Braggin’ If It’s True
Recall that we noted in our post Track Shorts 2016: Lap 6, The Olympic Trials that AB could put six women in 1500 final. We almost made it, as five have qualified for Sunday’s final – Brenda Martinez, Sara Vaughn, Amanda Eccleston, Gabe Grunewald, and Lauren Johnson.
I Go To Rio
Hammer throwers Amber Campbell and Gwen Berry clearly enjoyed the spotlight on Hammer Day at Hayward Field, going 1-2. This was the first time ever the hammer was inside the stadium. I get why you can’t do that too often – might have been a casualty or two had the triple jump been going on at the same time – but it has to be great for the athletes to compete in front of 4,000 fans instead of 400.
On Thursday, Andrea Geubelle earned her place on the team with a clutch 5th round jump that moved her from 4th to 3rd. Donn Cabral had to negotiate the final water barrier, then the prone body of Stanley Kebenei (who had stumbled coming out of the water), on his way to third in the steeplechase.