June 29, 2008
EUGENE, Ore. - The legends of former Huskies Brad Walker and Aretha Thurmond grew a little larger today, as both secured spots on the U.S. Olympic Team and will head to Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games. It will be the first Olympic experience for Walker, and the third for Thurmond.
Thurmond won the women's discus throw competition by a wide margin, throwing 213-feet, 11-inches on her second attempt. That was over seven feet farther than second-place Suzy Powell-Roos, giving Thurmond her fourth U.S. Championship.
After giving birth to her first child in June of 2007, Thurmond left her job as director of the Big `W' Club at Washington to train full time once again. The work has clearly paid off, and Thurmond is an Olympian once again, as she was in 1996, and 2004.
"It's been an exciting comeback and I am just enjoying motherhood," said Thurmond. "I think today was just momma-power out there. The biggest thing for me was getting the rhythm and timing back in the event. I feel that there is a lot more to come."
Walker and the rest of the field in the pole vault battled with unpredictable winds all day, resulting in lower heights for the top three. Walker passed all the way up to 18-6 ½, which he cleared on his first attempt. However, it would be his only clearance on the day, as he ran through the pit on his final two tries at 19-0 ½. Only one person, Derek Miles, cleared 19-feet, and Walker's mark held up for third place.
"That fiberglass catches wind pretty bad and it turns your body sideways and it puts you in a position where you can't leave the ground sometimes so I actually ran through a couple of those because I couldn't line it up," said Walker about his last attempts. "I didn't have enough time to square back up."
"In this meet, first, second and third is all first," Walker said. "The job is done, and I get to move forward."
Elsewhere, junior All-American Jordan Boase from Bothell moved on through the quarterfinal round in the 400-meter dash. Running in the outside lane in the final heat, Boase finished third in 46.31 seconds, advancing along with 15 other competitors to Monday's semifinals.
Along with Boase on Monday, Washington assistant coach Kelly Strong will take part in the women's 3000m steeplechase semifinals.
2008 USA Olympic Team Trials - Track and Field
Eugene, Ore. - Hayward Field
June 27-July 6
Friday, June 27
Brad Walker - Men's Pole Vault Qualifying - 18-4 1/2 (top qualifier, advances to final)
Norris Frederick - Men's Long Jump Qualifying - 25-2 (14th overall, did not qualify)
Aretha Thurmond - Women's Discus Qualifying - 201-1 (3rd overall, advances to final)
Cecilia Barnes - Women's Discus Qualifying - 176-8 (9th overall, advances to final)
Ryan Brown - Men's 800m Run Quarterfinal - 1:49.20 (2nd in heat, advances to semis)
Saturday, June 28
Men's 800m Run Semifinal - Ryan Brown (1:47.95, 14th overall, does not advance)
Sunday, June 29
Men's Pole Vault Final - Brad Walker; 18-6 ½, 3rd, earns Olympics bid
Women's Discus Final - Aretha Thurmond; 213-11, 1st, earns Olympics bid
Women's Discus Final - Cecilia Barnes; 186-6, 5th
Jordan Boase - Men's 400m Dash Quarterfinal - 46.31 (3rd in heat, advances to semis)
Monday, June 30
Men's 400m Dash Semifinal, 7:25 p.m.
Kelly Strong - Women's 3000m Steeplechase Semifinal, 7:40 p.m.
Tuesday, July 1 - Wednesday, July 2
Thursday, July 3
Kate Conwell - Women's Pole Vault Qualifying, 7:10 p.m.
Christine Babcock - Women's 1500m Run Quarterfinal, 7:30 p.m.
Katie Follett - Women's 1500m Run Quarterfinal, 7:30 p.m.
Amanda Miller - Women's 1500m Run Quarterfinal, 7:30 p.m.
Michelle Turner - Women's 1500m Run Quarterfinal, 7:30 p.m.
Men's 400m Dash Final, 8:15 p.m.
Will Conwell - Men's Discus Throw Qualifying, 8:30 p.m.
Women's 3000m Steeplechase Final, 9:45 p.m.
Friday, July 4
Justin St. Clair - Men's Javelin Throw Qualifying, 5:30 p.m.
Women's 1500m Run Semifinal, 8:25 p.m.
Saturday, July 5
Ashley Lodree - Women's 100m Hurdles Qualifying, 11 a.m.; Quarterfinal, 1:15 p.m.
Sunday, July 6
Men's Discus Throw Final, 2:20 p.m.
Women's 100m Hurdles Semifinal, 3:35 p.m.; Final, 5:40 p.m.
Women's Pole Vault Final, 3:40 p.m.
Women's 1500m Run Final, 4:05 p.m.
Men's Javelin Throw Final, 4:15 p.m.