June 28, 2012
EUGENE, Ore. -- It was one of the busiest days of the U.S. Olympic Trials for Stanford with several Cardinal athletes competing in both trials and finals. Jillian Camarena-Williams led Stanford as she qualified through to the final of the shot put with the top mark of the day.
Camarena-Williams needed only one throw to take the lead and hold onto it as she tossed 63-4 in the first round. The toss was just one inch short of the meet record, which Camarena-Williams will likely topple in the final. The 2004 graduate remains an overwhelming favorite to represent the U.S. in London.
Competing in finals on Thursday was a pair of Cardinal athletes in both the men's and women's 5,000 meters. In the men's race, Elliott Heath hung with an elite field until the final lap before fading a bit, but still finished seventh in 13:28.20. Heath who just began his post-collegiate career was just six seconds off the lead, which was a meet record time of 13:22.67 of Galen Rupp.
Ian Dobson also competed in the event, but finished 14th in 13:51.77. Dobson was an Olympian at the same distance in 2008.
In the women's race, Kathy Kroeger hung on as long as she could, but eventually faded to 15th place with a time of 15:40.55. Kroeger is just finishing her junior year and was the youngest competitor in the women's final.
Lauren Fleshman also competed in the race, finishing 16th in 15:54.14. Fleshman, a former NCAA champion for Stanford, has battled injury all season and was a surprise just to make the final. She admitted on a recent interview that she has only been running 10 miles a week, but wanted to at least give it a shot in the trials.
The other athletes competing were Garrett Heath
and Russell Brown
in the first round of the 1,500 meters. Both breezed through to the semifinals with Heath running 3:41.02 and Brown 3:41.13. The former Stanford teammates will run the semis on Friday.
Along with the semis of the 1,500 meters, Friday will mark the final of the shot put where Camarena-Williams looks to clinch her spot in London. Also running for a spot on the Olympic Team will be Sara Hall in the final of the 3,000-meter steeplechase.