Local athletes prepping for Olympic Trials
One of the country’s best javelin throwers, Brian Chaput placed in the top three in the event at the last two U.S. Olympic Track Trials – which is usually enough to qualify for the Olympics.
But because Chaput, a 2004 Penn graduate, didn’t meet the Olympic ‘A’ standard in either 2004 or 2008, he has yet to represent his country in the world’s grandest stage.
This weekend, he’ll finally look to change that as he competes for a spot on the U.S. Olympic track team at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.
Chaput, the 2003 NCAA champion in the javelin, joins a handful of students and alums from Philadelphia colleges participating in the 2012 United States Olympic Track Trials, which begins Friday and runs until July 1 at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field.
For Chaput, javelin qualifying begins Saturday at 3:30 p.m. (ET). Fellow Quaker Maalik Reynolds, a rising junior at Penn and a two-time All-American, will look to qualify in the high jump later that day (7:20 ET).
One of just 24 competitors in the event, Reynolds will look to place in the top 12 to earn a spot in the finals of the U.S. Olympic Trials on Monday (8:50 ET). To represent the United States in London, he’ll need to finish in the top three overall and reach 2.31 meters (7 feet, 7 inches). The highest Reynolds has ever jumped is 2.28 meters, which is the school record at Penn.
Villanova’s track tradition will also be on display at the U.S. Olympic Trials with ex-Wildcat star Bobby Curtis running in the 10,000 meters on Friday night (9:45 ET, NBC Sports Network) in Eugene, Oregon.
A 2008 ’Nova grad and a former national champion in the 5,000 meters, Curtis would appear to have a good shot to finish in the top three of Friday’s race and book his ticket to London.
Last year, Curtis ran the second-fastest 10K by an American (27:24.67) and his personal best ranks third in the Oregon field.
If Curtis does make it to London, he might bump into some friends from Villanova. Adrian Blincoe, a 2003 ’Nova grad and a current assistant coach, will run the 5,000 meters for New Zealand in London. And Marina Muncan, who competed for the Wildcats from 2002 to 2005, is likely to be added to the Serbian Olympic team.
Sheila Reid, who just graduated from Villanova after an exceptional track career, will compete at the Canadian Olympic Trials from June 27-30, where she’ll attempt to qualify in the 1500 meters.
Not to be left out, Temple will have some athletes in action this week, with All-American Travis Mahoney competing in the steeplechase (June 25) and assistant coach Shameka Marshall trying to qualify in the long jump (June 29).
In his final college race earlier this month, Mahoney was named Temple’s first-ever First Team All-American with a fifth-place finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
A 28-year-old Rutgers alum, Marshall tried to make the Olympics in 2004 and 2008. This will likely be her final attempt.Email Dave Zeitlin at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @DaveZeitlin.