On Thursday the U.S. Olympic Trials started up again with much fanfare. During the evening three prep athletes competed against the nation's best, all holding their own. In the women's 1500m, Christine Babcock (CA) placed seventh overall in heat one after leading the opening portion of the race, finishing in 4:18.32, while Jordan Hasay (CA) finished seventh in heat two, leading the first 1100m to finish in 4:18.39. Both Babcock and Hasay advanced to tomorrow's semi-finals, although Hasay can't compete due to traveling to World Juniors to compete in the 1500m in Poland. Ohio high jumper Erik Kynard cleared the opening height of 2.15m, but couldn't manage to clear 2.20 in the men's high jump.
U.S. Olympic Trials Coverage - Thursday
Women's 1500m Prelims
Despite having to lead parts of their races, both Jordan Hasay (Mission Prep, CA) and Christine Babcock (Woodbridge, CA) (pictured left by Tim Fulton) advanced to Friday's semi-finals in the women's 1500m. While Babcock will get to test her limits against the best in the country one more time, Hasay boards a flight early Friday morning for a three stop trip on her way to the World Junior T&F Championships in Poland. While each had to lead and finished with similar times, 4:18.32 for Babcock and 4:18.39 for Hasay, their races unfolded a bit different.
"I knew I needed to be even with my race since I knew I couldn't kick with them," said Babcock when asked about leading the first lap of heat one.
Babcock took the lead from the gun, doing some of the work for the rest of the field, but really trying to just run her best race. Through the quarter Babcock showed that she belonged, running with the top athletes in her heat and feeling comfortable. At the half way point Babcock dropped back a bit to the fifth postition, only to drop back to sixth with 400 meters to go.
From there Babcock started to kick as best she could. With a large gash on her left shin, Babcock opened her stride, trying to earn the automatic sixth spot that would advance her to Friday's semi-finals. While she wasn't able to advance automatically, she did manage to place seventh and earn a ticket to the next round through her finishing mark of 4:18.32, moving into the next round as the 19th ranked competitor.
"I was trying to stay positive, that's something I've worked on this year," Babcock said afterwards, "This was a great experience and will help me down the road with other big races." Well for Ms. Babcock this will help her tomorrow quite a bit.
Hasay's (pictured right by Tim Fulton) story was a bit different in the fact that the field didn't help her with the pacing duties at all for 1100m. Hasay led the field for all but the last lap. Jumping to the front right at the gun, the California native pushed through the first 400 meters in 68.82, came through the half in 2:22.35 and the 1200 meter mark in 3:30.99.
"I wanted to run a fast time and get the high school national record, but I didn't expect to lead most of the race," said Hasay.
With 400 meters to go the field shifted around Hasay, while she tried to open her stride and push with the pack. Hasay slowly fell back from the leaders, but managed to hang on to the back of the pack. Coming into the final 100 meters she pumped her arms and was able to catch one athlete and finish in sevent with a 4:18.39.
While Hasay advanced to tomorrow's semi-final round, she won't be competing due to travel commitments with Team USA at the World Junior Championships.
"I drive down to Portland tonight, board a plane to Chicago in the morning, and have a six hour layover in Chicago. Then I fly to London, then Berlin, then take a ride to Poland," Hasay said when talking about her upcoming travel schedule.
Over 24 hours of travel, making three plane stops and having to still workout won't deter Hasay.
"I found a running club in Chicago that trains in the airport so I think I'll be able to get my run in at the airport," Hasay exclaimed."
The California tandem has been linked together all year. Babcock and Hasay, Hasay and Babcock. The two go their seperate ways now, both hoping to achieve seperate goals before moving on to a summer of fun and cross country training.
Men's High Jump Prelims
"I didn't want to no height and I had Jesse Williams telling me "you got it"," Erik Kynard (Rogers, OH) said after he cleared 2.15m (7-00.50) in the men's high jump Thursday evening.
Kynard entered the meet looking to perform well and gain some valuable experience, and that he did. After missing his first two attempts at 2.15m, Kynard got his form together and cleared the height. However, the junior missed all three attempts at 2.20m, but felt great about what he had achieved.
"I am only 17. This is a once in a lifetime experience for someone my age," Kynard joyfully stated aftewards, "I got to jump with my idols and they gave me tips and talked with me, it was a great experience."
A great experience indeed. Now Kynard will board a plane to Poland tomorrow to take part in the World Junior T&F Championships. What a great ride it's been for Kynard the past few weeks.