WCAP Soldiers get set for U.S. Olympic Track & Field trials
Tim Hipps, IMCOM Public AffairsSAN ANTONIO - Several Soldiers in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program recently posted strong performances in preparation for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team Trials, scheduled for Friday through July 1 in Eugene, Ore.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
The results provide a preview of what they could achieve in Eugene, where they will vie for spots on Team USA headed to the London Olympic Games.
Maj. Michael Mai won the hammer throw with a hurl of 69.55 meters at the Jim Bush Southern California Championships in Los Angeles June 2. A week later, he launched second-place throws of 74.83 and 75.43 meters at the Ashland Open Track & Field Meet in Ashland, Ohio, June 7 and 9, respectively.
Mai, 34, of Mountain View, Calif., won the hammer at the West Point Open at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., with a throw of 74.01 meters May 19. With a lifetime best of 76.28 meters, he still pursues the Olympic “A Standard” of 78.50 meters. He has hit the 77-meter mark in practice.
If athletes attain the Olympic Trials A Standard for their event, they automatically are qualified to compete at the Olympic Trials. The only sure-fire way to secure a berth in the London Olympic Games is to attain the higher Olympic Games A Standard and finish among the top three in Eugene.
The hammer throw will be the only event contested at the Nike World Headquarters near Portland. The rest of the track and field events are set to be held at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus.
Mai finished second at the 2011 Outdoor USA Track and Field Championships with a throw of 74.69 meters. He hopes to punch a ticket to London in Portland.
“I kind of left with a sour taste in my mouth in 2008,” Mai, who finished fifth with a throw of 71.75 meters in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team Trials in Eugene, said. “I got injured a little bit before the trials and I just didn’t put it together.”
Mai said recent successes have him more hopeful of an Olympic berth this year.
“I’ve definitely been more successful in the last three years than the whole rest of my career,” Mai, who has competed in nine U.S. outdoor and seven indoor national championships, said. “I made the last two world championship teams, went to the Pan Am Games this year and got the silver medal.”
WCAP distance runner Spc. Joseph Chirlee crushed the Olympic A Standard with a fourth-place finish in the 10,000 meters at the Tartletos Loopgala in Wageningen, the Netherlands, May 30, with a time of 27 minutes, 43.96 seconds. Ali Hassan Mahboob of Bahrain won the race in 27:21.40.
Chirlee, 32, a naturalized citizen from Marakwet, Kenya, lowered his personal best by 33 seconds and became one of nine U.S. runners to attain the Olympic A Standard of 27:45.00. The Olympic Trials 10,000-meter men’s final is scheduled for Friday at 6:45 p.m. in Eugene. The top three finishers with the A Standard will compete for Team USA in London.
Spc. Augustus Maiyo also met the Olympic A Standard with a second-place finish and time of 8:29.37 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Music City Distance Carnival in Nashville, Tenn., June 2. Another Army contender, Spc. Kyle Heath, finished 10th in the same race with a time of 8:50.15.
Maiyo, 28, of Fort Carson, Colo., was twice named to the NCAA All-America Team in cross country at the University of Alabama. He finished third in the 2011 Army Ten-Miler at the Pentagon.
The Olympic Trails men’s qualification heat of the 3,000-meter steeplechase is set for Monday at 5:25 p.m. The final is scheduled for June 28 at 6:30 p.m.
Staff Sgt. John Nunn, who already punched his ticket to England by winning the men’s 50-kilometer race walk crown, will attempt to double in London with a berth in the 20-kilometer race walk, scheduled for June 30 in Eugene.