July Track Recap: US Olympic Trials
It’s been a busy and exciting month with the Trials taking over at Hayward Field. Hopefully you were able to catch some of the action either at the track, at the fan festival, or through the live stream, because there were so many incredible and inspiring performances over the course of the 10-day meet! TRE had 5 athletes represent us on the track this week: Geena Gall in the 800m, Bridget Franek and Megan Patrignelli in the women’s steeplechase, Isaac Updike in the men’s steeplechase, and Eric Avila in the 1500m. And of course, since we are lucky enough to live in Eugene, we had a whole team of TRE athletes representing us off in the stadium and at the Fan Festival as well! Trials race recap below:
Day 1: 800m Prelims
Geena Gall started off the meet for us, with her 800m Prelim race on July 1st. In what was arguably one of the deepest women’s 800m fields ever assembled at the Trials, Geena ran a strong and tactically smooth race to finish 6th in her heat, and 22nd overall, with a time of 2:03.74. With 16 of the 38 competitors advancing, Geena just missed out on qualifying for the semi-finals the next day.
Day 4: Steeplechase Semi-Finals (M/W)
July 4th was a big day for us. The morning was filled with road racing at the Aquafina Butte-to-Butte, and the afternoon was filled with steeplechase semi-finals on the track. Bridget Franek was first on the track for us, running in Section 1 of the women’s steeple. In just her second full steeplechase of the season, she looked comfortable coming across the line first in 9:39.93 to auto-qualify for the finals on Thursday. Megan Patrignelli ran tough in her first Olympic Trials, racing Section 3 of the women’s steeple, but missed out on the final by finishing 9th in her heat with a time of 10:07.68. Isaac Updike looked great in his semi-final race, finishing 5th in Section 2 to also auto-qualify for the finals. His time of 8:37.14 was his second-fastest ever, but you’d never know that based on how controlled he looked running. Then men’s final would be held on Friday.
Day 7: Steeplechase Finals (W), 1500m Prelims
After a few days rest, we were back on the track. Bridget Franek started the evening for us with a fantastic race in the women’s steeplechase finals. Right from the gun, she got into great position just off the shoulder of the leaders. She would go on to finish 6th in 9:33.51, just a few seconds off of her lifetime best. This was a huge performance for Bridget, who had one of the quickest final 400m, closing in 74 seconds.
Eric Avila took to the track next, for his 1500m Prelim. In what was expected to be a very slow and tactical race after the first two heats, Eric took the lead mid-way through the race and kept the pace honest. He was able to run a smooth and controlled race from the front, winning his section in 3:42.27 to auto-qualify for the semi-finals on Friday.
Day 8: Steeplechase Finals (M), 1500m Semi-Finals
Isaac Updike was back on the track tonight. In his first Olympic Trials final, he ran a very strong and confident race. Isaac ran comfortably right in the middle of the pack through 2k, and finished with a quick final lap of 67 seconds. He finished in 12th place with a time of 8:42.92–an awesome race to cap off an exciting season!
The men’s 1500 semi-finals also took place on July 8th, and Eric Avila impressed us again. In an exciting race where the top 6 men finished within a half-second of each other (only top 5 auto-qualify to finals), Eric finished 5th in Heat 2 with a time of 3:44.68 to secure his place in Sunday’s 1500m final!
Day 10: 1500m Finals
On the last day of the Trials, Eric Avila took to the track for the last event of the entire meet- the 1500m final. Many of the athletes in the field did not have the Olympic Standard (to make it to the Olympic Games, an athlete must finish top 3 AND have run the standard), which meant it was up to those athletes without the standard to make the race honest. After a quick 200m, the pace began to slow, and Eric made the decision to get out front and keep the race moving in order to give himself a shot at that standard. While his brave attempt did not end in an Olympic berth, it made for an exciting race and a great end to the weekend. Eric finished in 3:41.21, good for 11th place overall–a fantastic effort by him, but especially impressive considering he qualified for this meet just hours prior to the entry deadline a week earlier!
Full results of the Olympic Trials: http://trialsresults.usatf.org/
Thank you to everyone who cheered us on at the Trials! We love and appreciate all of your support 😀 We’ve still got more athletes racing this summer, so keep checking our social media to see where we’ll be!