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2008 U.S. Olympic Trials Blog: Day 5

July 3, 2008  Eugene, Ore.  RSS
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Clendon Henderson will aim to be one of the top 12 men's discus throwers in the prelims, which start at 8:30 p.m. Pacific this evening.

Clendon Henderson will aim to be one of the top 12 men's discus throwers in the prelims, which start at 8:30 p.m. Pacific this evening.

From newly renovated Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., will provide live updates from the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field. Stay tuned as current and former Liberty athletes Clendon Henderson and Danielle McNaney battle our nation's best athletes for a berth in the Beijing Olympic Games.

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9:10 p.m. – We have completed the opening flight of the men's discus throw.

Improving in round three were Lance Brooks, Brian Trainor and Clendon Henderson. Unfortunately, Henderson stays in 12th place, meaning that if any of the 12 throwers in Flight 2 exceed 181-2, Henderson's spectacular season of discus throwing will be complete.

Since it does not look like Henderson will move on, I will cease blogging for this evening (and the 2008 track & field season.) Have a happy 4th of July and Go Flames!

Men's Discus (Flight 1 Results)
1) Jarred Rome (Nike) – 206-10
2) Doug Reynolds (Unattached) – 198-3
3) Michael Robertson (Nike) – 198-1
4) Rashaud Scott (Kentucky) – 197-2
5) James Dennis (Unattached) – 197-0
6) Brian Trainor (Unattached) – 196-7
7) Lance Brooks (Unattached) – 194-10
8) Jason Schutz (Colorado State) – 190-4
9) Karl Erickson (Unattached) – 189-10
10) Reedus Thurmond (Club Northwest) – 188-4
11) Chase Madison (Kentucky) – 183-9
12) Clendon Henderson (Liberty) – 181-2

8:55 p.m. – Improvements in round two for Lance Brooks, Karl Erickson and Reedus Thurmond.

Brian Trainor, James Dennis and Clendon Henderson get their first legal marks. Henderson enters the third round in 11th place in this flight.

Jarred Rome maintains the lead, entering the final throw of Flight 1.

1) Jarred Rome (Nike) – 206-10
2) Doug Reynolds (Unattached) – 198-3
3) Michael Robertson (Nike) – 198-1
4) Rashaud Scott (Kentucky) – 197-2
5) James Dennis (Unattached) – 197-0
6) Brian Trainor (Unattached) – 195-7
7) Jason Schutz (Colorado State) – 190-4
8) Karl Erickson (Unattached) – 189-10
9) Lance Brooks (Unattached) – 188-8
10) Reedus Thurmond (Club Northwest) – 188-4
11) Clendon Henderson (Liberty) – 180-4
Chase Madison (Kentucky) – FOUL

8:45 p.m. – We have completed one round of the men's discus prelims, and here's how things look.
Clendon Henderson stumbled a bit as he spun around the ring and fouled his first attempt. No one has hit the automatic qualifier so far.

1) Jarred Rome (Nike) – 206-10
2) Doug Reynolds (Unattached) – 198-3
3) Michael Robertson (Nike) – 198-1
4) Rashaud Scott (Kentucky) – 197-2
5) Jason Schutz (Colorado State) – 190-4
6) Lance Brooks (Unattached) – 182-4
7) Karl Erickson (Unattached) – 179-7
8) Reedus Thurmond (Club Northwest) – 174-6
Chase Madison (Kentucky) – FOUL
Brian Trainor (Unattached) – FOUL
James Dennis (Unattached) – FOUL
Clendon Henderson (Liberty) – FOUL

7:50 p.m. Pacific – Hello again from historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon! After a two-day respite, the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field are back in action from now through Sunday. Personally, I think everyone (myself included) needed 48 hours to catch their collective breath after an unbelievable first four days of track & field.

For me, three races (outside of Danielle McNaney's victory in the heptathlon 800) have highlighted my visit to the West Coast so far. I'll list them and give you links to the corresponding Eugene Register-Guard articles. The local newspaper has done an outstanding job every day, and its writers describe the action far more effectively than I could ever try to within this blog.

3) Tyson Gay's American-Record 9.77 100-meter dash in the quarterfinal round, just hours after he had nearly committed a major blunder in his opening heat.
Eugene Register-Guard article

2) Amy Yoder Begley's courageous third-place finish in the women's 10K final, qualifying for the Olympic team by 1.4 seconds in a 31-minute race.
Eugene Register-Guard article

1) The men's 800-meter final. Enough said.
Eugene Register-Guard article (includes link to race video at bottom of page—a must-see)
Photo Essay

I think this is also an appropriate time to plug Liberty alum Josh Cox, who is at the Trials working for Runners' World. Cox, who competed in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Men's Marathon in November, is shooting highlight videos and interviews for the website. Click here to link to his fine work.

Now, back to tonight's action. Liberty's newest All-American (both athletically and academically), Clendon Henderson, will begin competition in the men's discus prelims at 8:30 p.m. local time (11:30 p.m. for you hearty fans reading from the East Coast). Tonight's competition will pare the 24-member field down to 12 for Sunday afternoon's discus final. Here's how it will work.

The 24 athletes have been divided into a pair of 12-member flights. (Clendon is listed as the 12th and final thrower in the opening flight.) Each competitor will receive three throws. If someone throws 211-7 or longer (the Olympic Games "A" qualifying standard), he will automatically earn his way into Sunday's competition. The remainder of the 12 spots will be filled by the athletes marking the next-longest throws tonight.

The throwers will be competing in the north half of the infield here at Hayward Field, throwing from my right to left, into the prevailing north wind. I'm not yet an expert on discus throwing, but I believe the breeze should benefit the throwers tonight.

I have no limit on my number of available blog posts. So, I plan to provide frequent updates and analysis throughout the competition.

I'm not sure how much face time Clendon and the other discus throwers will receive, but USA is just beginning their two-hour block of live coverage of tonight's action, which will continue until 10 p.m. local and 1 a.m. Eastern.

Here's a brief synopsis of what to keep an eye on during the USA coverage (all times are Pacific):

8:05 p.m. – Women's 400-meter dash final: Sanya Richards is the favorite, but will be trying to erase the memory of finishing fourth in the U.S. World Championship Trials last summer and hold off rapidly improving Mary Wineberg.

8:15 p.m. – Men's 400-meter dash final: Even the most casual of track fans should know the name Jeremy Wariner, the Olympic gold medalist in this event in Athens. He's still running exceptionally well, but now he has company in the form of LaShawn Merritt, who lives and trains in Norfolk, Va. and holds track records at both the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex and the Tolsma Indoor Track Center. Merritt defeated Wariner in a Golden League match-up in Berlin, Germany last month, increasing the stakes in tonight's duel.

8:25 p.m. – Men's 1,500-meter run quarterfinals: Fans will get their first look at American mile record holder Alan Webb. He's still favored to make the Olympic team, but has not been sharp so far this season.

9:45 p.m. – Women's 3,000-meter steeplechase final: Have you ever heard the Plain White T's hit song, "Hey There Delilah?" If not, here's the video on YouTube. Anyway, the woman who inspired the lyrics, Delilah DiCrescenzo, is entered and actually has a credible shot at making the first-ever U.S. women's steeplechase Olympic squad. To do so, however, she will have to upset at least one of the three clear favorites—Lisa Galaviz (American record holder), Jenny Barringer (NCAA national steeplechase champion by a landslide) and Anna Willard (hair changes color more often than Dennis Rodman's).

Well, that should be enough to keep you busy and awake until the discus competition begins. I'll be back shortly, once I relocate from the media work tent to the media tribune, in the top rows of Hayward Field's west grandstand.