June 28, 2012
EUGENE, Ore. – Former Auburn sprinters Joanna Atkins and Reuben McCoy along with junior high jumper Maya Pressley each advanced to the next round of their respective competitions during action on Thursday at the 2012 USATF Olympic Trials at Hayward Field with a record 22,602 in attendance.
"This is the biggest meet for all of those guys," Auburn head coach Ralph Spry said. "You are going against hands down, the top competition in the country. For Maya, she’s very young. Her making to the top 12 and advancing through qualifying is huge for her. The younger you are, the more you can take from this meet. This is great for her progression and says a lot about her and how she competes.
"Joanna did a pretty good job. She has a little more sense of urgency because the 400 meters didn’t go as we planned. The name of the game is advancing, so she bounced back well. Reuben did a good job. He was fourth in his heat and he got out-leaned. He gets a tougher lane now, so he will have to scrap now in the semis. This is a tough competition all the way around, but I’m proud of the way we competed."
In her second event of the Trials, Atkins finished fourth in the third heat of the women’s 200 meters in 23.10. The mark was the second fastest non-automatic qualifying time and advanced the Stone Mountain, Ga. native to the semifinals on Friday.
McCoy looked to have an automatic berth locked up in heat four of the 400-meter hurdles, but slowed in the final 20 meters and was passed by Nike’s Jeshua Anderson. In the end, McCoy’s mark of 50.48 was the 11th-fastest overall and second fastest time qualifier and he advanced to Friday’s semifinals.
Pressley cleared with ease at 1.79m (5-10.5), but missed on three attempts at 1.83m (6-0). Luckily for the Florida native, she managed to stay in a tie for ninth and advanced to the finals on Saturday at 7 p.m. CT.
On his final throw of the second round, Auburn track intern Will Conwell recorded a throw of 188-4 (57.41m) to jump into eighth place and be in position to advance to the final round of throws. His position would be short lived though as Abilene Christian’s Nick Jones (188-7) bumped Conwell to ninth and ended the Washington native’s quest for an Olympic berth. He would eventually finish in 10th.
On deck on Friday is the qualifying round of the men’s 200 meters. After competing in the 100 meters last week, Marcus Rowland has another shot to qualify for London in the 200. Teammate Harry Adams was originally expected to compete, but he was forced to withdraw due to a knee injury suffered at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships three weeks ago.
Additionally, McCoy will compete in the semifinals of the 400-meter hurdles and fellow 2008 Auburn alumni Ty Akins will run in the 110-meter hurdles qualifying round. Atkins will run in the 200-meter semifinals at 5 p.m. CT. Television coverage begins at 5 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Network and should feature both the 400m Hurdles semifinals and the qualifying round of the 110m hurdles along with Atkins in the 200-meter semis.
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