June 21, 2012
EUGENE, Ore. - Ten active and alumni members of the Auburn track and field program begin competition on Friday at the 2012 United States Track and Field Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon at Hayward Field that run from June 21-July 1.
The active group is headlined by Auburn's sprint trio of Harry Adams, Keenan Brock and Marcus Rowland. Adams is currently scheduled to run the 200 meters, Brock the 100 meters and Rowland will compete in both events.
"This is the next level up," Auburn head coach Ralph Spry said. "Just hitting the `A' standard is a testament to how good of a year they each had. The goal right now is to make the finals. If you make the finals as a 100-meter guy, then it gives you a little window. You have a chance at that point to also make the team in the relay pool.
"These guys are so young in their careers, so this is invaluable experience they will gain at the Olympic trials. These guys will have multiple shots to make an Olympic team in their careers. This is similar to the NCAA championships in that it helps to go when you are young. That way, when you go back, you have already had that experience. With that said, I think they each have a good shot to make the finals. These next two weeks will be a great experience for them."
The men's 100 meters begins on Saturday. The 200 meters is held during the second half of the meet, with the opening round set for Friday, June 29.
Also making the trip from the 2012 roster is women's high jumper Maya Pressley. Her competition begins on Thursday, June 28. Additionally, sprinter CeCe Williams along with former Tiger and 2009 NCAA champion Joanna Atkins will compete in the 400 meters beginning on Friday.
The experience that Spry is happy to see his active athletes gain is the same familiarity that Auburn alumni Ty Akins and Reuben McCoy received in 2008 and will hopefully take advantage of this time around.
Fresh off a pair of runner-up finishes at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, Akins (110m hurdles) and McCoy (400m hurdles) both made the finals in their respective events at the 2008 trials, but narrowly missed an Olympic berth.
"Just missing the Olympic team is a heart breaker," Spry said. "It did give them confidence going forward though. They made the finals coming out of college, which is tremendous. What they have gained the last four years as professionals combined with that previous trials experience, should give them a calmness and confidence going into this year's meet. They are battle tested. They know they belong there. They know now that if they run their race, they will be in the mix."
McCoy opens competition on Thursday, June 28, while Akins will begin his quest the following day on June 29. Akins was the 2007 NCAA champion in the 110m hurdles.
Also gunning for a spot at the London Olympic Games will be throwers Cory Martin and Eric Werskey. Both men will be competing in the shot put beginning on Saturday. Martin was the 2008 NCAA champion in the shot put and hammer throw.
"The beauty of the U.S. trials is that anyone that has that standard can get in," Spry said. "Once you get in, you have as good a chance as anyone else. That's the great thing about the American Olympic dream. It's all about what you do on that day. If you have a bad day, three years of chasing the dream is over. That is the exciting thing about it, but it's also the scary thing about it."
Coverage of the U.S. Olympic trials will be shown nightly on the NBC Sports Network and NBC. For a complete TV schedule, see the link above. For the latest on Auburn track and field, follow @AUTrack on Twitter.