Local runners will be competing in the USA Olympic Track & Field Team Trials in Eugene, Oregon, July 1- 10.
Some local runners are heading to the 2016 USA Olympic Track Trials with one thing in mind, to make the coveted Olympic Team and to head to Rio and compete for Team USA. While for other runners, just to make it to the trails is a lifelong dream come true and they hope to get the most out of the experience. The Track & Field Trials holds a high barrier of entry, especially compared to the Olympic Marathon Trials. The rules are the same, the top 3 in the field (as long as they have run the Olympic qualifying time standard), make the team. But the wide city roads for the marathon route can accommodate a much larger field size than on the track. There were close to 80 Coloradans who made it to the Olympic Marathon Trials in February, compared to 20 for the 2016 Track & Field Team trials. While 20 may have made the qualifying time or close to it, at this time there looks to be 13-14 to travel to Eugene. One of those who is making the trip is Noah Droddy.
Droddy participated in the Marathon Trials last February but pulled out early due to the heat. Now he has qualified for the 10,000m race and it will be his first time to the Team Trials in Eugene.
“I got to run the homestretch of Hayward Field at the Eugene Half Marathon in 2014. At the time I felt really fortunate to run on such a historic track, and definitely didn’t think I’d be in a position to run the trials in the future. I guess I am most excited to race the best on the biggest stage in American track running. I’ve been falling asleep imagining the energy in the stadium.”
Noah added, “I’m also excited to watch my teammate Alia Gray in the 10k the following day. Our Roots Running family is small, and we’ve been fortunate to share a lot of our big moments so far.”
The Men’s 10k, will be the featured event on Friday July 1 at 7:15pm, the first day of the Trials. Fleet Feet Sports, where Noah is an employee, will be hosting a watch party in the store. Boulder Track Club’s Jon Grey and Alex Monroe will also be in that race.
On Saturday, July 2, the Women’s 10,000m final will be contested at 12:04pm MDT. In that race another Fleet Feet employee and the top American at the 2015 New York Marathon, Laura Thweatt, will take on the field. Also in that race from Boulder is Alia Gray. Alicia Williams from Golden, who was the first American at the this year’s Bolder Boulder International Team Challenge. Again Fleet Feet will be hosting a watch party as well as displaying live coverage of the trails for the whole 10 days along with food and drink.
The week plays out a little differently for two-time Olympian and World Championship Gold Medalist Jenny Simpson. She will need to get through two qualifying rounds of the 1500m to get to the finals contested on the last day of the trials, Sunday July 10 at 6:00pm MDT. She is one of the favorites, ranked at #2, but she can’t just rest on her laurels. This will be Simpson’s third Olympic Track & Field Trials and has a little different perspective from the first time she went.
“In my mind, the trials are the only time when first, second, and third place all equal the same reward. So I don’t “worry” about being first. If I’m anywhere among the top three, I’ll celebrate it as a win.”
Besides making the team, I asked if she had any other experiences she wanted to take away from the week:
“Any race you go to that’s for qualification onto a bigger event, I think it’s easy to get wrapped up in the stress and pressure of qualifying. There have been events in the past that I think I allowed the focus and pressure of the event keep me from enjoying the process. So my number one priority is to make the team but a close second and to not let the process fly by without taking a deep breath and enjoying the moment.”
Boulder area runners competing in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials
Note: This list may be updated as we learn more about entry status.
- Jenny Simpson 3:57 ranked #2 under Shannon Rowbury
- Sarah Sutherland 4:06
- Sara Vaughn 4:10 currently waiting to see if field will allow
- Emma Coburn Ranked #1 with a time of 9:10
- Shalaya Kipp 9:37 also under the 9:45 Olympic Standard
- Jessica Tebo 15:21
- Alisha Williams 15:23
- Alicia Williams 31:49
- Laura Thweatt 31:52
- Alia Gray 31:59
- Tabor Stevens 8:26
- Jon Grey 27:59 Olympic qualifying time
- Alex Monroe 28:17
- Noah Droddy 28:22