EUGENE, Ore. – Despite having just four former and current Razorbacks in action on day four of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Monday afternoon managed to produce just as much excitement through top performances in the women’s 800 finals and first rounds of the men’s and women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Chrishuna Williams was the star of the day, battling through an obstacle-ridden 800 final to place third and punch her ticket to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Prior to Williams’ challenging middle-distance bout, Jessica Kamilos and Stanley Kebenei hurdled into the women’s and men’s steeplechase finals, respectively, exerting just the right amount of energy needed to advance.
U.S. Trials | July 1-10 | Hayward Field
Relatively new to the 800 meters, Williams displayed the focus and poise of a seasoned veteran from the start of the two-lap race through the finish.
Racing out of lane seven, Williams maintained pace in the tight pack in sixth position through 400 meters with a split of 58.44. Slipping to seventh with 200 meters left to go, Williams took the final turn wide in an effort to avoid a collision which occurred as the entire field surged toward the homestretch.
High knees and smooth arm swings carried Williams past several competitors to a spot on Team USA in a final time of 1 minute, 59.59 seconds, a new personal best.
Chrishuna Williams 800 Progression
• April 12, 2014 | John McDonnell Invitational – 2:09.59
• May 2, 2014 | Arkansas Twilight – 2:06.48
• January 31, 2015 | Razorback Invitational (indoor) – 2:05.00
• February 28, 2015 | SEC Indoor Championship (indoor) – 2:02.95
• May 2, 2015 | Payton Jordan Invitational – 2:01.61*
• June 4, 2016 | American Track League – 1:59.89
• July 4, 2016 | U.S. Olympic Trials – 1:59.59
*Last collegiate improvement
Earlier in the day, Kamilos proved to be one of the strongest runners in the steeplechase field as a top-four finisher in heat two of the event’s preliminary round.
The 2016 NCAA national runner-up in the event posted the fastest non-automatic qualifying time of the day with her 9:41.88 performance. Kamilos will look to earn her place on the U.S. national team in the steeplechase finals on Thursday at 9:48 p.m. CDT.
Lone Razorback track male representative, Kebenei took on the nation’s fastest steeplechase runners and came out unscathed as an automatic qualifier to the finals out of heat one.
An entry in the fastest heat of the day, Kebenei’s time of 8:28.84 was the third=best performance of the 24 competitors vying for a place in the next round. Team USA’s steeplechase group will be selected on Friday at 7:23 p.m. following completion of the finals.
Jessica Kamilos On The Upcoming Finals
“I’m feeling good, just a little tired since we flew in two days ago. I think getting a couple more days here and getting used to the time again will be good. I’m excited for it.”
Assistant Coach Chris Johnson on Team’s Overall Showing at Trials
“I think so far so good, obviously the athletes performed and got PRs and lifetime bests. It’s a tribute to how hard they have worked and how much they believed in themselves to get here, maintaining focus and not allowing themselves to get overwhelmed. They truly executed the plan and I’m extremely happy with the performances.”
Johnson on Williams’ Transition from 400 to 800
“Her junior year we did one at the very end of the season and then she missed out on making it out of the regional meet in the 400. Heading into her senior year I actually kind of tricked her giving her a bit of extra work here and there until towards the middle of the indoor season I decided to enter her in the 800 which she ended up liking. It carried over to outdoor season and I let her know that she just needs a year to grow more in the event, just more experience. Since then she’s been off to the races.”
Monday, July 4 Olympic Trials Results
800 meter finals
Chrishuna Williams (3) – 1:59.59
M Steeplechase prelims
Stanley Kebenei (3) – 8:28.84Q
W Steeplechase prelims
Jessica Kamilos (9) – 9:41.88Q
Sunday, July 3 Olympic Trials Results
100 meter semis
Jarrion Lawson (6) – 10.01
Tyson Gay (8) – 10.01
Kenzo Cotton (14) – 10.12
100 meter finals
Tyson Gay (5) – 10.03
Jarrion Lawson (7) – 10.07
200 meter finals^
Veronica Campbell-Brown (2) – 22.80
400 meter finals
Taylor Ellis-Watson (4) – 50.25
Long jump finals
Jarrion Lawson (2) – 8.58m/28-1 3/4
Saturday, July 2 Olympic Trials Results
100 meter prelims
Tyson Gay (3) – 9.96Q
Kenzo Cotton (17) – 10.12Q
Jarrion Lawson (20) – 10.16Q
200 meters semis^
Veronica Campbell-Brown (4) – 23.07Q
400 meter semis
Taylor Ellis-Watson (4) – 50.60Q
800 meter semis
Chrishuna Williams (7) – 2:01.29Q
110 hurdle semis^
Omar McLeod (1) – 13.43Q
110 hurdle finals^
Omar McLeod (1) – 13.01
Long jump qualifying
Jarrion Lawson (5) – 8.06m/26-5 1/2
Friday, July 1 Olympic Trials Results
100 meter finals^
Veronica Campbell-Brown (4) – 11.10
400 meter prelims
Taylor Ellis-Watson (6) – 51.54Q
800 meter prelims
Chrishuna Williams (16) – 2:03.18Q
5,000 meter finals^
Kemoy Campbell (1) – 13:43.21
^ – denotes Jamaican Trials
* – requires qualification
For more information on Arkansas track and field including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.