EUGENE, Ore. – Former Arkansas Lady Razorback Amy Yoder Begley finished third in the 10,000 meters, hit the Olympic “A” standard in the event and punched her ticket to the Olympic Games in Beijing on day one of the U.S. Trials at Oregon’s Hayward Field on Friday.
Another former Lady’Back, Gi-Gi (Miller) Johnson, sits in fourth place after day one of the heptathlon. La’Shaunte’a Moore (100 meters) and Nicole Teter (800 meters) also advanced to the next rounds in their respective events.
A two-time NCAA champion and 16-time All-American while at the University of Arkansas, Yoder Begley entered the Olympic Trials lacking the Olympic "A" qualifying standard of 31:45:00 – a time she needed to beat in order to ensure a place on the team.
Knowing a ticket to Beijing was on the line, Yoder Begley took the lead with seven laps to go, in pursuit of the A standard. Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher again took over with three laps to go, and with 300 meters to go, Flanagan turned on the speed and pulled away to win in 31:34.81, a Hayward Field record, with Goucher second in 31:37.72.
It was Yoder Begley’s solo race for third that was most inspiring. Running alone and visibly digging for every available bit of energy, she needed to cover the final 800 meters in 2:20 to beat the 31:45 standard. It took minutes after she crossed the finish line for her time to be displayed on the scoreboard, but when it did, it was cause for celebration. Yoder Begley, clocking a time of 31:43.60, made it to Beijing with 1.40 seconds to spare.
“This is the best day ever,” Yoder Begley said. “I’m so excited; I can’t believe I made it. I knew I need a 70-second final lap or I wouldn’t get the “A” standard. It still hasn’t hit me that I got that standard. I’m so excited to be going to Beijing. I gave it all I had on the final 400 meters hoping it would be enough.”
Johnson, Arkansas’ school-record holder in the event and former NCAA Champion, started the day with a clocking of 12.83 in the 100-meter hurdles. She was the second-fastest finisher and scored 1,150 points.
She followed that up with a 5-5.25 clearance in the high jump (13th place, 806 points) and a shot of 40-0.5 (ninth place, 674 points). Johnson ended the day with a time of 23.38 in the 200 meters (second place, 1,041 points). Her point total for day one sits at 3,671.
Moore clocked a 100-meter qualifying time of 11.12 and finished third in her heat, 11th overall, to automatically advance to the quarterfinals in the event.
For complete results, an updated list of entries and a television schedule from the U.S. Olympic Trials, visit www.usatf.org. For information on the Lady’Backs at the Olympic Trials, visit www.ladybacks.com.