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Day 4 Quotes - U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field


U.S. Olympic Team Trials — Track & Field

Hayward Field, Eugene, Ore.


Athlete Quotes

Men’s 800m, final


Clayton Murphy, first place, 1:44.76

“I wasn’t sure if I could catch [Berian], but when I came off the top of the curve in second I had confidence that I could be top three. It’s overwhelming. The Olympian part overweighs that national champion part, for sure, because the goal was to be top three going in. To be an Olympian and to be able to represent Team USA is something I’ve dreamed of since I started running. I just can’t wait to get to Rio.”


Boris Berian, second place, 1:44.92

“It’s a big relief. It’s been a stressful four days, but it’s all worth it and I’m just so proud right now. All of this came so fast. It’s amazing right now. I’ve got no words. Now I just get to train and rest and look forward to Rio.”


“The race was real hectic for the first 250, 350. I got the word 15 minutes before the race that it was gonna be a waterfall, so that kinda messed me up a little bit, but I just stuck to what I had to do, tried to get out in front. Once I got out there I just did my thing. Being in lane four, I really had to sprint to get out near the lead, but it worked out.”


Charles Jock, third place, 1:45.48

“There was some getting clipped, a little shoving, and next thing I know I was second to last. I kind of snapped myself out of it and I knew I was going to have to start moving on this back stretch if I was gonna put myself in position for the last 150 meters. I was slowly moving up, and I felt comfortable the whole way through, and 120 meters out I was pretty confident that I was gonna be able to make this team.”


On missing the team last Trials:

“That’s a really bad feeling, but I wasn’t thinking about it this time. I didn’t think about that at all because I knew that a healthy Charles Jock is one of the best runners in the country, and I knew going into this race that I had a great chance to finish top three even if I hadn’t raced that much this year.”


Women’s 800m, final


Kate Grace, first place, 1:59.10

“It’s surreal. I’ve never podiumed in a national event, and now I’m going to the Olympics. I knew I could run at this level even though I’d never done it before.”


“Our plan was to tuck in on the curve and look for an opening in the last 150 meters. I was aware that there was a collision, but I was focused on finding one running as hard as I could to the tape. Run, take it and go.”


Ajee’ Wilson, second place, 1:59.51

“I think I ran a little too aggressively, but I’m just happy to make the team. At this point I’m still just focusing on my training. My coach’s philosophy is just run to win and run the times that I need to win, so if I need to be in better shape that’s what we’re gonna have to do regardless of who’s in the race.”


“It feels good, but I don’t think it’s gonna settle in until later tonight, when I get to talk to my mom, my family, my friends, and my teammates, but I’m excited in the present though.”


“We’re gonna celebrate for a little bit, but then it’ll be back to business. I’m definitely gonna need to go into Rio a little faster, a little sharper if I want to make it through the rounds and into the final, so we’ve got some work to do.”


Chrishuna Williams, third place, 1:59.59

“My strategy was to go out there and execute each 200m that me and my coach discussed. We looked at everything, and based on that, I was able to run my race and not let anybody else dictate my race. It was just me and the track out there, and I was able to get past all the pressure that was on me in this final, so I raced well and was able to finish top three.”


“As soon as I crossed the line, I just saw my name, that Chrishuna Williams finished in the third-place position. Just to represent red, white and blue and have USA across my chest on the Fourth of July, I’m very ecstatic.”


“Oh my goodness, I’m ecstatic. I just had to believe in myself, and what got me to this point. I’ve been working hard all year and knew that if I did what I did before to get to this point, then I’d make the team.”

Brenda Martinez, seventh place, 2:06.63 (fell on final lap)

“I felt great but I got clipped from behind. That’s track and field. I’ve got to get ready for the 1,500. Some days it doesn’t go your way. Today it was me.”


Alysia Montano, eighth place, 3:06.77

“I stepped out there and so perfectly executed my race. I knew that girls were going to go crazy and I just needed to stay on the outside of lane two and with 150m to go, turn on the jets. I rehearsed this a thousand times. You can’t predict what happens with someone else. I don’t know what happened to Brenda. She ended up tripping and I found myself jumping around her and someone kicked me out from behind. What can I do in that situation? I didn’t touch anyone.”

Men’s pole vault, final


Sam Kendricks, first place, 5.91m/19-4.75

“Those heights are my bread and butter. We train those every day, and we’ve been conditioning having to make those bars so I can compete well. After that we gauge in uncharted territories for those PRs like six meters.”


“There’s that thunder in your heart when you hear the crowd behind you, especially when you look around. It’s funny, when you look to the left you hear them right there in your ear, and then you look to your right and hear that clap, you get that double heartbeat action. It made me feel like everyone was behind me, and that’s what I love about the pole vault. We get to be out there all day and you can really feel the crowd get behind you.”


On facing Renaud Lavillenie in Rio:

“Renaud is a great competitor first and foremost. He understands what it takes to jump high often, and that’s what’s separated him from the rest of the field for so long. I think the young jumpers are coming into their own as they get more years of experience. Renaud has been jumping for a long time and he has a lot of years of championship experience. Sometimes men go in seeing themselves as getting a silver medal when Renaud is on his best, but he is not on his best all the time. I’ve won several Diamond League events and other competitions against Renaud when he was not on his best obviously. But so long as we arrive ready to jump, anything can happen.”


On beginning at low height:

“I have short poles so I must use what I have in order to continue to compete. I don’t see myself as experienced enough to start on a high bar like Renaud. I once asked Renaud why he jumped 5.70 on his first jump. He said, ‘Well Sam, for years now I jumped above 5.80 on my first jump, so why not raise the bar?’ I said ‘OK, you conserve your energy,’ and I see myself as a young jumper needing more competitive experience. I had nine jumps before I had my six meters, and I consider that nine more jumps worth of experience. It did take a toll on me at six meters, and I’ll have to take that into consideration next time, but considering the competitions like the Olympic Games will start higher, I’ll start higher.”


Cale Simmons, second place, 5.65m/18-6.5

Did you think 5.65m would make the team?

“I thought it would be something close to that. My coach and I decided that it was going to take first jump 70, and I guess we weren’t too far from that.”


Logan Cunningham, third place, 5.60m/18-4.5

Did you think 5.60m would make the Olympic team?

“Absolutely not. There were 12 guys coming into the competition having jumped 5.70, and a lot of them have been jumping back to back. I’m with Cale. I thought it would take 70 on the first, maybe 65. I was pleasantly surprised, but I’ll take it.”

Men’s javelin throw, final


Cyrus Hostetler, first place, 83.24m/273-1

“I knew if I stuck it, it was gonna go far, and the second I hit it, I knew it was going and I knew it was gonna take the lead.”


“American javelin is on the rise. I’ve got a couple good throws. Crouser’s been progressing really well through the year, but I know we’ve got seven weeks until the Olympic Games, and I know we’re going to perform really well and represent really well.”


Curtis Thompson, second place, 82.88m/271-11

“I thought it was enough but it was 12 centimeters shy from the standard but that’s OK. I came here. I wanted to do my best and that’s what I gave. I gave it my all. To PR is actually great. I love it here. The fans here are really supportive. It just gives you that adrenaline.”


On not getting the standard:

“It’s not frustrating. It just means you have to come out and have to throw the standard. I’m not upset about my performance. I’m actually really happy about how I performed today.”


On having his longest throw as his first throw:

“Getting that throw in the beginning, I was really relaxed. I really started to try and go get it and when I started to try too hard that’s when it didn’t go as far. It’s just a learning experience for me. When you throw a big one, you just have to find a way to relax and actually continue how you are throwing and not change a thing.”


Riley Dolezal, third place, 79.67m/261-4

“I obviously wanted to hit that Olympic standard to get on the team, but I couldn’t be happier. It was tough fighting that wind every once in a while when it was gusting here and there, and it was good to get one out there, but I feel like there was more for me to get, but I’m happy with the medal. This is awesome.”


“I haven’t been throwing big for a little while, but I’m definitely older than I look, so I might not have too many years left.”


Sam Crouser, fourth place, 78.06m/256-1

“I started my season a little late, I mean earlier in the year. I had some pretty severe tendonitis. I started throwing in February, so it’s kind of been a building block year. I threw 74 earlier. I feel like going into the Olympics is gonna give me another month to prepare to throw farther.”

“It was a good competition out there. I wasn’t throwing as far as I wanted, but it’s better than what it has been throughout the year.”


Sean Furey, 11th place, 69.45m/227-10

On qualifying for the Olympic team because he had the IAAF standard of 83 meters:

“The rules are the rules. If I make it to the Olympics, I won’t apologize. I’ll go and try to hammer a throw. But I also respect Curtis Thompson, who missed the standard by just 12 centimeters. If he got the (Olympic invite), he deserved it, and I’d root for him.”

Women’s 3000m steeplechase, first round


First heat

Bridget Franek, first place, 9:39.93

“It went pretty well I’d say. I came in with my Fourth of July glasses and hat so I was ready to go. I had to decide between dealing with the wind or going behind people over the barrier, and if my stride is choppy, I waste energy that way if I’m behind people. I figured it would be go time with a couple laps to go, so I was happy with how it strung out.”


Courtney Frerichs, second place, 9:40.98

On running her first race as a professional after winning the NCAA title in a collegiate-record (9:24.41):

“I’m excited about my debut in the pro kit. On the homestretch I was able to shut it down. It was the easiest 9:40 I’ve ever run.”


Second heat

Leah O’Connor, first place, 9:35.77

“I’m glad we got to do prelims today because I haven’t raced since Pre. It was great to shake off the dust and get moving again, and I love Hayward, so I’m really happy with it. I trained really hard in the last six weeks, so I’m really looking forward to the next few races and into the summer.”


Stephanie Garcia, second place, 9:35.95

“Steeplechase prelims are so stressful because you’ve got the water jump and hurdles. You don’t want to get stuck in the pack. I probably didn’t need to push it as hard as I did over the last 1200 but I wanted to stretch out. I’m in the best shape of my life.”


Third heat

Emma Coburn, first place, 9:35.28

“Any steepler will tell you that rounds still don’t really feel easy. It’s a different effort from an all out race but we are still navigating barriers, but it felt as comfortable as any steeplechase can feel. I’m ready to rest up and get ready for Thursday.”


Megan Rolland, second place, 9:37.90

“The last couple laps obviously felt a little rough, but I felt so smooth for the first part. I was only a second off my PR, so I definitely went out there racing it like it was my last race so I absolutely made sure I made the final.”

Men’s 3000m steeplechase, first round

First heat

Donn Cabral, first place, 8:26.96

“I felt good today, really good. I wanted to get out, feel good and really bring a good attitude into it because sometimes in prelims it’s easy to be complacent. I wanted to come in like I had something to prove because all my performaces this season have been mediocre. I showed myself, most importantly that I’m ready to go.”


Second heat

Evan Jager, first place, 8:33.73

“It was good, a little breezy but felt good. I just wanted to get through as relaxed as possible and do as little leading as needed until the end. It all leads to this. All my races this season, we kind of just get out and race and spin the legs, but I wasn’t really looking for anything special in any of those races. My only focus this year has been coming here, being fit and making the team.”


Mason Ferlic, second place, 8:34.45

“I’m used to running in the front, especially against collegiate competition, but this time I kind of had to insert myself into the pack, so it was good practice running around people because I got a little sloppy, nicked a couple barriers. That’s what I’ve got to work on going into the final, just being more aggressive, more assertive with guys around me.”


Women’s triple jump, qualifying

Keturah Orji, top qualifier, 14.17m/46-6

On reaching the automatic qualifying mark on her first jump:

“I want to get used to jumping farther on my first three jumps because that’s what you have to do at meets like the Trials and the Olympics.”

Men’s 5000m, first round


First heat

William Kincaid, first place, 13:47.86

“I went in with the attitude that I was going to keep myself in the race, and I was gonna have a good kick, so there was no way I wasn’t moving on, but I didn’t expect to win the race. It was super choppy. If you look at everyone’s legs, everyone’s torn up, but I was ready for that.”

Second heat

Bernard Lagat, first place, 13:48.36

“My strategy was that I had to, the language that my coach was using with me that I was paying attention to, by the Bowerman Building there — and I was paying attention to everything that he said — and so I knew if I was number seven I might not get in. That’s what he was telling me, and I understood that very clearly. I was using my calculations to make sure I didn’t go crazy at the beginning, so I didn’t get burned out like in the 10k before the final lap. I was prepared for someone to go at 2k, with 5 laps to go, but still I pushed a little bit but composed myself to make sure I stayed out of trouble to go fast on that last lap.”


On redemption after 10k final:

“What happened in the 10k, it’s a new event for me. It was only my second time running it. The heat and the pace, I have it to Galen. He gave it to us. You only have to admire when someone does something like that. I thought I was ready to come back for the 5k because I’d been resting in the hotel and doing nothing, just jogging. I felt like I was ready coming into the stadium today. My coach said, ‘It’s good that we did that 10k. 17 laps was good training. That’s something I haven’t given you in a year.’”


Galen Rupp, sixth place, 13:49.50

“I’m looking forward to having a couple days now to really rest up and get ready for the final. The last lap was the hardest I’ve sprinted in a long time, so it was definitely a good shock to the system, and that’s what I needed to get back into it. Today was great practice for the final.”

Amanda Brooks
Marketing and Communications Manager
USA Track & Field

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