Volunteer Coach Jenny Simpson Qualifies for London Olympics
July 1, 2012
EUGENE, Ore. - Air Force volunteer coach Jenny Simpson, the reigning world champion in the 1500-meter run, qualified to the 2012 Olympic Games after placing third in that event during the final day of competition (July 1) at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore.
Competing at Historic Hayward Field, she clocked a time of 4:05.17 to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team. Simpson, who trains at the Academy with Air Force cross country head coach Juli Benson, shaved four seconds off of her time in Saturday's semifinal. A 2008 Olympian in the steeplechase, Simpson recorded splits of 49.87 (300 meters), 1:57.41 (700 meters) and 3:04.51 (1100 meters).
Simpson will be joined by Morgan Uceny (first, 4:04.59) and Shannon Rowbury (second, 4:05.11) on the United State's 1500-meter team in London. The trio, whose times were divided by just 0.18 seconds, distanced themselves from the field, holding a two-second advantage over the rest of the field.
In addition, 2006 Academy graduate and two-time NCAA champion Dana Pounds-Lyon finished sixth in the finals of the javelin throw. With a distance of 180'11", Pounds-Lyon improved her distance by nearly 11 feet from Friday's qualifying round to finish sixth in the 12-member finals. Pounds-Lyon opened the day with a toss of 178'7", before improving that mark to 179'1" on her next attempt. She fouled on her third throw and stood in eighth after the first three attempts. Pounds-Lyon upped her distance to 180'11" on her fifth try, before recording fouls on her final two attempts to finish sixth overall.
Brittany Borman won the javelin throw with a toss of 201'9", while Kara Patterson placed second with a distance of 196'2". Kimberley Hamilton finished third (190'5") in the meet, but hadn't reached the Olympic "A" standard this season, so Rachel Yurkovich earned the final spot on the Olympic team after finishing fourth (180'11").
The 2012 Olympic Games begin on Friday, July 27, in London, England. However, a member of the Air Force track and field program will represent Team USA next weekend (July 6-8), as 2012 graduate Paige Blackburn will compete at the NACAC Under-23 Championships in Mexico.