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Four Wildcats competing in Olympic Trials

By on June 25, 2012 in Alumni News, Sports with 0 Comments

Former Abilene Christian University student-athletes Nick Jones, LeVance Williams, Mickey Grimes and Stephanie Warren were in action over the weekend in the U.S. Olympic Trials for track and field in Eugene, Ore.

Jones had trouble Friday night with the rainy weather in the shot put at Hayward Field, finishing 22nd after fouls on two of his three attempts and a throw more than nine feet behind his personal best of 64 feet, 2 1/2 inches (19.57 meters). At 5:30 p.m. CST today, he will begin competition in the discus. He is the 10th-ranked U.S. athlete in that event in 2012, and third-best among collegians.

LaVance Williams

Williams finished 14th in the long jump on Friday, with a best mark of 24 feet, 11 3/4 inches (7.61 meters).

Warren passed on all three of her attempts Saturday in the triple jump because of the wet conditions. She also qualified for the Trials in 2004.

A sprinter, Grimes ran 10.36 seconds in his 100-meter quarterfinal heat Saturday and advanced to Sunday’s semifinals, where he ran 10.37, finishing fifth in one of the three heats.

Grimes and three-time Olympian Tim Bright are the only Wildcats to compete in four U.S. Olympic Trials. Bright qualified for the Trials in 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996, making the Olympic team as a decathlete in 1984 and 1988, and as a pole vaulter in 1992.

In 1932, Elmer Gray became the first Wildcat to earn an invite to the Trials. His classmates donated money to buy him a train ticket to Stanford, Calif., where he reached the semifinals of the 800-meter run.

The most Wildcats to compete in the Trials in one year were nine in 1984 in Los Angeles: Bright and Greg Culp (decathlon); Dale Jenkins, Billy Olson, Brad Pursley, Steve Thaxton and Bobby Williams (pole vault); Mark Witherspoon (400); and Arthur Williams (200). Seven qualified in 1988 (Indianapolis, Ind.) and again in 2000 (Sacramento, Calif.).

The first Wildcat to appear in the Olympics for the U.S. was sprinter Bobby Morrow, who won three gold medals in 1956 (Melbourne, Australia). The most recent was 400-meter hurdler Eric Thomas in 2000 (Sydney, Australia).

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England, begin July 27.

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