Eleven Drake Relays Competitors Already Set To Represent the USA In Rio

first_imgThe Rio Olympic Games Preview events staged at the 2016 Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee have truly lived up to their name. Eleven American athletes that competed in those events have earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic team as the U.S. Olympic Team Trials have reached the halfway point with a day of rest on July 5. Five more days of competition will follow as athletes vie for one of the coveted spots on Team USA for the upcoming Rio Olympic Games.Below are those athletes that have earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic team after using the 2016 Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee as a springboard to the Olympic Trials.Clayton Murphy – men’s 800 metersBoris Berian – men’s 800 metersKate Grace – women’s 800 metersLaShawn Merritt – men’s 400 meters David Verburg – men’s 400 metersMarquis Dendy – men’s long jumpVashti Cunningham – women’s high jumpInika McPherson – women’s high jumpSam Kendricks – men’s pole vaultJanay DeLoach – women’s long jumpBrittney Reese – women’s long jumpOn July 4, Clayton Murphy and Boris Berian finished first and second, respectively, in the men’s 800 meters to match their finishes on the Blue Oval in April. A rough-and-tumble women’s 800 meters saw Kate Grace take top honors after she finished second in the 1,500 meters at the Relays. Ajee Wilson finished second at the trials to earn a place on the Olympic team. She was the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee women’s 800 meter champion in 2015. Two 400-meter runners that took one lap around the Blue Oval also qualified as LaShawn Merritt won his third-straight U.S. Olympic Trials in a blazing 43.97 to become the first man to run under 44 seconds this season. David Verburg captured the final spot on the team with a third-place finish in the event. In April. Merritt finished second on the Blue Oval while Verburg was fourth.A pair of athletes that took to the long jump runway together at Drake Stadium are also headed to Rio. Brittney Reese won the long jump at the Olympic trials with a U.S. Olympic Trials record jump of 23-11.75 (7.31m), the longest jump in the world since 2004 and the longest by an American since 1998. Janay DeLoach finished third in the event to join Reese in Rio. At the Drake Relays, Reese finished second in the event while DeLoach was sixth.The men’s long jump also produced an Olympic qualifier in Marquis Dendy. He finished fourth at the Trials, but the third-place finisher, Will Claye, did not hit the Olympic qualifying standard. Claye was also a 2016 Relays competitor, finishing fourth at Drake Stadium while Dendy was sixth.The women’s high jump also has a pair of new Olympians that competed at the Drake Relays. Vashti Cunningham used a second-place finish at her second professional meet at the Drake Relays to propel her to a second-place finish at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Inika McPherson, who has also been a Relays regular, finished third at the Trials to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team.Sam Kendricks also advanced to Rio in the men’s pole vault with a meet record clearance of 19-4.75 (5.91m). Kendricks was third at the Drake Relays and also finished second at the Capital Square Vault event.Those nine qualifiers will almost certainly be joined by more qualifiers later in the week in addition to the international Olympic athletes that competed in Rio Olympic Games Preview events at the 2016 Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee.Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more

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