Grant Concludes Season at U.S. Olympic Trials
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Senior All-American Billie-Jo Grant wrapped up her outdoor season at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials Friday evening, competing in the discus at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene, Ore. Grant qualified for the trials by hitting a “B” standard of entry of 56.07m at the Hurricane Invitational in late March.
Despite suffering a muscle spasm in her neck the day before competition, Grant tossed 48.62m on Friday. Her range of motion was hindered which affected certain positions of her throw, but Grant fought for a mark that placed her 21st overall. Stephanie Brown Trafton won the qualifying round of the discus with a throw of 63.61m. She will lead 12 finalists into Sunday’s final round, where the top-three finishers will be awarded a spot on the Olympic Team roster.
“It’s unfortunate that this happened to Billie-Jo at this time,” head coach Randy Bungard said. “However, the Olympic Trials are unforgiving and it comes down to doing well on a particular day. We are very proud of Billie-Jo, though. She represented herself and our program well.”
Grant concluded her 2008 campaign by earning her third All-America honor in the discus at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Despite battling injury all season, Grant threw 50.26m to take eighth at the national meet. She was also the 2008 NCAA East Region Champion in the discus and was the 2005 ACC Champion in the event. Grant has earned all-conference honors in each of her three seasons of competition for the Cavaliers and holds Virginia’s all-time record in the throw.
In other events, Cavalier alumni Tomika Ferguson and Erin Crawford qualified for the next round of competition in their respective events. Ferguson, a 2007 graduate and two-time All-American at Virginia, qualified for the finals of the triple jump with an outdoor lifetime best jump of 13.47m. Her leap placed her 12th overall. Finals for the triple jump are scheduled for Sunday.
Crawford, an All-American and 2007 graduate, took 16th in the qualifying round of the 400m hurdles. She finished with a time of 58.30 and will advance to Saturday’s semifinals in attempts to reach Sunday’s finals.
“It was great to see Tomika compete the way she did,” Bungard said. “She pulled out a solid jump on her last attempt that advanced her to Sunday’s final. Erin ran a solid race, as well, but she knows that she has a better one in her. It will take a great effort to get into the finals, but she’s capable of it. She will come focused to the semifinals.”
In the shot put, volunteer assistant coach Adam Nelson is the top qualifier with his throw of 21.03m. He has advanced to Saturday’s finals where he will vie for his third U.S. Olympic Team.