Hyleas Fountain is on pace to win the Olympic Trials and advance to her second straight Olympic Games in the heptathlon.
June 30, 2012
EUGENE, Ore. --- Former Lady Bulldog Hyleas Fountain surged into a commanding day one lead during the heptathlon at the Olympic Track & Field Trials in Eugene, Ore., on Friday.
Fountain, who had two runner-up finishes in her four events, scored 3,948 points and has a comfortable lead over Sharon Day (3,797) and Chantae McMillan (3,762) going into the final three events on Saturday.
In addition, ex-Bulldog All-American Justin Gaymon advanced to his second consecutive 400-meter hurdle finals after crossing the finish line in 49.37
Fountain cranks up her second day in the heptathlon (long jump, javelin, 800) at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday while Gaymon, who had raced in the prelims and semifinals in back-to-back days, competes for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team on Sunday at 7:12 p.m.
In the opening event of the heptathlon, Fountain approached her personal-best mark of 12.78 in the 100 hurdles, which was set while winning a Silver medal at the 2008 Olympics. She clocked a 12.86 to finish second in her heat and second overall.
Fountain returned in the high jump and cleared the bar at 6 feet, 1 ½ inches on her third try. After passing on the first nine heights, Fountain posted five clearances and was only topped by UCSB’s Barbara Nwaba, who cleared the same height on her second try.
The shot put had the second- through fifth-place finishers all score within 30 points of each other as Fountain took fifth with an effort of 43-2.50. Launching her top effort on her final attempt, Fountain continued to hold her competition lead as Chantae McMillan cruised past the field in the shot with an opening toss of 49-3.50. This was nearly five feet farther than the second-place finisher.
Returning to the track in the 200, Fountain was third in her heat and third overall after recording a time of 23.84. This gave the Olympic veteran a 151-point lead and put her on pace to not only finish in the top three, but also hit the “A” standard (6,150) necessary to advance to the Games.
Fountain won four of the Georgia women’s 22 all-time NCAA individual titles. She was a seven-time All-American for the Lady Bulldogs during her two years in Athens.
Gaymon became one of eight finalists for the 400 hurdle finals after speeding across the finish line in 49.37. He finished behind Bershawn Jackson (48.83), who was the Bronze medalist in 2008, and Kerron Clement (49.04), who captured the Silver in Beijing, in the opening heat and had the fifth-fastest time in the semifinals.
Gaymon owns the school record after crossing the finish line in 48.46 at the 2008 Olympic Trials as he advanced to the finals and finished one spot out of earing a spot on the U.S. team by just .04 seconds. The New Jersey native was a five-time All-American at Georgia and captured the 2007 and 2008 Southeastern Conference titles in the hurdles.
LaRon Bennett, who was battling to also advance to his second Olympic Trials finals in a row, finished fifth in Gaymon’s heat and 11th overall, narrowly missing the finals.
Live results and a recap from the Trials can be found at georgiadogs.com.