Olympic Hopefuls Head to Oregon

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
JUNE 20, 2012

NORMAN, Okla. -- Fifteen current and former University of Oklahoma track and field athletes are among more than 1,000 with entries in the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., June 21-July 1.

The top four finishers, who have achieved the Olympic qualifying standard, in each event and the top eight finishers in the 100- and 400-meter dashes will be named to the U.S. Olympic Track and Field team.

Senior Alexandra Acker (women's pole vault) and former Sooners Leslie Cole (women's 400 meters) and Candyce McGrone (women's 100) will be the first to compete in their respective qualifying sessions Friday, June 22, at Hayward Field.

Other Sooners entered include George Alex (men's 5,000), Brittany Borman (women's javelin), Tia Brooks (women's shot put), Luke Bryant (men's discus), Eric Cray (men's 400-meter hurdles), Riley Masters (men's 1,500) and Ti'Anca Mock (women's long jump). Former OU stars Ronnie Ash (men's 110-meter hurdles), Amy Backel (women's javelin), Kevin Bookout (men's shot put), Mookie Salaam (men's 100 and 200) and Toni Smith (women's triple jump) will also compete.

NBC will televise live from the Olympic Trials beginning with a two-hour broadcast on NBC Sports Network at 8 p.m. Central Friday, June 22.

The athletics portion of the London 2012 Summer Games begins at Olympic Stadium Friday, August 3.

OU Track & Field on Twitter | Olympic Trials Homepage | TV Schedule
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Alexandra Acker | Pole Vault
Acker (@aacker912) finished fifth in the women's pole vault at the 2012 NCAA National Outdoor Track and Field Championships, earning first-team All-America status. The Erie, Pa., native holds Oklahoma's records in both indoor and outdoor competition, where she has cleared a height of 14 feet, 3.25 inches (4.35 meters).

George Alex | 5,000 Meters
Alex (@ThatsSoGAlex) won three Big 12 titles in long distance events, winning the indoor 3,000-meter run and becoming the first Sooner to sweep the outdoor 5,000 and 10,000. The Phoenix, Ariz., native earned All-America honors with a ninth-place finish in the 5,000 at the 2012 NCAA National Championships.

Ronnie Ash | 110-Meter Hurdles
Ash transferred to Oklahoma from Bethune-Cookman and ran for the Sooners for before turning professional after his junior year in 2010. As a collegian, Ash won three national titles and was a five-time All-American. In April, Ash won the 110-meter hurdles at the Florida Relays in a field that included U.S. record holder and 2008 Olympic Games bronze medalist David Oliver and 2008 Olympic silver medalist David Payne. Ash has achieved the Olympic qualifying "A" standard.

Amy Backel | Javelin
Backel was the 2010 Big 12 champion in the javelin and earned All-America honors with a seventh-place throw at the NCAA Championships. Twice an Academic All-American, Backel graduated OU with a perfect 4.0 grade point average and was named the 2010 OU College of Engineering Outstanding Senior in Civil Engineering. The Dillsburg, Pa., native ranks ninth on the U.S. performance list with a best throw of 177-4 (54.06).

Kevin Bookout | Shot Put
Bookout (@KevinBookout), a native of Stroud, Okla., was a three-time All-American in the shot put while at OU and swept the 2007 Big 12 indoor and outdoor titles in the event as a senior. Bookout is one of the most recognizable sports figures from OU, having also won two Big 12 Championships as a member of the Sooners' basketball team. Bookout ranks 14th on the U.S. performance list with a best distance of 66 feet, 3.25 inches (20.20 meters). Bookout's mark surpassed the Olympic qualifying "B" standard.

Brittany Borman | Javelin
Borman (@Borman_Track) won the past two national championships in the javelin and is Oklahoma's record holder in the discus and javelin throws. The Festus, Mo., native is also a four-time Big 12 champion, having won both javelin and discus twice. At the Olympic Trials, she will compete in the javelin throw, where she is ranked third on the U.S. performance list with a season best of 194-11 (59.42). Her mark exceeds the Olympic qualifying "B" standard.

Tia Brooks | Shot Put
Brooks (@TiaRashone) swept the indoor and outdoor Big 12 and national titles in the shot put and is the school's record holder in the event. The junior from Grand Rapids, Mich., is one of just five Americans to record a shot put of more than 60 feet this season. Brooks is third on the U.S. performance list with a best of 62-4 (19.00), recorded during the indoor season, a mark that beats the Olympic qualifying "A" standard.

Luke Bryant | Discus
Bryant is a two-time Big 12 Champion in the discus throw (2009 and 2012) and finished third at the NCAA Championships. Bryant, a native of Clearwater, Kan., ranks 10th on the U.S. performance list (203-0, 61.87 m) and has an Oklahoma program record best throw of 205 feet, eight inches (62.68).

Leslie Cole | 400 Meters
Cole (@Leslie400m) has the sixth best in the 200 (22.63) by an American this year and the ninth best time in the 400 (51.46 seconds). During the indoor season, Cole was a member of the United States' gold-medal winning 4x400-meter relay. At OU, she was a five-time All-American who etched her name as a record holder in three events and leg of four relays. An Idabel (Okla.) High School graduate, she was a three-time state champion in the 200 (2002-04) and two-time winner of the 100 (2002-03), leading the Warriors to three Class 4A titles in her four years. Cole has reached the Olympic qualifying "A" standard in both the 200 and 400.

Eric Cray | 400-Meter Hurdles
Cray completed his athletics eligibility at Oklahoma after earning his undergraduate degree at Bethune-Cookman. The San Antonio native earned All-America honors with an 11th place finish in the 400-meter hurdle at the NCAA Championships and scored for the Sooners in three events -- the 400 hurdles, 4x100-meter relay and 4x400 -- at the Big 12 Championships.

Riley Masters | 1,500 Meters
Masters (@Riley_Masters), a junior at OU, was the Big 12 champion in the 1,500-meter run and set the school record with a time of 3:37.19 that ranks 15th on the U.S. performance list. A Bangor, Maine, native, Masters was a two-time All-American in the indoor mile while at the University of Maine before transferring to Oklahoma. Masters missed the NCAA Championships after falling in his regional qualifier but finished third at the Portland Track Festival in Oregon on June 9. Masters has surpassed the Olympic qualifying "B" standard.

Candyce McGrone | 100 Meters
McGrone (@TrackStar317) was the 2011 NCAA national champion in the 100-meter dash, winning in a school record 11.08. She also set OU's indoor 200-meter record (22.84) and was an eight-time All-American as a collegian. In her first professional season, the Indianapolis native finished sixth in the 60-meter dash at the 2012 U.S. National Indoor Championships. McGrone's 100 mark bests the Olympic qualifying "A" standard.

Ti'Anca Mock | Long Jump
Mock (@Chambrei2012) is a five-time All-American and OU's record holder for both the indoor and outdoor long jump. She finished third in the event at the Big 12 Championships and 12th at the NCAA Championships, receiving second-team All-America distinction. Mock finished 10th in the long jump at the 2011 USA Track and Field Championships and enters the Olympic Trials 15th on the U.S. performance list.

Mookie Salaam | 100 & 200 Meters
Salaam (@MookieSal) was a seven-time All-American in three years at Oklahoma. The Edmond, Okla., native set OU records in all four short sprints, indoors and outdoors, and was the national champion in the 200-meter dash in 2011. Salaam has one of just two non-wind-aided, sub-10-second (9.98 seconds) runs by an American this season and has the third-fastest entry mark (20.05) among the Olympic Trials qualifiers in the 200. Salaam has an Olympic qualifying "A" standard run in both the 100 and 200.

Toni Smith | Triple Jump
Smith earned All-America honors twice during her senior season for results in the NCAA indoor and outdoor championships in the triple jump. The Denver, Colo., native was a six-time All-Big 12 honoree and set the school's indoor and outdoor triple jump records. Smith is third on the U.S. performance list with a season best leap of 45-6.25 (13.87).



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