Adam Jude / Special to The Forum, Published June 23 2012
Ex-NDSU athlete Smock has top qualifying mark in triple jump at Olympic Trials
Smock, the 29-year-old former North Dakota State standout, had the top qualifying mark in the women’s triple jump at 45 feet, 3 ½ inches on her second attempt Saturday afternoon. She advances to the final at 7:45 p.m. CDT Monday.
After winning the 2011 U.S. outdoor title, Smock entered the Trials as the heavy favorite. She’s also the only triple jumper who has the Olympic “B” standard. That means, should she hold form and finish in the top three on Monday, she stands to be the lone Team USA representative to the London Games.
For Roesler, the Fargo South graduate, her second trip to the Olympic Trials came to a frustrating end during the semifinals of the women’s 800 meters.
Running in a loaded second heat, Roesler found herself boxed in one lap into the race, sitting in sixth place.
After running on the outside for much of her first-round race on Friday, Roesler made the decision to stick to the inside on Saturday.
“It wasn’t the right strategy today,” she said.
Roesler, a 20-year-old University of Oregon sophomore, wasn’t able to break away from the back pack until the final turn, when she paused, kicked wide and surged into fourth place in 2 minutes, 3.35 seconds.
It wasn’t quite enough.
With the top eight advancing to Monday’s final, Roesler ended up with the 10th-best time overall.
“I’m disappointed, because I’m now thinking about what I could’ve done in the final,” she said. “Strategically, I wanted to stay on the inside, because I knew it was going to go out fast. But then those girls just weren’t making any moves (directly) in front of me. I had to totally stop with 100, and you saw how much I had left. It’s a little disappointing because I was finishing so fast.”
Three-time U.S. champion Alysia Montano and 30-year-old veterans Alice Schmidt and Maggie Vessey broke away and finished 1-2-3 ahead of Roesler in their heat. Most consider those three the favorites to earn the three spots on Team USA.
“They’re going to do some serious damage in the (Olympic) Games,” Roesler said. “The 800 has gotten so strong in the U.S. that there’s no doubt in my mind they’re going to medal.”
Despite failing to advance, Roesler was able to put her breakthrough sophomore season into perspective, noting her first Pac-12 title (in the 800), her first all-America recognition and an NCAA title in the 4x400 relay.
“Some people would call that a dream season,” she said.
Elsewhere, former North Dakota State standout Riley Dolezal finished 17th in qualifying for the men’s javelin with a mark of 232 feet, 2 inches. He did not advance.
NDSU senior Leslie Brost is scheduled to compete in women’s pole vault qualifying today, an event postponed by inclement weather Friday.