ISU represented at Olympic Trials for two countries

By: ISU Communications and Marketing Staff, ISU Communications and Marketing Staff
June 21, 2012

Five current and former Indiana State University students will soon learn if they will join an elite group of past Sycamores as Olympic athletes.

Greggmar Swift and Felisha Johnson, along with recent Indiana State graduates Kylie Hutson, Erica Moore and Jordan Fife will spike up with the hopes of qualifying to compete during the 2012 Summer Games in London.

If they make the field, they will join the likes of ISU alumni Larry Bird, Benita Edds, Bryan Leturgez, Bruce Baumgartner and Kurt Thomas who have competed as Olympians. One though, if he qualifies, would race for his island nation.

Swift, a sophomore hurdler and Barbados national, has been competing in the hurdles for many years and with great success.

"He is a very gifted athlete," ISU men's track and field head coach McNichols said.

This weekend at National Stadium in Barbados, Swift will be racing on familiar territory at his home country's Olympic trials.

The 110-meter hurdler faces stiff competition as 2009 International Amateur Athletic Federation world champion Ryan Braithwaite and Shane Braithwaite of Texas Tech, a 2012 NCAA Division I All-American, are among the field joining Swift at the starting line this weekend.

Swift ran 13.55 seconds at the NCAA East Regional meet this spring, just three-one-hundredths of a second shy of the Olympic "A" standard. Both Braithwaites, who are not related, posted times below the Olympic "A" standard earning automatic bids. An automatic bid from Swift will allow Barbados to take the maximum of three hurdlers to the Olympics.

Swift has broken 13.52 seconds before at the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Championships where he ran 13.49 seconds earning the title of champion. However, due to high winds the time was not an official record.

"In my mind, going down there we will have great conditions, that'll he'll run the A standard for the Olympic Games," ISU men's track and field head coach John McNichols said.

Swift is no stranger to competing for his country. He has represented Barbados at various venues as a junior and senior athlete. He has already qualified to represent Barbados at the North American, Central American and Caribbean under-23 Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico.

"[Swift] will be wearing the Indiana State uniform this weekend," McNichols said.

Swift and most other Olympic hopefuls with ISU ties are in training and could not be reached for this article. One Sycamore has been training on the Indiana State campus in preparation for the U.S. Olympic trials, which begin this weekend in Eugene, Ore.

Junior Felisha Johnson of Indianapolis, Division I national champion in the women's weight throw and a three-time All American, will compete in the women's shot put.Johnson qualified for the trials at the 2012 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The Sycamore qualified for two events at nationals but after not being able to make the finals in the women's discus was eager to compete in the women's shot put.

"I just didn't want to be last," Johnson said. "Somebody's not getting a trophy and I didn't want to be that person."

Going into the final round of six throws, Johnson sat in ninth place. Johnson said after a fiery pep talk from ISU throwers coach Erin Gilreath she entered the ring and launched the shot 17.35 meters (56 feet-11 ¼ - inches). The distance clinched the fifth place position for the Sycamore and set a new school record.

The toss improved Johnson's ranking on the USA Track and Field Performance List to 16 and surpassed the trials' "B" standard for women's shot of 16.40 meters. The Sycamore is scheduled to throw on June 28.

"[My goal is to] just go in there like I've got nothing to lose," Johnson said. "Just need to do what I've been doing, focus on me and give my best."

Blast from the past

Former Sycamores Moore and Hutson compete professionally for Nike in the 800 meters and women's pole vault respectively and both athletes hope to don the team USA uniform once more following the trials.

It has been an exciting year for Moore who placed third for Team USA in the women's 800 meters in a time of 1:59:97 at the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. Moving outdoors, Moore has an outdoor season best of 2:00.72 at the 2012 Adidas Gran Prix in New York City. The times surpass the U.S. Olympic trials "A" standard of 2:01.30 and seven hundredth of a second of the Olympic A standard.Moore ranks fifth on the U.S. Track and Field Performance List.

Hutson qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials with a clearance of 14-feet-10-inches at the 2012 USA Track and Field Indoor Champions. The height surpassed the provisional ‘A' qualifying mark of 14-feet-9-inches (4.50 meters).

For the outdoor season, Hutson's season best is 14-feet-5 ¼ -inches. Hutson currently ranks fifth on the U.S. Track and Field Performance List.

Fife rounds out the field for the Sycamores. He surpassed the provisional qualifying mark for the trials when he ran 8:33.89 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. The ISU alumnus is just shy of the "A" standard of 8:32.00. His current time ranks 10th on the USA Track and Field Performance list. Fife competes for Brooks Indiana.

US Olympic Trials schedule

(all times Eastern Daylight)

Friday, June 22, 8 p.m. - 800 meter, first round - Erica Moore

Friday, June 22, 8:15 p.m. - pole vault qualifying - Kyleie Hutson

Saturday, June 23, 7:30 p.m. - 800-meter semi-finals - Erica Moore 

Sunday, June 24 - 5:25 p.m. - pole vault finals - Kylie Hutson

Monday, June 25 - 8:25 p.m. - 3000-meter steeple chase - Jordan Fife 

Monday, June 25 - 9:50 p.m. - 800-meter finals - Erica Moore

Thursday, June 28 - 8:40 p.m. - shotput qualifying - Felisha Johnson

Thursday, June 28 - 9:30 p.m. - 3000-meter steeple chase - Jordan Fife

Friday, June 29 - 6:30 p.m. - shotput final - Felisha Johnson 

Barbados Olympic Trials            

June 22-24, specific event times not available

Photos:http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/i-vKzNwXc/0/L/i-vKzNwXc-L.jpg - Greggmar Swift

http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Sports/Track-and-Field/Pacesetter-Invitational-2011/i-5N7ZhgM/0/L/042311pacesetter-7505-L.jpg - Felisha Johnson

http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/773174648_Gj3gd-L.jpg - Erica Moore

http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/579253388_GJWEe-L.jpg - Kylie Hutson

http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/260212264_2iXEC-L.jpg - Jordan Fife

Writer: Ernest Rollins, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773 or erollins1@sycamores.indstate.edu