Doug Robinson: 9 athletes with Utah ties to run at Olympic trials

Published: Tuesday, June 19 2012 7:40 p.m. MDT

After the Trials, Puskedra hopes to pick up a sponsor and run professionally. "I'd like to move toward the marathon in the next two years," he says. "I don't have the foot speed (for the 10K). To run at the world-class level, you have to be able to run a 53-second last lap."

In January, Puskedra made a great debut at the half-marathon distance, clocking 1:01:36 and placing fourth.

JOSH MCADAMS

3000-meter steeplechase

McAdams, the 2006 NCAA champ and 2007 and 2009 U.S. champ, placed third in the last Olympic Trials to make the U.S. team in Beijing (where he failed to make the final). While attending optometry school in Tennessee, he has finished fourth in the last two U.S. championships. For that reason, he is a forgotten man heading into the Trials — Track & Field News picks him to finish eighth. McAdams' coach, Ed Eyestone, thinks McAdams is going to surprise people.

"His training is going really well," says Eyestone. "I pity the guys who don't take him seriously. Heee's baaack."

NACHELLE (STEWART) MACKIE

800-meter run

Mackie has had a dream senior season at BYU, winning both the NCAA indoor and outdoor championships. Her best time is 2:01.06. She'll need to run 1:59 or better to make the team. She ran from the front in the NCAA meets; in the Trials, she can let others do the pace work and drag her to a sub-two-minute clocking.

KATIE PALMER

800-meter run

Palmer, who placed third in the NCAA indoor championships, has dual U.S.-Canada citizenship, which gives her a backup plan. If she achieves the A standard at the U.S. trials, but fails to place in the top three to qualify for London, she will fly immediately to the Canadian trials. So far, only two Canadian women have met the A standard of 1:59.90. Even if she fails to place in the top three at the Canadian trials, she could punch her ticket to London based on time. She recently produced a PR of 2:01.40 in Canada.

HEIDI (MCGILL) DAHL

800-meter run

At Mountain View High, she set state records in the 400, 800 and 1,600. She continued her running career at BYU for two years before transferring to East Tennessee State, where her husband was in medical school. Now she's attempting to make the Olympic team. She has a lifetime best of 2:00.88, but she hasn't approached that time this year.

MILES BATTY

1,500-meter run

Batty finished second in the 1,500 at the NCAA championships, missing victory by .01 of a second. He also set a collegiate indoor record of 3:54.54 in the mile. He has not met the A standard, so if he hopes to make the team he'll have to produce it in the Trials. He has to hope someone will push the pace rather than settle for a dawdling pace and a last-lap kick.

"I have a shot," says Batty, "but at the same time it's been a long collegiate season. Nobody expects too much out of the collegians."

CHRIS CARTER

400-meter hurdles

Carter was a prodigy as a true freshman at BYU in 2006, finishing third in the NCAA championships, running a PR of 49.19 (the ninth-fastest time in the U.S. that year) and winning the World Junior (19 and under) championships in Beijing.

But the early promise hasn't been realized. After serving a church mission, Carter has had many injury setbacks and has never returned to his freshman form. Early this month, he placed eighth in the NCAA championships and ran 50.08 — his best year since '06. He'll need to cut at least two more seconds or to have a shot at London.

JENNIFER (ROCKWELL) GROSSARTH

400-meter hurdles

Grossarth, a two-time All-American during her BYU days, is making her third appearance in the Olympic Trials. Her best finish was 11th in 2008. She had her best season in 2010, placing fourth in the U.S. championships and ranking in the top 25 in the world. She sat out the 2011 season to have a baby, but has returned to competition this year.

Email: drob@desnews.com

BEEHIVE STATE'S OLYMPIC TRACK HOPEFULS

Name, event College/High school

Miles Batty, 1,500-meter run BYU/Jordan High

Chris Carter, 400-meter hurdles BYU/Roy High

Heidi Dahl, 800-meter run BYU/Mtn.View

Jennifer Grossarth, 400-meter hurdles (BYU/Tooele High)

Shalaya Kipp, 3,000-meter steeplechase Colorado/Skyline

Katie Palmer, 800-meter run BYU

Nachelle Mackie, 800-meter run BYU/Spanish Fork

Josh McAdams, 3,000-meter steeplechase BYU

Luke Puskedra, 10,000-meter run Oregon/Judge Memorial

NOTE: Three other Utah athletes are waiting to learn if they qualify to compete in the trials, depending on the final declarations and scratches of other athletes ranked ahead of them. Those athletes are: Victor Weirich (BYU) in the pole vault, Sarah Callister (Weber State/Ogden High) in the 10,000 meters, and Brett Hales (Weber State/Ogden High) in the steeplechase.

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