Defending women’s long jump gold medalist Brittney Reese looks ready for Rio. The Gulfport High School star broke records as she made the U.S. track and field team.
Reese jumped 7.31 meters, or 23 feet, and 11 3/4 inches, which is just nine inches short of breaking the world record. She did tie the longest jump at Hayward Field, where the track trials are being held.
The former University of Mississippi standout also broke the Olympic trials record of 23 feet and 8 1/4 inches. She made the longest jump in the world since 2004 and the longest jump for an American since 1998.
Reese was still short of the world record of 24 feet and 8 1/4 inches and the American record of 24 feet and 6 3/4 inches , which the great Jackie Joyner-Kersee holds. Tianna Bartoletta, 2015 world champion, finished second in the event, and Shakeela Saunders finished in third. Those three should be a strong group for the American team in Rio.
So far, Reese isn’t the only Mississippian to make the Olympic team in track and field. Tori Bowie, former Pisgah High School star and Sandhill, Miss., native, punched her ticket to Rio in the 100 meters.
English Gardner won the women’s 100 meters with a time of 10.74 seconds. Bartoletta was second in the event.
With a time of 10.78, Bowie finished third, as she lost her first race in the 100 meters all year. A long jumper until 2014, the former University of Southern Mississippi star is one of the favorites to win gold in Rio in the 100 meters.
Next up for Bowie is to try and make the U.S. team in the 200 meters. She has run the fastest time in the 200 meters for an American this year with a time of 21.99 seconds.
While Reese and Bowie are heading to Rio, two other athletes with ties to Mississippi just missed out on making the team.
NCAA champion in the javelin Curtis Thompson set a new personal best of 271 feet and 11 inches. That left him five inches short of a qualifying mark for Rio of 272 feet and four inches. Thompson finished second in the event.
Cyrus Hostetler won the men’s javelin with a throw of 273 feet and one inch. The other two members joining Hostetler are Sam Crouser, who finished fourth with a throw of 256 feet and one inch, and Sean Furey, who finished 11th with a throw of 227 feet and 10 inches. Only Hostetler, Crouser and Furey had the qualifying mark to reach Rio heading into the event.
University of Mississippi star Craig Engels finished fourth in the men’s 800 meters, just missing third place and a spot on the Olympic team. Engles posted a time of 1:46.03, completing an impressive showing at the trials.
Clayton Murphy finished first with a time of 1:44.76, with Boris Berian in second with a time of 1:44.92. Charles Jock finished third with a time of 1:45.48, rounding out the three heading to Rio.