Several current and former Arkansas State track and field athletes find themselves on the verge of qualifying for the 2020 United States Olympic Trials, held June 18-27 in Eugene, Oregon.
Athletes have until Sunday, June 6, 2021, to earn qualifying marks. Reigning champions and those who meet the Olympic standards automatically qualify for each event, while the final spots in each event are filled out by hopefuls who do not necessarily have Olympic-standard marks.
Sharika Nelvis, a Bowerman finalist and NCAA sprint hurdles champion while with the Red Wolves, has earned an automatic-qualifying spot with a time of 12.65 in the 100m hurdles.
A-State All-American Caitland Smith is an automatic qualifier in a pair of events, notching Olympic qualifying standard times in the 100m (11.08) and 200m (22.75).
A trio of Red Wolves – Bennett Pascoe, Carter Shell and Michael Carr – are clinging to the final qualifying spots for the Trials.
Pascoe is currently vying for a spot as one of the 24 selections in the 3000m steeplechase. The Conway, Arkansas, native ran a school-record 8:38.12 to break a 50-year-old school record in the event and take over the NCAA lead. He currently ranks ninth overall in the U.S. and inside the top 25 in the world.
Shell has continued to showcase why he was an All-American long jumper in 2019, with his jump of 7.96m (26-1.5) putting him in the mix for one of the 24 spots. Rounding out the hopefuls currently slated for qualifying spots is Jonesboro native Michael Carr. The pole vault school-record holder’s clearance of 5.70m (18-8.25), attained at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships, has him among the top 24 qualifiers.
Arkansas State track and field has a strong history of Olympians, with the school having been represented by at least one athlete in every Summer Olympics from 1972 to 2012. A-State has three medalists in its history – Thomas Hill (bronze, 1972 Munich), Earl Bell (bronze, 1984 Los Angeles) and Al Joyner (gold, 1984 Los Angeles).
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