June 28, 2012
• USA Olympic Trials Results
EUGENE, Ore. -- Megan Seidl’s first attempt of the day ended up leaving a lasting impression.
Coaches have long preached to high jumpers the value of clearing bars on their first attempt, something Seidl heard from Wisconsin assistant Nate Davis throughout her Badgers career.
Taking the words to heart Thursday paid dividends for Seidl at the 2012 USA Olympic Trials. The 2010 UW graduate failed to clear the second height of the qualifying round, but her first-attempt clearance at the opening bar ended up powering Seidl to a berth in the final.
Seidl easily cleared 5 feet, 10 1/2 inches on her first attempt at the competition’s opening height, one of 11 athletes to do so.
That immediately gave Seidl a leg up on the nine competitors that required multiple attempts to clear the first bar.
“That was the whole thing,” Seidl said. “It was very important.”
Only eight competitors cleared the next height at 6-0, leaving the door open to fill out the 12-person field for the final with some who cleared only the opener.
“Everyone who was clean got through,” Seidl said, “and everyone who wasn’t and missed the second bar didn’t get through.”
By virtue of her first-attempt success, Seidl tied for ninth and assured herself of moving on as one of 13 qualifiers for Saturday.
“I felt great, I just wasn’t planting correctly on the second bar,” Seidl said. “But I got my nerves out in this round. It’s like a weight off my shoulders.”
Now, in her third-consecutive U.S. championship meet, Seidl will look to improve upon the seventh-place finish she scored at the 2010 USA Outdoor Championships. She was 14th last year.
“I just have to go in with an attitude that there’s only 13 people,” said Seidl, who has a personal-best mark of 6-1 1/2, “and that I have to jump higher than I’ve ever jumped in my entire life.”
Also advancing was Badgers volunteer assistant coach Ayla Smith, who finished third in her preliminary heat of the women’s 400-meter hurdles to earn an automatic spot in Friday’s semifinal round. Smith, a graduate of Virginia, clocked in at 57.01 seconds and is one of 16 to advance.
Freshman Kelsey Card held her seed in the qualifying round of the women’s shot put but did not advance, throwing 51 feet, 9 1/4 inches on her final attempt.
It was Card’s first appearance at Hayward Field since winning the national junior title at the 2011 USA Junior Championships en route to a bronze medal at the 2011 Pan Am Junior Championships.
The Olympic Trials continue for the Badgers women Friday with senior Jessica Flax and sophomore Deanna Latham in the heptathlon and former volunteer assistant coach Alicia DeShasier in the quaifying round of the javelin.