EUGENE, Oregon – Two Aggies were part of a finals only Sunday during the U.S. Olympic Team Trials at Hayward Field. Incoming A&M frosh Shelbi Vaughan placed fourth in the discus while 2011 NCAA champion Jessica Beard finished eighth in the 400 meters.
On Monday, Texas A&M junior Sam Humphreys will contest the final of the men’s javelin.
With a season that has included breaking the national high school record and the American Junior record in the discus, Shelbi Vaughan challenged the best U.S. throwers and placed fourth with an effort of 195 feet, 9 inches (59.68).
“It’s been an unbelievable experience,” stated Vaughan. “I’m 17 years old and came in here competing older throwers. Just being able to have this experience is great.”
When Vaughan threw her best mark in the second round she was in third place, but still required the Olympic A standard of 203-5 (62.00) to make the team that would go to London.
“I was hoping I could keep third place, move up to the A standard and be on the Olympic team,” Vaughan said.
Stephanie Trafton Brown, the defending Olympic champion, won the competition with a 213-10 (65.18). She held the lead from the opening round when she hit a mark of 207-8 (63.30).
Aretha Thurmond finished second with a 204-2 (62.23) while Suzy Powell-Roos moved ahead of Vaughan into third place with a 197-8 (60.20) in the fourth round. However, Powell-Roos also needed the Olympic A standard. The third thrower bound for London will be Gia Lewis-Smallwood, who finished sixth at 192-10 (58.78).
Vaughan, throwing sixth among the 12 finalists, opened her day with a 189-10 (57.87), and then improved to 195-9. In the third round she reached a distance of 193-6 (58.98).
When the field of 12 was trimmed to eight for the final three rounds, Vaughan was the sixth thrower again as she stood in third place. A foul in the fourth stanza was followed by a 188-9 (57.53) in the fifth round. Down to her last throw Vaughan released the discus too early and it resulted in a foul.
“I was thinking about past practices when I was throwing that far, just trying to replay the spin and technique in my head trying to reach the A standard,” noted Vaughan.
“The last throw actually felt really great, I just let go a little too early. If the net wasn’t there and had let go just a little bit later it would have been a really far throw.”
On the track Beard raced from lane two in the women’s 400 final and clocked a time of 51.52 for eighth place.
Sanya Richards-Ross won the 400 title in 49.28, matching the Olympic Trials meet record set in 1984 by Chandra Cheeseborough. Dee Dee Trotter ran 50.02 for second place while Francena McCorory claimed third in 50.43 over a 50.78 from Debbie Dunn in fourth place.