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6 25 21 hilary bor

Bor_Hilary-OlyTrials21w.jpgHillary Bor took the steeplechase with a fast last lap in the heat of Eugene, photo by Kevmofoto

6 25 21 hayward field

Hayward_Field-Panow.jpgHayward Field, June 2021, photo by Kevmofoto


USA Olympic Trials / Track & Field

University of Oregon / Hayward Field

Eugene, Oregon

Trials / Day Eight:


June 25th , 2021

In Friday's afternoon session under hot and sunny conditions, discus specialist Mason Finley and steeplechase athlete Hillary Bor made it to the top step of the podium in the only final competitions of Day Eight.


In the Thursday qualifying round of the discus, Legend Boyesen Hayes posted the best mark - a throw of 205'4"/62.60m as the top 12 of the 25 qualifying round athletes advanced to the final. Friday's final, former University of Pennsylvania star Sam Mattis grabbed the early lead with an opening-round spin of 205'1"/62.51m. With an opening effort of 204'0"/62.19m, Brian Williamsslid into 2nd with Ironwood Track Club's Reggie Jagers (200"5/61.08m) in 3rd after the first round.

A 2nd round throw by Hayes (202'11"/61.85m) moved the top qualifier into 3rd , pushing Jagersdown to 4th and out of the top 3 Tokyo positions.

Meanwhile, Mason Finley, the defending Olympic Trials champion in this event, was having difficulty getting it going, fouling on his first attempt, posting unimpressive marks in Rounds Two and Three, and placing him in the 5th spot. Finley, struggling with pesky back issues and only in his 3rd competition of this outdoor season, finally broke through in the 4th round with a throw of 206'0"/62.80m to jump into the lead, knocking Mattis down to 2nd, Williams to 3rd and Hayes to 4th.

Having found his rhythm, the 2017 world championship bronze medalist struck again in the 5th round with a twirl of 206'11'/63.07m, thus strengthening his hold on the #1 position. In 5th position and off the podium, Jagers needed a big throw on his 6th round attempt to snare a Tokyo ticket. He got it. With a magnificent throw of 205'5"/62.61m, Jagers moved up to 2nd , knocking Mattis down to 3rd and Williams down to 4th .. As the next thrower up, Williams was unable to improve as his Olympic opportunity slid away.

After a successful Trials defense, Finley was joined on the podium by 2nd place Jagers and 3rd placer Mattis, a former NCAA and USA champion. As the only discus finalists with the Olympic qualifying standard (216'6"/66.00m), the outcome was clear: this trio will represent the USA in the Tokyo Games.

Afterward, Finley analyzed his performance. "Coming in, my warmups weren't going great. My first three throws weren't going great. I stopped trying to tweak things and said 'you gotta just make this team'. I ended up turning a bad day kind of into a good day," explained the winner who went on to share what it means to him to be a two-time Olympic Trials champion... "It's huge. I've been having a lot of back issues this season and by the time I got here, I didn't even know if I was going to compete. I met a really great chiropractor that's here. He got me to enough to where I could be back and be the champion."

The concluding event of Day Eight was the final of the men's 3000m steeplechase. With only 6 of the finalists possessing the all-important Olympic qualifying standard [8:22.00], the expectation was that the race pace in the final would be honest and standard-worthy.

With temperatures in the 90's the race got underway, standardless Donn Cabral did what he had to do: he rushed to the front at the crack of the starter's pistol to force a quicker tempo. A six-pack of the top qualifiers - Bor, Mason Ferlic, Isaac Updike, Benard Keter, Daniel Michalski, and Sean McGorty - were content to tuck in behind the 2-time Olympic steeplechase finalist and let him set the pace. Cabral looked strong and comfortable as the former NCAA champion clicked off the laps.

With two laps remaining, Bor, a winner of one of the preliminary races held Monday, and Ferlic, a former University of Michigan star, moved right behind the Princeton athlete as the pace began to quicken. At the penultimate water jump - with about 500 meters remaining - Bor made a strong move into the lead, a dash quickly covered by Ferlic, Keter Michalski, and Updike. In the blink of an eye, Cabral went from pacesetter to 6th. It was Bor, Keter, and Ferlic at the bell as the trio was beginning to separate from the others. On the final circuit Bor (59.60 for 8:21.34) was able to hold off Keter (59.06 for 8:21.81)) while a strong finish by Ferlic (60.02 for 8:22.05) ensured him the final Olympic berth. The 2021 Olympians were followed by Michalski (8:22.54), Updike (8:24.72), and Cabral (8:25.95).

"It's a big accomplishment," said Bor about his Trials victory. "I didn't expect to make the team in 2016, it was a surprise. Now I have pressure from people expecting me to make the team. I couldn't sleep last night. The field was deep this year. All the guys were tough to beat. I was coming here to execute my race. It was tough but a big accomplishment. I wanted to make sure 2016 wasn't a fluke. You can't ask better than being a second-time Olympian."

Newly-minted Olympian Mason Ferlic shared his thoughts about the early pace and the furious final 500 meters. "I tried to conserve energy knowing coming out that at the penultimate water jump we'd get rolling," offers the former Michigan star who went on to explain why this year resulted in impressive progression for him. "I just found myself in this sport," confided the 3rd place finisher. "And thankfully it was at the right time - in an Olympic year." / Dave Hunter /

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Dunaway AwardAt the 2019 annual meeting of the Track and Field Writers of America, Dave was presented with the James Dunaway Memorial Award “for track & field journalism excellence.”

Dave Hunter

Dave HunterDave Hunter is a track & field journalist, announcer, and broadcaster.  Dave reports on the premier track & field gatherings around the globe, frequently serves as an arena or stadium announcer for championship events, and has undertaken foreign and domestic broadcast assignments in the sport.


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