Day 3 of the United States Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon, determined who will represent the Stars and Stripes at the 2016 Summer Games across three different disciplines.
The finals were held for women's discus throw, women's 10,000 meters and women's long jump, resulting in several athletes realizing their Olympic dreams by qualifying for August's global spectacular in Rio de Janeiro.
Here is a full rundown of results for each of the finals that were held, including a closer look at who will compete for Team USA in Brazil.
Women's Discus Throw
|Women's Discus Throw Final Results|
|5||Stephanie Brown Trafton||59.65|
Saturday represented a changing of the guard in United States women's discus throw. Three-time Olympian Stephanie Brown Trafton failed to qualify, while three first-time Olympians are heading to Rio.
Whitney Ashley paced the field with a top distance of 62.25 meters, followed by Texas A&M's Shelbi Vaughan and Kelsey Card of Wisconsin.
The U.S. Olympic Team offered congratulations to all three athletes for their clutch performances to reach the pinnacle of their sport:
Brown Trafton had been the standard-bearer for Team USA, as she took Olympic gold at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. She was the top American finisher at the 2012 London Olympics as well but fell less than a half-meter short of qualifying for Rio.
While Brown Trafton has long been the best American hope for medaling at the Olympics, the young trio who qualified is on the rise, and all three athletes are hungry to make names for themselves on the international stage.
Based on the 2012 Olympic results, Ashley must improve her top distance from Saturday by five meters in order to medal in Rio. This is a tall order, but it's a challenge she may be up for after knocking off an American discus legend in qualifying.
Women's 10,000 Meters
|Women's 10,000-Meter Final Results|
|11||Kaitlin Gregg Goodman||32:55.21|
After qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics in the 5,000-meter run, Molly Huddle did the same at a distance of 10,000 meters Saturday by taking first place over fellow qualifiers Emily Infeld and Marielle Hall.
The U.S. Olympic Team tweeted the following regarding the women's 10,000-meter squad for Rio de Janeiro:
Following her impressive performance, Huddle received praise from fellow 2012 United States Olympian Emma Coburn:
While Huddle won emphatically by more than four seconds and led from wire to wire, a huge improvement will be needed between now and the start of the Olympics if she is to truly contend for a medal.
Her time from Saturday's qualifying run would have placed her 15th at the London Olympics in the 10,000-meter final, while Infeld and Hall would have been far off the pace as well.
The United States women have two bronze medals to their credit in the 10,000 meters since it was first run at the Olympics in 1988. Although it seems unlikely they will add another medal in Rio, Huddle, Infeld and Hall should gain valuable experience on the world stage if nothing else.
Women's Long Jump
|Women's Long Jump Final Results|
A pair of reigning Olympic medalists are going back to the Summer Games, as Brittney Reese and Janay DeLoach both qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics in the women's long jump.
Reese is the defending gold medalist, and she finished first, followed by Tianna Bartoletta and DeLoach, who took bronze in London.
The U.S. Olympic Team gave a nod to their performances Saturday:
Reese's best jump came on her fourth attempt, and at 7.31 meters, it was one of the greatest jumps of all time in international competition, according to Athletics Weekly:
Her jump was nearly two-tenths of a meter better than the jump that won her gold in London, which makes her the overwhelming favorite to repeat the feat in Brazil.
DeLoach was in danger of missing the Olympics after taking bronze four years ago, but she turned in a clutch jump on her final attempt to make it, as Kevin Wells of KTUU pointed out:
The United States is second all time with seven women's long-jump medals in the Olympics, and with Reese, Bartoletta and DeLoach, it has a legitimate chance to sweep the stand in Rio.
Only Russia managed to do that in 2004, but it may have company if all three Americans maintain their forms in the coming weeks.
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