US Olympic Trials 2016: Track and Field Results, Qualifying Times for Thursday

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIJuly 8, 2016

Michelle Carter competes during the women’s shop put final at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Eugene Ore. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

U.S. Olympic trials in track and field for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro continued on Thursday with three women's finals on the slate at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.   

The women's shot put was the first up, followed by the triple jump and the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Making matters even more difficult for the athletes was the presence of rain, adding an unforeseen element to the pressure-packed atmosphere.

Below is a brief recap of what happened in each event, along the winning qualifying distances and times from Thursday's action.

Women's Shot Put

Place Athlete Result (Meters)
1Michelle Carter19.59
2Raven Saunders19.24
3Felisha Johnson19.23
4Tia Brooks18.94
5Jill Camarena-Williams18.81
6Brittany Smith18.58
7Chase Ealey18.46
8Jeneva Stevens18.25
9Christina Hillman17.17
10Kearsten Peoples16.17
Source: USATF.org

The conclusion to the first final event was nothing short of spectacular. With two rounds remaining, the drama started to pick up when Raven Saunders vaulted into first with a 19.24-meter throw.

Saunders' launch barely edged out Felisha Johnson, who'd just gone into first on her fifth throw of the day. That set the stage for Michelle Carter to save her best for last, courtesy of NBC Olympics:

Having won the bronze medal at last year's World Championships in Beijing, Carter has the talent to potentially be on the Summer Olympics podium. All three American qualifiers pushed each other and should represent the U.S. well in Rio.

As a result of the clutch throws from Johnson and Saunders down the stretch, Tia Brooks just missed out on a spot on the Olympic team. Brooks, 25, should be in the mix the next time around, though, considering she made the trip to London in 2012.

Women's Triple Jump

Place Athlete Result (Meters)
1Keturah Orji14.32
2Christina Epps14.17
3Andrea Geubelle13.95
4Imani Oliver13.83
5Ciarra Brewer13.80
6April Sinkler13.34
7Toni Smith13.27
8Lynnika Pitts13.26
9Tori Franklin13.13
10Amanda Smock13.12
11Crystal Manning13.11
12Bria Matthews13.04
Source: USATF.org

Less than one month ago on June 11, University of Georgia star Keturah Orji was in Eugene competing in the NCAA Championships, where she set an American triple-jump record of 14.53 meters.

Although she fell short of that mark on Thursday, Orji didn't need to go that far to win the trial, logging a 14.32-meter result on her fifth of six attempts.

Andrea Geubelle and Christina Epps also had their best showings in their fifth turn, with Epps securing the last berth in Rio with her leap. USATF highlighted the significance of Epps' triple jump:

Orji is still the clear favorite to medal at the Summer Games, but Epps and Geubelle both impressed on the rain-doused surface at Hayward Field.

According to ESPN's Dwight Stones, only one other American athlete has made the Olympic final in the women's triple jump—Sheila Hudson, who finished 10th in 1996. There's at least a chance for Orji to make history in Rio with the best U.S. finish ever.

Women's 3,000m Steeplechase

Place Athlete Result (Minutes & Seconds)
1Emma Coburn9:17.48
2Courtney Frerichs9:20.92
3Colleen Quigley9:21.29
4Shalaya Kipp9:28.72
5Stephanie Garcia9:28.99
6Bridget Franek9:33.51
7Megan Rolland9:35.31
8Mel Lawrence9:36.35
9Ashley Higginson9:38.55
10Rena Williams-Chesser9:40.49
11Katie Landwehr9:41.22
12Jessica Kamilos9:45.42
13Nicole Bush9:58.04
14Leah O'Connor9:59.03
Source: USATF.org

Having finished ninth in this event at the 2012 London Games, Emma Coburn was a big favorite to finish first in Thursday's trial run, which she ultimately did by a considerable margin.

Coburn was trading spots as the front-runner with New Balance teammate Stephanie Garcia for much of the race but found an extra gear over the last two laps or so. The final lap was where Coburn really opened it up on the rest of the field, as can be seen below:

Unfortunately for Garcia, she fell over one of the barriers and, to add to the disappointment of that fall, got clipped by Shalaya Kipp right at the end and had to settle for fifth.

Courtney Frerichs and Colleen Quigley did well to keep up with Garcia to that point, though, and punched their tickets to the Olympics by finishing second and third, respectively.

With a fifth-place effort in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in the Beijing World Championships, Coburn has shown on the international stage that she has the ability to contend for a top-three spot in Rio's final.

Trial information courtesy of USATF.org.

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