U.S. Track & Field Trial results
EUGENE, Ore. - Brian Chaput, a 2004 Penn graduate, finished third in the javelin at the U.S. Track & Field Olympic Trials, which concluded Sunday at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Stadium.
However, in a bizarre set of circumstances, Chaput will not be heading to Beijing while one of the competitors who finished behind him -- Leigh Smith -- will be.
Because nobody met the Olympic A’ standard of 268 feet, 4 inches at the Trials, Smith -- who finished fifth with a top throw of 243-7 -- and second-place Mike Hazle (248-7) will represent the United States in Beijing. Both of them had exceeded the A’ standard in previous meets.
This marked the second time Chaput has put together a top-three finish at the Trials without actually qualifying for the Olympic Games. In 2004, he placed second overall but his top distance was not enough to get him to Athens.
"I came out and gave it my best effort,” he said Sunday night on the USA Track & Field website, usatf.org. “It kind of has been a roller-coaster season, with injuries and all. I gave it my best and you can never be too upset if you gave it your all. I was coming out looking for the A standard and obviously the winds weren't supporting today. It is what it is."
Chaput led into the third of Sunday’s six rounds with his opening throw of 248-1, which proved to be his best of the day. Bobby Smith won Sunday’s event with a throw of 249-6, followed by Hazle. Chris Hill (244-5) was fourth on the day, followed by Leigh Smith.
Chaput enjoyed a stellar career at Penn, and boasts the school record in the javelin (261-10, set in 2004). He won an NCAA title in 2003, and was a three-time Heptagonal champion from 2002-04. A two-time captain, Chaput was also a three-time Academic All-Ivy honoree, and in 2004 he received the Class of 1915 Award, considered the University’s highest honor for a senior male student-athlete.
"I am just going to go home and enjoy the season for what it was,” he said on usatf.org. “I need to assess the situation and decide whether I want to move forward or not and do this. We will see what happens.
“It is a little bittersweet to come in the top three twice in the last two Trials and not make the team. I am a pretty motivated guy. There is a good chance this will motivate me to continue. In any event, we have two great competitors who are representing the U.S. in Beijing in Mike and Leigh. I am proud of those guys, and I wish them the best."