Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - June 21, 2006

Camarena will give it her best shot

by Keith Peters

Talk about bad timing. It was just two year ago that Stanford's Jill Camarena qualified for the 2004 U.S. Olympic track and field team in the women's shot put. Unfortunately for Camarena, she didn't reach the qualifying standard to compete in Athens, Greece, and stayed home.

This season, Camarena finally broke the 60-foot barrier with a lifetime best of 60-11 1/2 in April. She followed that with a throw of 61-4 on May 6 and reached another personal record of 61-6 3/4 on May 20. That put her No. 9 on the all-time U.S. in the women's shot put.

Camarena will be among the favorites this week at the 2006 AT&T USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Indianapolis. Unfortunately for the Stanford grad, there are no teams for the World Championships or Olympic Games to this summer.

The best Camarena can do is make the U.S. team for the IAAF World Cup of Athletics, set for Sept. 9-16 in Stuttgart, Germany. The 2006 USA Outdoor Junior Championships take place concurrently with the Outdoor Championships, as the selection meet for the 2006 World Junior Championships in Beijing, China.

Camarena is one of many local athletes who will be competing this week in Indianapolis.

On the women's side, Menlo Park's Grace Upshaw is among the favorites in the women's long jump; Stanford employee Kristin Heaston will challenge Camarena in the shot put; Stanford grad Lauren Fleshman has the top qualifying mark in the 5,000 and will be joined by former teammate Sara Bei-Hall; Stanford grad Summer Pierson will challenge the best in the discus and recent Cardinal grad Sarah Hopping will compete in the hammer.

On the men's side, Cardinal grad and 2005 Olympian Toby Stevenson goes in the men's pole vault; Stanford grad and 2003 U.S. champ Jason Lunn is in the 1,500 along with a handful of Farm Team runners like Chris Estwanik; Ryan Hall and Ian Dobson, who went one-two in the 5,000 last year, are back to defend those finishes; Cardinal grad Nick Welihozkiy is set in the hammer; and Stanford's Neftalem Arai will go in the 10,000.

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