Stanford's Elise Cranny and incoming freshman Christina Aragon advanced to the women's 1,500-meter semifinals at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials on Thursday at Hayward Field.
Cranny and Aragon each finished third in their heats to advance on place to Friday's semifinals. Cranny, who capped her sophomore year as the NCAA outdoor runner-up last month, ran 4:23.59. Aragon, a recent graduate of Billings (Mont.) Senior High School, ran 4:14.06 in the fastest heat of the day.
Stanford's Mackenzie Little, the Pac-12 champion as a freshman this year, was 17th in the women's javelin and did not advance to the 12-thrower final. Little threw 169-0, achieving that on the second of three throws.
Two-time Olympian Jillian Camarena-Williams '04 was unable to make her third Olympic team, finishing fifth in the shot put at 61-8 ½. Camarena-Williams, an 11-time U.S. champion and a 2011 World Championship bronze medalist, had said this would be her final Olympic Trials.
The rain began shortly before the competition began and Camarena-Williams slipped in the ring after unleashing her first throw, having to brace herself with both hands on the ground to keep from falling.
Camarena-Williams had her best throw on her third of six attempts, moving into third place and qualifying position for the U.S. team for the upcoming Rio Games. However, by her final throw, she was fifth and needed a 1 ½-foot improvement for third. However, her final put was well short, at 61-3.
Two other Stanford alumnae advanced. Sara Bei Hall '05 reached the 5,000 final and Kori Carter '14, moved into the 400 hurdles semis. Hall ran 15:42.70 to place fifth in the first of two heats to advance on place. Carter, the 2013 NCAA champ, was third in her first-round heat in 55.79, one spot out of automatic qualifying, but fast enough to advance on time.
The 400 hurdles semifinals are Friday and the 5,000 final is Sunday.
Cranny and Aragon ran near-flawless races in terms of staying out of trouble and securing qualifying places. Cranny started on the inside lane and quickly took the inside rail, but held back just enough to allow someone else to take the lead. She held her position until the leader, Melissa Salerno, started to fade with 600 to go.
Though jostled a little bit on the penultimate lap, Cranny kept her composure and made an aggressive move with 200 left to stay in the six-runner front pack. With the top six advancing automatically, Cranny had her spot, but maintained her pace to the finish.
Aragon stayed back for much of her race and was seventh at the bell, but shortly after had to sidestep a collision that took two runners out in front her on the curve. Aragon looked strong on the backstretch as she moved up to third and maintained her position even as a wall of runners shadowed her in the final meters.
Cranny and Aragon are among 24 still alive for an Olympic berth, though neither Cranny nor Aragon has reached the Olympic standard of 4:07.00. Their semifinal is scheduled for 5:03 p.m.
Thus far, no Stanford-affiliated athletes have made the U.S. team. Camarena-Williams and discus thrower Valarie Allman, a rising senior who was sixth, have come closest. However, two Stanford grads have secured spots in Rio: Justine Fedronic '13 in the 800 for France, and Katerina Stefanidi '12 in the pole vault for Greece.