AUSTIN, Texas -- Over the next week or so, five University of Texas men's track and field athletes will attempt to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team and a chance to represent the United States at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The Olympic Trials will be held June 27-July 6 at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Coverage of the Trials can be seen on NBC and USA Network. The following former or current members of the men's Longhorn track and field team will be competing at the trials.
Trey Hardee (Decathlon)
Posted a score of 8,371 points at the 2008 Texas Relays, which is the top score among Americans this year and fourth-most in the world for 2008. His 8,371 points puts him above the Olympic "A" standard (7,900 points), so a top three finish at the Trials will place Hardee on the Olympic team. His primary competition will come from the three athletes that represented the U.S. in the decathlon at the 2004 Games, Bryan Clay (2004 Silver medalist/8,820 points), Tom Pappas (2007 USA Outdoor champion/8,352 points), and Paul Terek (2007 USA Outdoors runner-up/8,064 points). Hardee's 8,371 score at the Texas Relays is the second-highest score by an American in the past two years, trailing only Bryan Clay's score of 8,493 points on May 28, 2007. The decathlon will take place June 29-30.
Andra Manson (High Jump)
Has cleared a height of 2.33 meters (7-7 3/4) in winning the 2008 Texas Relays title, currently the world's third-best mark not at altitude. His main competition will come from Dusty Jonas, formerly of Nebraska, whose top mark of 2.36 meters was set in altitude in Boulder, Colo. His clearance of 2.33 meters surpasses the Olympic "A" standard (2.28 meters), so a top three finish at the Trials will place him on the Olympic team. Qualifying for the men's high jump will begin at 6:25 p.m. Central on Thursday, July 3.
Leonel (Leo) Manzano (1,500 Meters)
Three-time NCAA Champion in the 1,500 meters, winning the 2008 NCAA Championship June 13 with a time of 3:41.25, more than a second better than the rest of the field. Manzano finished second at the 2007 U.S. Outdoor Championships, with a time of 3:35.29, which allowed him to compete at the 2007 World Championships. His time of 3:36.24 at the 2008 Big 12 Championships is currently the second best time among Americans for this year. He has bettered the Olympic "A" standard (3:39.00), so a top three finish at the Trials will send him to Beijing. The 1,500 meters quarterfinals will begin at 7:25 p.m. Central on Thursday, July 3.
Jacob Hernandez (800 Meters)
Won the 2008 NCAA Championship on June 13 with a time of 1:45.31, which is also a school record. That mark ranks as the third-best on the U.S. list for 2008. He has beaten the Olympic "A" standard (1:46.50), so a top three finish at the Trials will put him on the Olympic team. The 800 meters quarterfinals will commence at 7:20 p.m. Central on Friday, June 27.
Jake Morse (3,000m Steeplechase)
The former Longhorn All-American posted a time of 8:30.19, which is good for the third-best time among Americans this year. His time betters the Olympic "A" standard of 8:32.00, so a top three finish will qualify Morse for the 2008 Olympic team. The 3,000 meter Steeplechase semifinals will begin at 8:10 p.m. Central on Thursday, July 3.