June 22, 2012
STORRS, Conn. - The Olympic Trials begin this week and the UConn women's track and field program will have five current or former student-athletes and coaches looking to earn a spot into the most prestigious meet in the world. The UConn program has athletes competing for spots on Team USA, Jamaica and Canada for the upcoming London Olympics.
Competing at the USA Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. are current student-athlete Natasha McLaren and volunteer assistant coaches April Garner (UConn '05, G '06) and Latosha Wallace(Arizona State '07).
Trisha-Ann Hawthorne (UConn '11), the most decorated student-athlete in the history of UConn women's track and field, will compete for a spot on Team Jamaica. Phylicia George(UConn '10) will be competing at the Canadian Olympic Trials.
"With five individuals - three former members of our team, one current member, and two volunteer coaches (April is also a former member) this is a substantial group to travel to the trials with ties to our university," said head coach Bill Morgan. "The most likely and with legitimate opportunities to make their respective teams are George, Hawthorne and Wallace."
Fans can follow all of the USA Olympic Trials at http://tracktown12.gotracktownusa.com/
McLaren will be entering her junior year at UConn in the fall of 2012. She competes in the high jump trials on Thursday, June 28. 24 athletes begin the qualifying round, leading to a 12-person final. This past season, McLaren placed third at the NCAA Indoor Championships, earning All-America honors with a leap of 1.81m 1.81m (5ft-11 ¼ in). McLaren qualified for the trials with an impressive leap of 1.88m (6ft-1 ½ in) en route towards winning the ECAC Indoor Championship.
Garner has served on the UConn coaching staff since her graduation in 2005. During her time at Connecticut, she tallied four individual New England Championship titles, an ECAC championship title, and NCAA regional and national standards. She finished her career as the school record holder in the 55 hurdles, 60 hurdles, and 100 hurdles.
Garner will look for a spot on Team USA in the 100 hurdles. The first round with 32 athletes begins Friday, June 22. The semifinals with 18 runners will take place on Saturday afternoon with the finals to begin at 5:45 that evening with just eight sprinters.
Wallace recently joined the UConn coaching staff as a volunteer this past season after two successful years as a student-athlete at national power Arizona State in 2006 and 2007. Wallace earned All-America honors in the 400m hurldes and 400m relay as a senior at Arizona State. She will compete in the 400m hurdles on Thursday, June 28. The qualifying round of 28 runners beings at 5:30. The top-16 will advance to the semifinals at 3:20 on June 29, followed by the finals with eight runners on Sunday, July 1 at 4:02 p.m.
Hawthorne will compete for a spot in the prestigious 100m and the 100m relay squad for Team Jamaica. The most decorated student-athlete in UConn track history, she finished her career with 16 BIG EAST titles which ranks third all-time in BIG EAST history. She became the first athlete in BIG EAST history, men or women, to four-peat in two separate events (100m, 200m). Hawthorne earned All-America status in the 100m in 2010, placing seventh. She placed 16th in the 60m during the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships to earn Second Team All-America honors.
George will be vying for a position with Team Canada in the 100m hurdles. George recently placed seventh in the 100m at the 2011 World Track and Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea with a personal record time of 12.73. As a Husky, George set numerous records, including the 55m dash (7.69), 60m dash (8.24), 100m hurdles (13.39) and was part of the 4x200m relay (1:39.46) team which holds the school record.