July 2, 2012
EUGENE, Ore. - Former UConn standout Phylicia George stamped her ticket to the 2012 Olympics in London after this weekend's Canadian Trials where she qualified to represent Canada in the 100 meter dash and the 100 meter hurdles. George led the way in the 100m dash with a first place finish in the finals with a time of 11.30 and was second in the 100 hurdles posting a time of 12.72, a new personal best.
"It was exceptional in having five athletes associated with our track and field program participate in Olympic trials that included three countries - United States, Jamaica and Canada," head women's cross country and track & field coach Bill Morgan said.
"From that group alumnus Phylicia George made the Canadian Olympic team that will compete in London. She won the 100 and placed second in the 100 hurdles to qualify in both events. I know the university embraces her results and looks to see one of ours take on the Olympic dream, which is now her reality. She becomes our program's third Olympian - Joanne Durant competing for Barbados in the sprints and Bethany Hart (hammer throw) for the USA in the winter Olympics as a bobsled member. With volunteer coaches Latosha Wallace and April Garner missing out in the long and short hurdles respectively and Trisha Hawthorne unable to advance in the 100 we also feel the other side of incredible efforts falling short - a realism of placing a chance to represent your country in a four-year commitment of training and preparing. Present member Natasha McLaren should take the experience of competing in her first trials as a challenge to prepare for the future. With three more years of collegiate track she is capable of great outcomes.
"Combined there is a great feeling of satisfaction in seeing the representation we had - the program is certainly making great strides - very proud of the stature this group has brought us."
"George recently placed seventh in the 100m hurdles at the 2011 World Track and Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea with a 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."
The University of Connecticut women's track and field program sent three to the 2012 USA Olympic Trials current Husky Natasha McLaren and volunteer assistant coaches April Garner (UConn `05, G `06) and Latosha Wallace (Arizona State `07).
McLaren will be entering her junior year at UConn in the fall of 2012. 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.
McLaren finished 14th in the high jump preliminary round with a leap of 1.79m (5-10 ½) which did not advance the Stroudsburg, Pa. native to the finals.
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 ran in the 100m hurdles in Eugene and reached the semis after posting a mark of 13.20 during the qualifying round. She was unable to advance to the finals as she finished seventh in her heat with a time of 13.24.
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.
Wallace was outstanding in the prelims of the 400 hurdles where she finished second in her heat in 56.53 earning a seat in the semifinals. In the semis, Wallace was .01 seconds behind the last advancing athlete as she finished in 55.78 to end her time at the Trials.
For more information on the USA Olympic Trials and full results click here.