Arkansas alum Erich Sullins was the first Razorback to compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials on Friday at Hayward Field and the UA hammer record holder advanced to Sunday’s final with a toss of 234 feet (71.32) during the qualifying round.
Sullins also becomes the first thrower from Arkansas to compete in the hammer at the U.S. Olympic Trials and completes the four throwing events that Razorbacks have contested at previous Trials, as well as every field event contested at the Trials.
Previous UA throwers to compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials, dating from 1984 to 2008, include Marty Kobza (3 times in shot put), Scott Lofquist (twice in discus), as well as Ed Kaminski and Eric Brown (twice each in javelin).
With 24 throwers in the hammer field and divided up into two flights, Sullins was the second thrower of flight two. His first effort measured 222-11 (67.96), placing him 13th with the top 12 advancing to the final.
On his second attempt, Sullins improved to 234-0 and into eighth place overall. A third-round attempt was released early by Sullins and resulted in a foul.
Sullins, who qualified for the Olympic Trials with a career best of 236-6 (72.10) from earlier this season, will compete in the finals on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. (PT) [6:25 p.m. CT].
Four throwers who have already bettered the Olympic Games standard (254-3 | 77.50) advanced to the final, including the top three throwers in the qualifying round – Rudy Winkler (259-7 | 79.13), Daniel Haugh (254-0 | 77.43), and Alex Young (252-11 | 77.09). The other thrower with the Olympic Games standard is Conor McCullough, who placed seventh (236-7 | 72.11).
Action for the Razorbacks on the second day of the Olympic Trials includes Markus Ballengee in the decathlon, which begins at 1 p.m. (PT) [3 p.m. CT], as well as Andrew Irwin in the pole vault qualifying, starting at 4:30 p.m. (PT) [6:30 p.m. CT].
This will be the second Olympic Trials appearance for Irwin, who competed in the 2012 Trials, also held in Eugene.
Meanwhile, Ballengee will be the fifth Razorback to compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials decathlon, dating back to 1924. Arkansas has been represented in the decathlon by Herman Bagby (5th in 1924), Charles Baker (7th in 1948), Dean Pryor (8th in 1952), and Kevin Lazas (8th in 2012).