Vandy's Hahn qualifies for Olympic Trials

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - After a week of uncertainty, Vanderbilt rising senior Josie Hahn is officially entered in the United States Track and Field Olympic Trials. Olympic Trials officials informed Hahn and coach Lori Shepard late Wednesday that the Vanderbilt standout would be included in the 24-woman heptathlon field.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - After a week of uncertainty, Vanderbilt rising senior Josie Hahn is officially entered in the United States Track and Field Olympic Trials. Olympic Trials officials informed Hahn and coach Lori Shepard late Wednesday that the Vanderbilt standout would be included in the 24-woman heptathlon field.

The top three finishers will represent America at the Olympics later this summer in Athens, Greece. Hahn, a native of Clinton, Tenn., will be joined by a former Commodore at the trials. Ryan Tolbert-Jackson, a national champion in the 400-meter hurdles for Vanderbilt in 1997, will also attempt to make the American Olympic team.

No Vanderbilt track and field athlete has ever represented the United States at the Olympics. The Trials start Friday on the campus of Sacramento State University in northern California. Hahn and Tolbert-Jackson both compete on the opening day of the 10-day national competition.

The heptathlon is expected to receive national television coverage. The USA Network will televise coverage from 10 p.m.-midnight (CST) Friday. NBC will air an hour of live prime time coverage Saturday starting at 7 p.m. (CST).

Hahn competes in the most grueling event in women's track and field. The heptathlon is a seven-event discipline, including the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter dash, long jump, javelin and 800-meter run. Four events are scheduled Friday, with the long jump, javelin and 800 scheduled Saturday.

Hahn earned her spot in the heptathlon field two weeks ago, accumulating a 5,503-point total at a pre-trial event in Provo, Utah. The performance upped Hahn's previous school record by 11 points.

Hahn enters the competition with fond memories of the Sacramento State facility. Last year, she set a school record in Sacramento during an All-American effort at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Hahn's chances at the Trials likely hinge on a solid start Friday. The first heptathlon event, the 100-meter hurdles, is one of Hahn's least impressive events. She follows the hurdles with the high jump, where Hahn ranks among the best with a 6'0" school record.

The heptathlon field includes six performers with efforts above 6,000 points. The national leader is Sheila Burrell, an Olympic team member in 2000.

Tolbert-Jackson also competes Friday in the 400-meter hurdle preliminaries. If she advances, Tolbert-Jackson will run Saturday afternoon in the semifinals. The 400-meter hurdle finals are scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

In 2000, Tolbert-Jackson narrowly missed the hurdle finals, running the ninth-fastest time in the semifinals. The top eight advanced to the finals.


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