Hill, Lucas Run Thursday for Spots On US Olympic Team
June 27, 2012
EUGENE, Ore. – NC State junior All-American Ryan Hill and former Wolfpack All-American Julia Lucas will run in the finals of the men’s and women’s 5,000 meters on Thursday at the U.S. Olympic Trials at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.
Hill, who ran the fastest time ever by an American collegian in the men’s indoor 3,000 meters earlier this year, finished fourth in Monday’s 5K semifinal race. The Hickory, N.C., native owns the school record in the men’s 5,000 meters with a time of 13:31.67, which he set in April at the Payton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif. He also finished third two weeks ago at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
He has not, however, hit the Olympic qualifying standard of 13:20. He must finish in the top three of Thursday night’s final and make the qualifying standard time to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team for next month’s 2012 London Olympics.
“He will have to do both on Thursday,” said veteran NC State head coach Rollie Geiger, who is with Hill in Oregon. “I certainly think he is capable of getting the qualifying standard and I think he can finish in the top three. The key will be setting a good pace. There are four or five runners in the field who don’t have the standard either.
“In the end, the primary concern will be about racing and getting in the top three. The time will come if there is a good pace.”
Lucas, who grew up in Charlotte and was a two-time ACC champion in the 5,000 meters at NC State, finished third in the women’s semifinal on Monday. She has already met the women’s qualifying standard of 15:20 when she ran a career-best 15:08.52 at the Payton Jordan Invitational in April.
“One thing I remember about Julia is that on the first day we could recruit her, she called us,” said women’s cross country coach Laurie Henes. “She said that day that one day she wanted to make the Olympic team. A lot of people have said that, but Julia actually has a chance to do it.
“She’s obviously running really well right now.”
Hill would be the first NC State men’s distance runner to ever make a U.S. Olympic team, while Lucas would be the first former Wolfpack women’s distance runner since Joan Benoit Samuelson won the inaugural women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
The women’s race is slated to begin at 10:15 p.m., while the men’s race is scheduled to follow at 10:28 p.m. They can be seen live on the NBC Sports cable network.