EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Julian Harvey and Brittney Gibbs of SIUE men's and women's track and field have added their marks to the international stage since the NCAA season ended. Harvey and Gibbs have qualified for the U.S. and Canadian Olympic Trials, respectively.
"I'm proud of them, and I've worked hard to give them the best training and coaching I can, but it means nothing without them committing to attaining greatness," said SIUE Jumps Coach Joey Pacione. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and they rose up at the perfect time."
Harvey, after becoming an All-American long-jumper at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, June 8, set his sights on the Olympic Trials to jump for the United States.
His mark of 25 feet, 10.75 inches at the Ohio Valley Conference Indoor meet, where he was crowned the OVC champion, was enough to qualify him for the Olympic Trials. Harvey's personal best of 25-11.5 was above the legal limit for wind assistance.
The U.S. trials take place at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, where Harvey is seeded 22nd. He will compete July 2 at 3:45 p.m. CT. If Harvey finishes in the top 12, he will advance to compete July 3 at 6:15 p.m. CT.
"This shows his capabilities are up there with anyone in the country," said Pacione. "My hope is that we can use this as a building block into next year. This season has been a stepping stone for him to realize that he belongs in the conversation with the best in the country. I'm excited to see what competing next to professionals will do for his confidence."
Gibbs added to the success of the jumping squad by qualifying for the Canadian Olympic Trials in the triple jump with a mark of 41-8.75, which she recorded at the NCAA West Preliminaries. She enters the trials seeded second.
"She had an injury-riddled freshman year and this shows how talented she is once we got her healthy," said Pacione. "I'm excited that this is the beginning for her. She improved by 18 inches from last year to this year and was a great recruit. She's going to keep the momentum of our program going."
The Canadian Olympic Trials are held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Gibbs will compete in the finals July 9 at 1 p.m. CT.
"This will be huge for the national recognition for our program," said Pacione. "People who see our jersey will realize we have huge goals and expectations here. Any athlete coming here will have big shoes to fill and higher standards. When the expectations are higher, the performances come along with it."