Past and present Saluki athletes had respectable showings during the U.S. Olympic Trials, but failed to qualify for any U.S. Olympic events.
Junior swimmer Justin Wolfe placed eighth in the 100-meter butterfly at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials Saturday in Omaha, Neb.
Wolfe’s time of 56.27 placed him five seconds behind event winner and Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps. Wolfe was the first SIU swimmer to qualify for the Olympic trials in 12 years as he represented the last hope for an SIU athlete to qualify for the U.S. team.
Former Saluki Jeneva McCall competed in the shot put and discus Thursday and Friday in Eugene, Ore., but did not qualify for the U.S. Olympic team in either event.
McCall placed fifth overall out of 12 athletes in the shot put with a throw of 57-09.75, about five feet shorter than event winner Julian Camerena-Williams. She also placed 15th in the discus with a 172-11 throw and placed 10th in the hammer with a 219-2 throw June 21.
McCall was one of five Salukis who competed at the Track and Field Olympic trials in Oregon.
Former Saluki Brittany Riley, a 2007 alumna, was the highest finisher among SIU athletes trying to qualify for the US team. In the hammer throw, her toss of 227-4 placed her sixth overall. Gwen Berry, a 2011 alumna, finished seventh in the hammer throw with a 225-10 throw.
SIU track and field athletes also competed in the Olympic trials in Nassau, Bahamas for other countries, including junior Kenya Culmer, who competed in the high jump and finished second with a 5-09.75 jump.
On the track, former Saluki Jeff Schirmer, a 2010 alumnus, was the only former SIU runner in the Olympic trials and finished 16th in the 10k with a time of 28:35.18.
However, former Saluki Bianca Stuart, a 2008 alumna, already qualified for the Bahamian team in the long jump with a 21-02.50 jump at the Central American and Caribbean Senior Championships July 17, 2011 in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
Three Saluki swimmers also made the Olympics. Sophomore Pamela Benitez, who won 12 events in a row during her first year at SIU, will represent El Salvador. Junior Csaba Gercsak will represent Hungary after previously swimming in the 2008 Beijing Olympic games. Senior Mazen Aziz will represent Egypt after swimming in the World Championships in Shanghai. Aziz and Gercsak are the first SIU Olympic swimmers since Chrysanthos Papachrysanthou, who swam for the Cyprus Olympic team in 2004.