Sports

Western Washington trio to compete for U.S. Olympic spots in javelin

Western Washington University’s Monica Gruszecki reaches back to throw the javelin at the WWU Ralph Vernacchia track and field meet in April 2011 at Civic Stadium.
Western Washington University’s Monica Gruszecki reaches back to throw the javelin at the WWU Ralph Vernacchia track and field meet in April 2011 at Civic Stadium. The Bellingham Herald

Three women’s javelin throwers who have ties to Western Washington University will compete in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials on Thursday, July 7, in Eugene, Ore.

Bethany Drake and Katie Reichert competed for the Vikings in 2016 and join former WWU standout Monika Gruszecki among the 24 athletes battling for three spots on the team the United States will take to Rio for the Olympics next month.

Reichert is seeded 15th after setting the WWU school record with a throw of 54.97 meters (180 feet, 4 inches) at the Harry Jerome International Track Classic on June 17 in Burnaby, B.C. The recent graduate was a four-time NCAA Division II All-American who placed second at the Division II National Championships in 2014 and among the top seven all four years she was a Viking.

Drake is seeded 18th after her career-best mark of 54.18 meters (177-9), which earned her second place at the Division II National Championships in May. The redshirt junior won the national title in 2014.

Gruszecki, who is completing her law degree at Gonzaga University, competed for the Vikings from 2007-11, bookending her career with national titles in 2007 and 2011 and placing second in 2008. She qualified for the Olympic Trials with a throw of 54.68 meters (179-4) at a June 3 meet at Shoreline College.

Thursday’s qualifying rounds are scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m., with the top 12 throwers moving on to the final Saturday, July 9.

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