Tech trio set to compete in Olympic Trials
Along with many sports fans worldwide, the community of Ruston and Tech might have a few familiar faces to cheer for at the London 2012 Olympics.
Former track and field athletes Jason Morgan, Michael Coleman and Chelsea Hayes all have equal opportunities to make the trek across the pond and represent their respective countries.
Jason Morgan, Jamaican discus record holder, will have the chance to represent his country and Tech at the summer games. Morgan, a former Tech discus thrower, said he felt honored to be on his way to represent his native country and Tech.
However, Morgan must compete in his national trials in order to secure his spot on the team.
“It’s a pleasure to me. I definitely look at it as an honor,” Morgan said. “There are not a lot of athletes that attend Tech, train here at Tech and make it to the Olympic games.”
Morgan, who lives in Ruston, said it is not only a big deal for the Jamaican community, but it is also great accomplishment for the Ruston area.
Morgan has earned numerous achievements this year, which included a No. 3 ranking on the International Amateur Athletics Federation list and also breaking the Jamaican discus record twice this season.
Morgan attributes his drive to persevere, to his mother, who passed away a few years ago.
Thus far, Morgan said his journey to the London 2012 Olympics has been challenging but rewarding at the same time.
“I’m on the right path to do some great things and achieve some great success in the Summer Olympics,” Morgan said.
Looking back at his time as a student athlete at Tech, Morgan said he learned to be disciplined, which has transferred over into his professional field career after graduating in 2006.
Another person instrumental in Morgan’s throwing career is Larry Carmicheal, a coach at Tech. Carmicheal coached Morgan to a Western Athletic Conference title, a regional title and an All-American title in the discus event.
“I’ve been proud to be Morgan’s coach over all these years and that he chose to stay in Ruston to train,” Carmicheal said. “And through his hard work, he has continued to improve to the point where he is one of the top ranked discus throwers in the world.”
Carmicheal said Morgan’s recent achievements have been a positive impact on Tech athletics as a whole, but has especially impacted track and field. He also said having Morgan around his Tech throwers is also a plus because they can see how much discipline it takes to get to the professional level.
“Having a world- ranked athlete and a person who has been to the IAAF World Championships twice, and now an Olympic qualifier, around the track and field program in general is a very positive thing,” Carmicheal said.
While Morgan seeks to represent not only his country, but also his alma mater, he said those who want to assist him on his journey to London by donating on his website at http://www.jasonmorganonline.com.
It has been a long road filled with trials, tribulations and medals for Louisiana Tech’s women’s track star Chelsea Hayes, and she knows better than anyone that she still has a way to go before reaching her ultimate goal.
After failing to surpass the semifinals of the United States Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., in the 100-meter dash, Hayes is set to compete in the long jump competition for the trials tomorrow for one last shot at Olympic glory.
“I am very excited knowing that I could possibly make the team in the long jump and even maybe make it past the first round in the 100-meter dash,” Hayes said.
It’s been quite the journey for the New Orleans native to reach the Olympic trials.
Along the way she has become a six-time All-American, 14-time Western Athletic Conference Champion, 18-time All-WAC selection, four-time WAC Athlete of the Year and four-time WAC High Point Scorer in her time competing as a Lady Techster over the course of three years.
“I am going to miss it, but at the same time I am going to have my post-collegiate career to focus on now,” she said. “Just knowing that I was given the opportunity and able to compete at Louisiana Tech is something I am very thankful for.”
She earned her most recent All-America title June 8 at the 2012 NCAA Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, where she finished seventh in the 100-meter dash finals.
She said she has kept a positive attitude throughout her entire collegiate career to set a good example for those around her, always preparing for the next meet and never settling with the success she has had.
Immediately after her final jumps and sprints at the NCAA Championships, she was already focusing on the work ahead of her to make the United States Olympic team that will compete in London Olympics July 27.
As she prepares for her most challenging competition yet, competing against the nation’s best athletes, Hayes said she knows she will have to perfect her technique to be successful.
Although Hayes has been victorious in both the 100-meter dash and the long jump during the course of her career at Tech, she said she feels like she a has better chance at making the team for the long jump because there are more opportunities to improve.
“In the long jump you can make a mistake because you have two more times to fix it and if you go to finals you have three more times to fix it,” she said. “But with the 100-meter dash, it’s just that one chance, and then it’s over.”
Hayes said this is what she has been training for since she began her career as a track and field athlete in high school. She has come a long way since then and is not ready to stop reaching all her goals.
Former Louisiana Tech track and field athlete Michael Coleman qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials just in time during the United States of America Track and Field Southwest Region Open Championships in Houston June 16.
Coleman, a former All-America athlete for the Bulldogs who competed for Tech from 2006-09, was a 12-time WAC Champion while at Tech.
Coleman will compete in the 200-meter dash preliminaries Friday in the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., with the other two Tech athletes.
“Honestly, I am more excited about this than for qualifying for the NCAA Championships when I was in college,” Coleman said in a press release. “This is for the chance to compete at the Olympics. It is very exciting. The way my body is performing right now, I think I have a good chance to make the finals. I am really excited but just need to keep focusing on training for Eugene.”
The 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials will be held June 29–July 1.
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