EUGENE, Ore. (USD) — South Dakota track and field alumni Lara Boman and Ben Hammer advanced to the finals of their respective throwing events at the U.S. Olympic Trials Thursday night at Hayward Field.
Hammer is one of 12 discus throwers to make the finals. He will compete at 5:30 p.m. (CT) Friday for a chance to represent the United States at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Hammer notched a lifetime best of 200-2 (61.03m) on his second throw of the competition. He was the only individual in the 25-man field to record a season or personal best in the preliminary competition. Hammer, seeded 21st in the field, enters the finals in the sixth position.
Hammer, a native of Dell Rapids, South Dakota, competed twice at the NCAA Championships in the discus. He graduated with both the South Dakota and Summit League record in the event (196-6).
Boman is one of 12 hammer throwers to advance to the finals. She will compete at 6:05 p.m. (CT) Saturday for a chance to represent the United States at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Boman launched a lifetime best throw of 227-7 (69.37m) on her second attempt of the competition. She entered the field with the seventh-best mark this season and enters the final with the seventh-best mark of the preliminaries. This is her U.S. Olympic Trials debut.
Boman, hailing from Edina, Minnesota, initially arrived in Vermillion as a member of the Coyote soccer squad. After an injury forced her out of the sport, she picked up throwing for the very first time in 2017. Under the tutelage of Olympic hammer thrower A.G. Kruger, Boman was a Summit League Champion by the following year and a NCAA Championships qualifier by her senior season. She graduated with both the South Dakota program and Summit League record in the event (213-9).
Alumna Emily Grove also competed on Thursday evening in the women’s pole vault. She was unable to clear the opening height of 14-1 ¼ (4.30m). Grove was making her third appearance at the U.S. Olympic Trials, previously competing in a Coyote uniform in 2012 and 2016.
South Dakota sent six athletes to the U.S. Olympic Trials. Alumnus Chris Nilsen punched his ticket to the Olympics on Monday in the men’s pole vault. The final preliminary competition is Zack Anderson in the high jump tomorrow at 5 p.m.