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Olympic Track Trials Could Stock Team USA With Northwest Athletes

EUGENE, Ore. - Qualifying action for the 2012 Summer Olympics is happening in three Northwest cities this week. The U.S. Olympic Trials in diving are underway in Federal Way, Washington. Meanwhile, track and field qualifying starts with a hammer throw competition on the Nike campus in Beaverton, Oregon Thursday. The rest of the track team selection unfolds in Eugene starting on Friday. Team USA is likely to be well-stocked with Northwest athletes.

The experts at Track & Field News have published updated form charts for the Olympic Trials and this summer's London Games. By the magazine's reckoning, 24 runners, jumpers and throwers with local ties will punch their tickets to London over the next week and a half.

But the list of Northwest athletes likely to medal in London is much shorter. It includes former WSU Cougar Bernard Lagat in the 5,000 meter run, Oregon decathlete Ashton Eaton, and high jumper Jesse Williams of Eugene.

"I knew last year it was going really well and I had a chance to win the world championships," Williams says. "I feel this year I'm in a better spot where I am right now physically and mentally, just bringing a lot of confidence into this Olympic year."

The Nike company sponsors three elite training groups based in Oregon. That's a big reason why so many Northwest names show up on Team USA rosters.

At the U.S. Olympic diving trials, three divers from the Northwest are competing in the women's 10 meter platform Wednesday. They are Carrie Dragland from Woodinville, Washington, Katrina Young from Shoreline, Washington, and Cassie Weil from Hillsboro, Oregon.

On the Web:

Track and Field News form charts:

Team USA diving trials:

Team USA track & field trials:

Hayward Field in Eugene is the site of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. Photo by Wolfram Burner/ Flickr
Hayward Field in Eugene is the site of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. Photo by Wolfram Burner/ Flickr

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Correspondent Tom Banse is an Olympia-based reporter with more than three decades of experience covering Washington and Oregon state government, public policy, business and breaking news stories. Most of his career was spent with public radio's Northwest News Network, but now in semi-retirement his work is appearing on other outlets.