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July 2, 2012
EUGENE, Ore.: July 1, 2012 - Former Nittany Lion Bridget Franek captured a spot on the United States Olympic Team, finishing second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, during the US Olympic Team Trials, at Historic Hayward Field. Franek is the second member of the Nittany Lion track and field family to qualifying for the U.S. team, following volunteer assistant Ryan Whiting, who earned a bid in the shot put last week.
Franek, who currently trains in Eugene with the Oregon Track Club, battled down the homestretch to finish second overall in season-best 9:35.62, to solidify her spot on her first-career Olympic team. Franek will join a pair of Colorado Buffaloes in the event, with Emma Coburn winning the final in 9:32.78, and teammate and reigning NCAA champion Shayla Kipp finishing third in 9:35.73. Franek - a 12-time NCAA qualifier, and 10-time All-American as a Nittany Lion - has enjoyed outstanding success in Eugene over the years, capping her collegiate career with an NCAA steeplechase victory at Hayward Field in 2010.
The Olympic bid will be Franek's third-career international appearance, after representing the U.S. at the IAAF World Championships in 2009 and 2011.
Also competing during the second session of the U.S. Trials were a pair of javelin specialists, in alum Karlee McQuillen, and current Nittany Lion sophomore Laura Loht (McClure, Pa.). Loht placed 16th in the qualifying round in her first Trials appearance, thanks to a mark of 160-7 (48.69). McQuillen notched the third-best throw in qualifying with a PR toss of 182-10 (55.73). The 2011 Penn State graduate would move on to place ninth in Sunday's final round.
Fellow 2011 graduate Megan Duncan competed in the opening round of the women's 400-meter hurdles, running 57.63 to finish 17th overall - just one spot shy of advancing to the semi-finals.
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