Alexandrians at the Olympics


With the Beijing Summer Olympics scheduled to commence Aug. 8, we are within four weeks of the quadrennial, monumental event.

Two Alexandria area female track and field athletes were among the hundreds participating in the recent Olympic trials at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Ore., June 26 through July 6.

West Potomac class of 92 triple jumper Tiombe Hurd has had an injury-plagued season in 2008.

Hurd, who was coached at West Potomac by Inez Bryant, qualified for the 2004 Athens Olympic Team in the triple jump. During that 2004 quest, she set the American mark in the triple jump. She did not fare as well this year.

Hurd was affected by a quad pull in 2007 and an ankle injury in 2008 a combination that did not prove fortuitous in this years trials.

Hurd, who jumped collegiately at James Madison University, jumped 436 in Eugene, placing her 19th overall out of 22 competitors. Only the top three finishers in the track and field events qualify for the Olympic team.

Hayfield class of 00 middle distance runner Nikeya Green (800 meters) also participated at Eugene but did not qualify for the Olympic team.

Green, who owned a host of Hayfield records during the late 90s and 00, advanced from the 08 Olympic trial semi-finals to the 08 Olympic trial finals with a time of 2:03.90.

However, in the final the Wake Forest graduate did not finish in the top three and thus will not head to Beijing.

Fifty American women qualified for the 08 Olympic track/field team. None are from Northern Virginia. However, UCLA grad Sheena Johnson-Tosta (Garfield H.S. alumnus – Prince William County) qualified in the 400 hurdles. Virginia Tech sophomore Queen Harrison (Hermitage H.S. alumnus – Richmond) also qualified in the 400 hurdles.

Of the 53 American men qualified for the 08 Olympic track/field team, none are from Northern Virginia. Three Virginians did qualify, however: Charlottesville native Adam Nelson (shot put), Hampton native David Payne (110 hurdles) and Suffolk native LaShawn Merritt (400).

In addition to the exceptional efforts of Harvey, Hurd and Green, at least eight previous Alexandria-area men and women have either qualified for past Olympic teams or have qualified for past Olympic trials: T.C. Williams alumnus Fred Borchelt (72) and Chip Lubsen (73) both qualified for the 76 Montreal Olympic team in rowing.

T.C. Williams’ Mike Porterfield (85) as well as T.C. Williams alumnus Linda Miller (91) both qualified for subsequent Olympic trials in rowing.

Michelle Griglione (T.C. 86), one of the most decorated swimmers in Northern Region history, also participated at a number of Olympic trials during the ’90s.

In addition, Mount Vernon alumnus DeWayne Wallace (95) qualified for the Olympic trials in the 110 hurdles in 00 and 04, according to Mount Vernon Director of Student Activities Bernie Forte. Wallace set a number of Northern Virginia records prior to attending the University of Tennessee.

Mount Vernon alumnus Marcus Rogan (00) a native of Austria qualified for the Austrian 2004 Summer Olympic team in swimming. While at Mount Vernon, Rogan was coached by Cathy Gorsuch.

Ireton alumnus Dan Zurowski (99) qualified for the Olympic swimming trials in 2004. Zurowski attended the University of Virginia.

Episcopal High School’s veteran athletic director and football coach Mark Gowin commented, I cant recall anyone during my time here [20 plus years] that has participated at an Olympics or at an Olympics trials.

(After several calls and significant research, it could not be determined that any Edison Eagle or St. Stephens/St. Agnes Saint alumni have ever participated in either the Olympics or the Olympic trials).