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Haapanen sets PR but comes up short of Olympic berth

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Haapanen sets PR but comes up short of Olympic berth

Manteca resident Amy Haapanen will continue training after placing fourth in the U.S. Olympic Trials Thursday.

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POSTED June 22, 2012 12:59 a.m.

Amy Haapanen ended up 2 feet and 11 inches away from realizing her dream.

But the Manteca-based hammer thrower left the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. Thursday with renewed confidence that she is getting closer.

With a contingent of family and friends cheering her on, Haapanen placed fourth in the U.S. Olympic Team Track & Field Trials with a new personal record of 231-8 (70.63 meters). To make the roster and earn a trip to the London Olympic Games, she had to surpass the Olympic “A” standard of 234-7 while placing in the top three.

Amber Campbell set a new meet record with a winning mark of 235-6 (71.80). Amanda Bingson was the runner-up at 235-6 (71.78), while American record holder Jessica Cosby took third at 232-2 (70.77). Cosby had already hit the “A” standard earlier this season.

Haapanen was not at all discouraged by coming up short of a Team USA roster spot.

“I have to be proud of what I did,” she told the Bulletin by phone Thursday night. “I had never PR’d in a major championship meet, and I was able to do that under that pressure in front of a huge crowd.

“I feel like I can throw a lot farther. I didn’t feel like I really hit (231-8) that great — it was a solid throw but I know I can do better. I’m very encouraged by that. Every year I have shown improvement in the U.S. Championships, so I think I still have a good career ahead of me.”

Haapanen got off to a nice start, heaving it 221-7 for what was a personal best at a national event. She went 217-2 in the second round and scratched the next two. It was in the fifth of the six rounds that she beat her old PR of 229-3 (69.88). That placed her third at the time before Campbell took the lead and set the new meet record in the same round.

“I’m glad to finally be a part of the 70-meter club,” Haapanen said.

The 28-year-old Haapanen isn’t waiting for the 2016 Summer Olympics, hosted at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to continue training. She plans on entering more meets before the season ends with hopes of reaching the “A” standard, which would help get her on the U.S. team for international events next year.

 “Even though the trials are over, I’m still going to be throwing the rest of the summer,” she said. “I’m at the peak of my season, so I may as well ride that wave out.

“Hitting the ‘A’ standard opens a lot of doors for me — it puts me on the team, I can get training grants and support from the governing body. I still have bigger throws in me, I can feel it.”

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