'Eaters' Jock in fast lane

UC Irvine's Charles Jock begins his competition at the International Assn. of Athletics Federations World Track & Field Championships Friday night in Daegu, South Korea.

The two-time All-American competes in the first round of the 800 meters Friday at 8:05 p.m. Pacific Time at 66,000-seat Daegu Stadium.

Semifinals in the 800 are scheduled for Sunday at 2 a.m. and the final is set for Tuesday at 5 a.m. Korean Time is 16 hours ahead of Pacific Time.

Television coverage (live and delayed) will be provided by Universal Sports.

Jock, a graduate of Mission Bay High in San Diego, is entering his senior year at UCI. He earned a berth on the U.S. team for the World Championships following his performance in the 800 at the USA Track & Field Championships on June 26.

In the final at Hayward Field in Eugene, Jock led for the first 700 meters and held on to finish third with a school-record time of 1 minute, 44.67 seconds. The clocking broke his own school mark of 1:44.75 he set at the NCAA Championships.

Nick Symmonds of Oregon TC Elite, and a 2008 Olympian, won the race in 1:44.17 and Khadevis Robinson of Nike was second in 1:44.49 as those three comprise the American 800-meter competitors.

Jock, a two-time, Big West Conference Athlete of the Year, was runner-up by four-hundredths of a second at the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa on June 10.

He currently ranks 19th in the world this season. David Lekuta Rudisha from Kenya has the top time of 1:42.61 and he has recorded five of the world's top nine times in 2011. He holds the world record of 1:41.01 that he set in 2010.

"My main goal for the World Championships is to make the final," Jock said. "In order to do that, I know I will need to bring my 'A' game for the semis. If I do make the final, then it's all fun from there. I will enjoy the experience and do my best."

Jock, 21, is the youngest of the U.S. trio as Symmonds is 27 and Robinson 35.

"I definitely hope to pick their brains a bit," Jock said. "They have a lot of experience with championship racing and international competition, so I hope to learn a thing or two from spending time with them."

Jock, who breaks fast from the start of the 800, was edged at the tape by UC Santa Barbara's Ryan Martin in the Big West Conference Championships and by Virginia's Robby Andrews at the NCAA Championships.

"I've just learned to be confident and run my race," Jock said. "Not many people can hang with a fast first lap, but I also need to make sure I don't slack off in the backstraight, the final curve or the homestretch, because there is always somebody trying to make a move."

Jock, who is majoring in urban studies, is eyeing a berth on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team and future Games as well.

"An Olympic berth would be the culmination of four years of hard work," he said. "I don't think I can express how much it would mean to me in words, but it would definitely be one of the best moments of my life.

"It would be a real example of how hard work pays off and would definitely be encouraging for the 2016 and possibly the 2020 Games, as well," Jock said.

UCI head coach Vince O'Boyle and associate head coach Jeff Perkins will be attending the meet in Daegu to support Jock.

"It is very obvious that Charles has had an outstanding track season," O'Boyle said. "To finish second in the NCAA Championships and then two weeks later, place third and earn a spot on the United States World team is an outstanding accomplishment."

"I feel he is ready to represent the United States and run his first international races at the top level he has competed at all year long," O'Boyle said.

— From staff reports

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