Sharon Day punches ticket to London Games

Sharon Day said she entered the U.S. Olympic track and field trials without much stress. She had already earned an 'A' standard and knew she had to finish in the top three in the heptathlon to qualify for the 2012 Olympics.

A relaxed Day finished second in the women's heptathlon Saturday to qualify for her second Olympics. Four years ago, the former Costa Mesa High standout athlete qualified for the Beijing Olympics in the high jump.

Day said she's a different athlete now with a different view and more experience. She showed that over two days compiling her personal-best score in the heptathlon to punch her ticket to the London Games.

"It feels great that I have another chance to represent my country in London," Day said during a phone interview. "I'm looking forward to preparing for the Olympics."

Day scored 6,343 points and finished behind winner Hyleas Fountain, who scored 6,419.

Chantae McMillan finished third with 6,188 points to also qualify for the Olympics.

"I'd say this one feels a little better [than the 2008 U.S. Olympic trials] because I know I did it on my own accord," Day said. "The last one I had to see if someone missed [in the high jump] so I could make it. I didn't have to worry about anyone else. It was all me."

Day began her second-day performance with a third-place finish in the long jump, 20 feet, 1/2 inch. She was also third in the javelin, 147-9.

Day closed out the day with a fourth-place finish in the 800 meters. She crossed in 2 minutes, 14.55 seconds.

"It's a little icing on the cake," Day said of her personal record of 6,343 points. "The goal wasn't to PR here. The goal was to make the Olympic team. So that is just an added bonus."

On the first day, she was ninth in the 100 hurdles (13.71) and second in her heat. She took third in the high jump, clearing a season-best 6 feet, 1 1/2 inches.

In the shotput, Day was fourth, with a mark of 43-11 3/4. Day took seventh in the 200, finishing in 24.26.

She had personal records in the long jump and javelin for heptathlon competitions.

Day, who will return to San Luis Obispo to train, said she had a strong support group and friends and family who came to root for her. Her mother, Yolanda, and father, Eugene, and sister, Jazzy, were in attendance. Sharon's fiance Dan Monroe and a few of his family members also came to watch. Sharon's coach Jack Hoyt and his family also supported Sharon in Oregon, as did Mike Decker, a pastor from Costa Mesa, Sharon said.

— Compiled by Steve Virgen

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