Five former Texas State track and field athletes will try to make their mark in the 2008 Olympics, starting with the national Olympic trials in the next couple weeks.
Mike Hazle and Abby Ruston will compete in throwing events at the USA Olympic Trials on July 3-6. Hazle, who is listed among the Top Five favorites, is scheduled for the men’s javelin throw on July 3 and 5. Hazle enters the Olympic Trials with a career-best throw of 82.21 meters (269-8). He burst onto the national scene last year with a silver medal at the 2007 Pan American Games and a second-place finish at the 2007 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Hazel was the third Bobcat to compete in the Pan American Games, joining Scott Hennig and Roger Borbon. He also was the second Texas State male track and field athlete to qualify for the IAAF World Championships. The other was Edgar Baumann, who also threw the javelin from 1993-95.
While at Texas State, Hazle won the javelin throw at the 2002 Southland Conference Outdoor Championships and owns the third-longest throw in Bobcat track and field history with a mark of 72.05 meters (236-5). Hazle owns three of the Top 10 javelin throws in Texas State’s record books. He earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science and business, along with a Master’s degree in sports management at Texas State.
Ruston is scheduled for the women’s shot put that begins on July 3 and concludes with the finals on July 5. Ruston qualified to compete this year at the IAAF World Indoor Championships after her second-place finish at the USA Indoor Championships with a mark of 18.03 meters (59-2). She was the top USA finisher at the World Indoor Championships with an 11th-place showing.
A native of San Antonio, Ruston earned All-American honors at both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships in 2007. She placed fifth in the shot put at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a mark of 16.61 meters at Fayetteville, AR, before concluding her collegiate career with a second-place showing in the shot put at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field meet with a mark of 17.44 meters (57′ 2 ¾”) on her fifth throw in Sacramento, CA.
Liudmila Litvinova and Katya Kostetskaya will compete in the Russian Olympic Trials that are scheduled to begin on July 4 and Brigette Foster-Hylton is competing in the 100-meter hurdles at Jamaican Olympic Trials.
Litvinova posted the world’s ninth-fastest 400-meter time with 50.69 seconds on June 15 in Zhukovskiy, Russia. Last year, she anchored a Russian relay team that set a championship and meet record in the 4 x 400 meters relay with a time of 3:26.58 at the European Under-23 Championships in Debrecen, Hungary. She also won the 400 meters in 51.25 seconds, edging Russian teammates Olga Shulikova and Kseniya Zadorina in the process for a Russian medal sweep.
Litvinova was selected the 2007 Southland Conference indoor track and field Athlete of the Year after winning the champion 400 meter dash with a time of 55.27 seconds. She was a member of Texas State’s 4×400-meter relay team that won seven gold medals during her four-year career at the Southland Conference Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
She also was an outstanding student at Texas State with a 3.77 grade point average as an accounting major. She was a member of the Beta Sigma Gamma Honor Society for business students. She was an annual Oak Farms Dairy Award winner during her career at Texas State, including a “Cream of the Crop” honoree in 2006, when she carried a 4.00 GPA.
Kostetskaya posted a second-place finish in the 800 meters at the 2007 World University Games with a time of 1:59.52. She was a two-time All-American in the 400-meter hurdles and 800 meters at Texas State. She set three school records with a pair of indoor records in the 400- and 800-meter runs, and the 400-meter hurdles mark outdoors. Kostetskaya also boasts the second-fastest indoor time in the 60-meter hurdles, while she holds second-best outdoor times in the 800 meters, 1000-meter hurdles and ranks fifth in the 400-meters outdoor.
The only hurdler with a faster time in the 100-meter hurdles at Texas State is Foster-Hylton, who set a school record of 13.13 seconds in 1998. Last year, Foster-Hylton posted her career-best 400-meter hurdles time of 53.81 in her second-place finish at the Grace Jackson meet in Kingston. She also ran the first leg on the runner-up relay team that had a time of 43.55 in the 4×100-meter relay at the 2007 Penn Relays. Foster-Hylton also has the second-fastest Jamaican time this year in the 100-meter hurdles with 12.56 seconds on May 9 at the Doha Super Grand Prix.