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Published: Tuesday, 6/26/2012 - Updated: 3 years ago

Rogers' Kynard an Olympian

2009 graduate earns trip to London

Erik Kynard Jr., participates in the men's high jump finals at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore.
Erik Kynard Jr., participates in the men's high jump finals at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore.

EUGENE, Ore. — Rogers graduate and elite high jumper Erik Kynard is officially a member of Team USA.

Kynard saw his dreams come to fruition when he cleared 7-foot-5 ¾ inches in the finals of the high jump at the U.S. Olympic Trials on Monday night.

Kynard, a junior at Kansas State University, finished second and will represent the United States at next month's Olympic Games in London.

Competing in damp conditions, the 2009 Rogers graduate was one of only six competitors to clear 7-4½. Only four cleared 7-5¾.

The top three earned berths the Olympic team.

Jamie Nieto, who cleared the first four heights without missing, finished first.

Jesse Williams, the reigning world champion in the high jump, finished fourth but still made the Olympic team for London.

Third-place finisher Nick Ross did not have the Olympic "A'' standard of 7 feet, 7 inches.

None of the competitors could clear the final height of 7-7.

Kynard, a former two-time high school champion and two-time NCAA championship in the high jump, has a personal record of 7-8.

He cleared that height (2.34 meters) to win his second straight NCAA title at Drake University in Des Moines on June 7.

Kynard, 21, also competed at the 2008 trials following his junior year at Rogers.

The 6-foot-4 Kynard sailed through the first day of qualifying to reach the finals.

On Monday, he missed on his first attempt at 7-2½ and on his first try at 7-4½.

But he then cleared the bar on his second jump at both heights.

He successfully cleared the bar on his first attempt at 7-5 ¾.

Kynard is only the eighth jumper in collegiate history to clear 7-8 or higher.

In other competitions Monday, Amanda Smock won the triple jump at 45 feet, 9 inches.

Smock was the only athlete in the field with the Olympic "A'' standard of 46-11, so she will be the lone representative on the U.S. team for the event at the London Games.

Erica McLain, a two-time U.S. outdoor champion who was coming off a severe ankle injury early in 2011, finished eighth.

Alysia Montano won the 800 meters in 1 minute, 59.08 seconds at the U.S. track trials to make the Olympic team.

Geena Gall was second in 1:59.24, and Alice Schmidt was third in 1:59.46 on Monday night for the two other spots on the U.S. team.

Montano, a three-time U.S. champion, led wire-to-wire.

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