Former DWU thrower, Dell Rapids native Ben Hammer misses chance for Olympic bid
Parker native Zack Anderson qualifies for high jump finals.
EUGENE, Ore. — Throwing a lifetime best mark, former University of South Dakota thrower and Dell Rapids native Ben Hammer qualified for the men's discus finals at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
But he could not duplicate the feat to reach the Olympics on Friday.
In a field of 12 throwers, Hammer had three throws to reach the top-eight and garner three more throws. But Hammer defaulted on two of his three throws and the one that counted went 187 feet, 3 inches. The distance was 11th through the first three throws, ending Hammer's bid to qualify for Tokyo this summer..
In the preliminaries Thursday, Hammer notched a lifetime best of 200 feet, 2 inches (61.03 meters) on his second throw of the competition. He was the only individual in the 25-man field to record a season or personal best in the preliminary competition. Hammer, seeded 21st in the field, enters the finals in the sixth position.
Hammer originally came to Dakota Wesleyan University to potentially play basketball but landed on the DWU track team, where he set school records in the discus in 2016. He moved on to USD where he was coached by three-time Olympian in the discus A.G. Kruger.
A two-time NCAA championship qualifier, Hammer graduated with both the South Dakota and Summit League record in the event (196-6).
Fellow USD alumnus and Parker native Zack Anderson qualified for the high jump finals Friday, becoming one of 12 jumpers to clear 7 feet, 2 1/4 inches. The finals will take place at 11:15 a.m. Sunday.
Lara Bowman, another USD graduate, will compete in the women's hammer throw finals on Saturday. An Edina, Minnesota native, she had a lifetime-best throw of 227 feet, 7 inches (69.37 meters), good for seventh-best after the preliminary round.
Anderson and Bowman are hoping to join USD alum Chris Nilsen, who won the men's pole vault earlier in the week to qualify for the Olympic games for the first time.