Daily Log from Denise Gorski at the Olympic Track and Field Trials:
It was finally the night of competition for Adriane. Previous to Adriane's mother Rae and I going to the track, I was so impressed with the number of family, friends, and neighbors who called Rae to wish Adriane good luck. I also had many calls from local media and television stations wanting to share the results of tonight's competition with the valley viewing area. Rae and I finally walked over to the stadium to watch the women's hammer throw at 7:00 p.m. Around 7:30 p.m., we saw Adriane arrive also at the hammer site which is located just outside the back of the stadium. I talked to Adriane briefly before I entered the stadium. She appeared very upbeat, confident, and excited after four years of training for this moment to arrive again. She also said to me "This is the toughest night of the entire trials just trying to qualify and I just want to make it back here for Saturday's competition." Rae and I went to our seats in the sold-out stadium of 20,000 people, the fifth straight sell-out night in a row. I have always heard about how Hayward Field is such an exciting place to compete, not just because of the facility or the legends like Steve Prefontaine who have run here, but because of the energy and enthusiasm of the crowd. I have been to the Trials in New Orleans, Atlanta, and Sacramento but now I truly know what people mean about Track town USA. It is definitely that and by far the most exciting venue of all I have seen.
The shot put area was located on the infield of the stadium. Adriane led the entire contingent of throwers across the track and into the throwing rings. I asked her how she was assigned that position and she replied, "We were in the holding area and they said it's time to go and I just got up and wanted to go. As I walked out into the stadium, I just ignored what was going on around me as far as the stadium noise and other events and just focused on the ring." Adriane looked so professional as she led everyone out in her Second Sole/Nike warm-up and uniform. Two flights were run at the same time so the actual competition only took about 45 minutes for the semi competition. Adriane looked solid in her warm-up throws, launching a few that appeared to be in the 57'-58' range. She was the 10th thrower of her flight and on her first throw tossed the shot 55'9 1/4". She fouled her second throw and hit 55'7" on her third and final throw. Her first throw got her into the finals for Saturday as the top 12 advanced, not the top 10 as I had incorrectly reported earlier. After the competition was over, I asked Adriane how she felt. She said, " I didn't feel super speedy in my warm-ups but I did feel confident. During the competition, it was very hard to know what place I was in because of the two rings throwing at the same time and how fast the competition was going. I thought I was actually in 8th when I finished but I'll take just making it into the finals because now it's a clean slate. These throws don't carry-over into the finals so everyone is starting over again with their distances." After the competition was over, Adriane and her coach, Bill Godina found us in the stands. Coach Godina, the father of John Godina, a three-time Olympian and training partner of Adriane's in Arizona said to me, "She's in and that's what we wanted. The qualifying rounds are the hardest part of the Trials. Adriane had good speed and overcame nervous energy to allow herself another chance for the big throw that she will need on Saturday." Adriane will be entering the finals with eight of the 12 competitors in the 55'-57' range, including Adriane.
It was inspiring to see the number of "Blewitt Backer" t-shirts scattered in the stands. They included local Ohio connections like Austintown's George Reedy, Art Reedy and Bill and Teare Reedy from Seville. Bill is the distance coach at Cloverleaf High School and also in shirts were their close friends Barb and Hal Gerspacher from Medina. Erin Yosay and Brandy Ingram from Georgia came across the country to support Adriane. Erin was Adriane's throwing teammate at Boardman and also attended the 2004 Trials in Sacramento to support her. Mark Kelley, track and cross-country coach at Bradford High School in Pennsylvania became a Blewitt supporter after meeting the Ohio connection and was inspired by Adriane's story. Two families who are from Scottsdale made the trip to support Adriane, their special friend. After leaving the stadium, we all went to the famous Track Town Pizza Restaurant located across the street from campus.
It is now the morning of July 4, and Adriane went over to South Eugene High School to lift and throw lightly. We will all be attending the men's hammer throw finals tonight to support A.G. Kruger, a former Ashland Elite teammate of Adriane's and a 2004 Olympian. We will also watch other track events and then head to Adriane's favorite place to eat, Outback Steakhouse. She works at The Outback in Scottsdale, Arizona and this restaurant has now become her usual pre-meet place to dine. Tomorrow she will not have as long of a wait for the finals as they will begin at 1:50 p.m. Pacific time. Rae and I have been so touched by the number of phone calls we have both received today inquiring about how Adriane did in the semi's. Her sister Samantha and her husband Nick, who both work at the Springfield Grille had many people asking them how she did. It is obvious how well-respected and liked the Blewitt family is in the Valley.