2024 Olympic Trials First Half Recap: IL Edition

Erin Reese is all smiles after placing third in the Women's Hammer Throw at the 2024 Olympic Trials (USA Today)


EUGENE, Oregon--The first four days of the 2024 United States Track & Field Olympic Trials competition were filled with excitement and heartbreak for many of the country's hopefuls heading to Paris, France, later this summer. 

We dive into how former preps from our state performed in "Track Town USA."


Men's Decathlon-

Former Lake Park HS/U of Wisconsin star Zach Ziemek made his third Olympic team at 31. Affectionately known as "Double Z," Ziemek powered through 10 events over two days at historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon. 

Ziemek scored 8516 points en route to a second-place finish. In two previous Olympic Games, he placed 7th (Rio, 2016) and 6th (Tokyo, 2021). Heath Baldwin won the competition with 8625 points and could be the favorite in August. However, Ziemek's strong performance puts him in contention for his first Olympic medal.

Hammer Throw-

A bevy of top former preps from the Illini state competed here. 

A great silver lining was met with Erin Reese advancing to Sunday's final. The former prep star from Prospect HS and All-American who was outstanding at Indiana State University, Reese, was in 7th place with a toss of 68.76 meters. On her final attempt, she launched her best effort at 71.21 (233'1") and was bumped into third place. Reese does not have an automatic ticket to Paris. She has approximately one week to achieve the 74.00 qualifying mark or hopes her world ranking is high enough to be selected. Reese has a personal best of 73.47 from a year ago.

Former Thornwood HS standout Janeah Stewart finished fifth on her final attempt with a 70.34 meters placement.

All-American Jasmine Mitchell, formerly of Thornwood HS and Ole Miss, placed 11th with a mark of 59.74.

One of the best to come out of Illinois, Chloe Lindeman of Fulton HS, threw for the University of Wisconsin and placed 21st in the prelims with an effort of 62.22. Lindeman did not advance to the finals.


Chicago's very own Shamier Little of Lindblom HS breezed through the first two rounds in her secondary event with 50.13 and 50.16 efforts. In the final, Little got out well through the first 300m in second place. Unfortunately, she could not maintain her position and faded to last in 50.96. She will compete in her major event, the 400 hurdles, later in the week.

100m (Men)-

Courtney Lindsey (Rock Island HS) and Marcellus Moore (Plainfield North) were two great names of the past for their respective high school and colleges. They both advanced to the semi-final round. Lindsey got the best outcome, winning his semi in 9.88 (+2.6) and Moore clocking 10.05. Moore did not advance to the final. Lindsey took sixth in the final with a time of 10.02. He will have a spot on the 4x100-meter relay team if all goes well.

100m (Women)-

Morolake Akinosun was our best opportunity to make the team straight up. The former superstar from Waubonsie Valley HS advanced to the semi-final. She finished in 11th place with a time of 11.14 (+0.0). Akinosun was two slots from advancing to the final.


The American Men's record holder and one of the best to ever do it, Evan Jager, now 35, may have competed in his final Olympic Trials. If that's the case for the former outstanding prep from Algonquin (Jacobs) HS, he put a great effort into finishing fourth with a time of 8:28.73. Jager is the only one with the "A" standard and has a slim chance of making the team. He will know by week's end if any of the top three fail to gain the standard for Paris.

Brett Gardner (Lincoln-Way East) finished an outstanding career at North Carolina State University. He placed 26th overall in the prelims with a time of 8:44.89 and did not advance to the final.

Long Jump (Men)-

Former Bloom Township standout Will Williams competed in the final and finished 9th overall with a mark of 7.76m (25'5.5")

Pole Vault-

Zach Bradford (Bloomington HS) was the best high school vaulter in state history who later parlayed that into a wonderful career at the University of Kansas and Texas Tech University. As a pro, Bradford competed in his first Olympic Trials and placed sixth with a clearance of 5.62 (18'5.25).

Luke Winder (Plainfield Central HS) was the pre-eminent vaulter in the state before Bradford, and ironically, he finished in a tie with him at 5.62.

Discus Throw-

Jayden Ulrich (East Alton-Wood River HS) is on her way toward greatness. From her start at Indiana University to now at the University of Louisville, Ulrich has made her first final, sitting in a solid second place at 63.61 meters (208'8"). She is within striking distance of the Olympic Standard 64.50... Gabi Jacobs (Normal U High School), formerly of U of Missouri, just missed the final with a 15th-place effort (56.25)

110 HH-

Matthew Lewis-Banks (Homewood-Flossmoor) competed for Indiana State U and the University of Arkansas. The All-American hurdler placed 33rd in the heats with a time of 14.31.