SLO County native Stephanie Brown Trafton misses shot at fourth Olympic team


Former Cal Poly standout and 2008 gold medalist Stephanie Brown Trafton missed out on a chance to qualify for her fourth Olympic team, placing fifth in the discus finals Saturday afternoon at the U.S. Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon.

Brown Trafton, a graduate of Arroyo Grande High School, turned in the second best mark with a throw of 199 feet, 5 inches after Friday’s preliminary round — a distance that would have been good enough to qualify had it come during the finals. But she couldn’t match that effort Saturday, with her best mark of 195-8 coming on her sixth and final throw of the day.

Whitney Ashley placed first with a mark of 204-2 to qualify for her first Olympic team. Shelbi Vaughan (197-9) and Kelsey Card (197-3) rounded out the top three qualifiers who will represent the U.S. next month in Rio de Janeiro.

The result likely marks the end of Brown Trafton’s competitive career. The seven-time All-American and Cal Poly record holder in the discus and shot put competed in the previous three Olympic Games: Athens in 2004, Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012. Her gold in Beijing came after she narrowly qualified for the team after placing third in the U.S. trials, admittedly surprising the then 28-year-old.

Among the other athletes with connections to SLO County to compete in the U.S. track and field trails, Mission Prep graduate and former University of Oregon star Jordan Hasay won’t be headed to Rio in the 10,000 meters after she placed eighth in Saturday morning’s race. The Nike Oregon Project runner turned in a time of 32:43.43, more than a full second behind first-place finisher Molly Huddle.

Former Cal Poly pole vaulter John Prader failed to advance out of Saturday’s preliminary round, turning in a 16th-best vault of 5.40 meters, missing out on the finals by two spots.

In the men’s 10,000 on Friday night, former Cal Poly standout Ben Bruce placed 13th with a time of 29:12.11, and fellow former Cal Poly star Maggie Vessey finished with the 35th-best time in the preliminaries of the 800 meters, finishing seventh in her heat with a time of 2:07.60.