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Black college women stars competing to make Olympic team

Howie Evans | 6/27/2012, 5:40 p.m.
Samantha Edwards, a senior at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Va., along with Jernail Hayes,...
Black college women stars competing to make Olympic team

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Black college women stars competing to make Olympic team

Samantha Edwards, a senior at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Va., along with Jernail Hayes, the school's women's assistant track coach, are in Eugene, Ore., where they will be competing for a spot on the U.S. Olympic track and field team from June 21 -25 and June 28-July 1.

The U.S. Olympic Trials is the largest track and field meet in the world. More than 1,000 athletes from around the nation travel to Eugene, known as "Track Town USA."

Edwards, a native New Yorker from Elmont, N.Y., where she attended Elmont High School, has arguably enjoyed the greatest track and field career of any athlete in the history of Virginia State University. She is a seven-time All-American and was recently named the U.S. Track and Field Atlantic Region Women's Track Athlete of the Year. She competes in the 200- and 400-meter events. This is her second appearance at Nationals.

Hayes reached national acclaim at the 2011 USA Outdoors Nationals, where she was among the finalists in the 400-meter hurdles.

The competition extends over three rounds of qualifications, finally getting down to the final eight in each event. From the final eight, the top three competitors will win spots on the team from each event.

And Edwards? "This is the tip of the iceberg for her future as an elite track and field athlete," said head coach Jason-Lamont Jackson. "Her name will be etched as the best track and field athlete in the history of this university."