Area athletes trying for London Olympics
On Sunday July 1, Amanda Croix, a swimming star at Bradley-Bourbonnais High and Carthage College, competed in the U.S. Olympic Team Women's Swimming Trials in Omaha, Nebraska. She finished the 50-meter freestyle preliminaries in 26.59 seconds, putting her in a tie for 105th place — out of 154 swimmers who began the day. Her time was just 1.01 seconds behind the 16th and final qualifying spot of the semifinals, also held Sunday.
A 2011 graduate of Carthage College, Croix became the school's first swimmer to win an NCAA Division III championship when she won the 50-yard freestyle as a junior in 2010. The 24-year-old former Bradley resident had a productive career at the Kenosha, Wis., school. She was an All-American 13 times (top eight finishes at the national meet) and was named the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Swimmer of the Year three times. Last season, Croix worked as an assistant coach for the Army swimming team at West Point, N.Y. She will return to that position this fall.
Former Olivet Nazarene University Tiger Mark Hollis competed for a spot on the U.S. pole-vaulting team June 28 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, failing to clear 18 feet-9.25 inches, which would have won him the national championship, and also put him given him a trip to the London Olympics. Hollis ended up finishing 5th. He cleared 18-4.5 on his third and final attempt at the height. Hollis passed when the bar moved to 18-7.25, the eventual winning height. He elected to jump at 18-9.25, which was the Olympic "A" standard height necessary to make the team.
Kankakee resident Matt Gentry did qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London by winning the 74-kilogram freestyle wrestling gold medal for Canada in the Pan American Olympic Qualifier Sunday in Orlando, Fla. back in March. The key match for Gentry was a narrow semifinal victory over Cuba's Yunierki Blanco, against whom Gentry was 0-2 lifetime entering the match. Gentry then earned gold with a dominating victory over Puerto Rico's Francisco Soler.
This is the second appearance in an Olympic Games for Gentry, a native of Oregon with Canadian heritage.
Kankakee County Board member Jim Vickery has a grandson, John Mann, who will be competing as a member of the 13-man USA water polo team. Mann was one of 2 alternates on the Beijing Olympic team in 2008. In college, he was the 2006 national player of the year and a 3-time first-team All-American at California.
The Summer Olympics will run July 28 - August 12 in London