Ryan Chartrand

Former Cal Poly standout Sharon Day qualified Friday night in the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. for the U.S. Olympic team in the women’s high jump.

“It feels amazing,” Day said in a statement. “It’s kind of like a dream.”

Day, whose Cal Poly career came to an end June 13, finished third in the finals, behind Chaunte Howard and Amy Acuff.

She cleared 6 feet, 3 ¬ inches, which tied Deirdre Mullen.

Day, however, cleared the height on her second attempt, one fewer try than it took Mullen, who wouldn’t have been eligible at the height, anyway, because she hadn’t accomplished the required Olympic “A” qualifying standard of 6-4 _ (which Day reached in a personal-best performance May 17 at Cal State Northridge) in the past 18 months.

“I was hoping she would miss it on that final attempt so that I could make the team,” said Day, a 23-year-old, first-time Olympian. “I was definitely crying a little bit. I was sitting next to a friend of mine and was like, ‘Please hold my hand on Deirdre’s last jump.’ ”

Howard, headed to her second Olympics, cleared 6-5 «, and Acuff, who qualified for her fourth consecutive Olympics, cleared 6-4.

Entering the trials seeded fourth, Day needed to surpass at least one of the women ahead of her to make the squad – and she did just that, as second-ranked Destinee Hooker could clear only 6-2 ¬, placing sixth.

“I knew all the other great competitors were out there working hard,” Day said. “I had to keep that in the back of my mind and try to get that third spot.”

Day, a seven-time All-American at Cal Poly, became the ninth former Cal Poly track and field athlete to qualify for the Olympic Games.

The just-graduated Costa Mesa native will be joined in China by former Mustang Stephanie Brown-Trafton, who qualified Sunday for her second Olympics in the women’s discus finals, with a third-place throw of 205-6.

In other competition Friday, former Mustang Aris Borjas qualified in the men’s javelin for Sunday’s 4:15 p.m. finals with a ninth-place, personal-best 239-8. The late addition to the field (upon having his provisional mark accepted Wednesday) will need to finish not only in the top three to make the team, but also with the standard of 268-4 «.

Former Mustang Ben Bruce will compete in Saturday’s 2:45 p.m. 3,000-meter steeplechase finals. In Thursday’s semifinals, he posted a personal-best time of 8 minutes, 32.57 seconds, but is still seeking the standard of 8:24.6.

The 2008 Summer Olympic Games begin Aug. 8 in Beijing.

This Mustang Daily breaking news report was posted at 10:59 p.m. on Friday, July 4, 2008.

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