U.S. OLYMPIC TRACK & FIELD TRIALS
Adriane Sims Stone of Mililani fell short yesterday while competing in the high jump at the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore.
End for Stone, Kaufman
The area high jumpers are unsuccessful in their bids for the Olympics, but are happy to compete
EUGENE, Ore. » The improbable Olympic journey ended for high jumpers Adriane Sims Stone of Mililani and the University of Hawaii's Amber Kaufman yesterday.
The 28-year-old Stone, who competed at the 2000 trials but was out of jumping for seven years, finished eighth at the U.S. Olympic track & field trials at Hayward Field. She cleared the first two heights (5 feet, 101/2 inches and 6-01/2 inches) but not the third (6-21/4).
Kaufman, who won the Western Athletic Conference title in May, was 12th; the other two competitors failed at the preliminary height. The 19-year-old, a starter for the Rainbow Wahine volleyball team, cleared 5-101/2 on her first attempt but missed on three attempts at 6-01/2, which would have tied her personal best.
"I am thrilled just to be here and I am really glad that I made the opening height on my first attempt," said Kaufman.
While Kaufman said she was looking forward to the upcoming volleyball season, Stone said she's already thinking about trying for the 2012 Olympics. Stone said she was inspired to continue training by 36-year-old Gwen Wentland, who finished seventh yesterday in her fourth Olympic trials. (Chaunte Howard won the event with a jump of 6-51/2).
"I'm so elated, you would have thought I would have won," said Stone, a mother of three married to an Army soldier stationed at Schofield Barracks. "I've never been in a competition where the women were so supportive.
"When I cleared out (failed at 6-21/4) and the stadium started clapping for me, all I could do was smile. Then all the girls lined up, hugged me up one by one. It was so joyous."
As remarkable as Kaufman's feat was - she only returned to jumping this past spring after nearly a year off from the discipline - it pales in comparison to that of Stone's.
Last November, Stone weighed 230 pounds, was a two-pack-a-day smoker and an admitted alcoholic. Her personal epiphany led to a return to a healthy lifestyle that included coaching the Mililani High jumpers in return for use of the training facilities.
"I've felt at peace since I got here," said Stone, a North Carolina state prep high jump champion, who was ranked 10th nationally. "Most people have no idea the victory I had today. I heard the announcer saying that I was going for a personal best.
"I don't remember what my PR (personal record) was, but I consider what I did today my new best. I've had seven years of rest and I've started a new life. I'm taking one victory at a time."
Star-Bulletin reporter Cindy Luis contributed to this report.