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Sports >  International sports

Gonzaga’s James Mwaura wins appeal, to run in U.S. Olympic trials

UPDATED: Mon., June 14, 2021

By John Blanchette For the Spokesman-Review

First in, then out – and now James Mwaura is in the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials that begin Friday in Eugene, Ore.

The Gonzaga distance runner’s appeal of an after-the-entry-deadline ruling was approved by USA Track and Field, according to Bulldogs men’s track coach Pat Tyson.

The sophomore from Tacoma bested the trials qualifying standard of 28 minutes in the 10,000 meter run with a time of 27:50.44 on Wednesday at the NCAA Championships, where he finished ninth. But in attempting to enter the trials the next day, Tyson was informed by USATF that the entry deadline had passed – even though the organization was still accepting qualifying marks up through Sunday for athletes who had entered previously without having reached the standard in their events.

In communications with Tyson on Monday, a USATF representative acknowledged the entry situation “is sometimes hard to interpret … technically, there is no late entry but we are trying to look hard at this without affecting the full meet while being fair across the board.”

In a later message, Tyson was informed that “you should be receiving a call from us to assist you in entering James.”

“I believed they focused on college athletes having very few opportunities to hit the standard due to COVID,” Tyson said a in text message, “thus the NCAA meet ended up counting. They have to be careful.”

Mwaura is the first Gonzaga track athlete to qualify for the trials. He’ll face a quick turnaround: The 10,000 final is on the first day of competition Friday.

Among athletes whose declarations are shown on the USATF website to have been accepted is Washington State’s Paul Ryan of Moscow, who finished eighth on Friday in the NCAA 1,500 meters.

Three other former Cougars – intermediate hurdler C.J. Allen, hammer thrower Brock Eager and steeplechaser Caroline Austin – have also had entries accepted. Other athletes on the yearly performance lists without qualifying marks may yet be added to fill out event fields if necessary.

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