Incoming SVSU sophomore and track and field standout Robert Atwater has been selected to compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon this coming week. A top-three finish in the high-jump trials would send Atwater to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in August.
“I had one of the top 24 jumps in the United States, so I was selected to attend,” Atwater said. “If I place top three in high-jump at the trials, then I will be on the Olympic team. At that time, I would start training for the next month or so for the games.”
Atwater, 19, broke the SVSU indoor track high-jump record during his freshman season and was named Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Men’s Field Athlete of the Week this past February. He went on to win the high-jump at the GLIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships and was awarded Freshman of the Meet for field events, along with taking sixth in the country at NCAA Division II Indoor Championships.
He leaves for the Olympic Trials on Wednesday, July 6.
“This is my first time going, so I’m not sure exactly what I’ll be doing,” Atwater said. “Hopefully I get there and I can go see the facilities and then the next day I can practice and get used to the facility. Friday I start qualifying rounds. If I make it past qualifying rounds, then Sunday I’m in the finals.”
Qualifying rounds for high-jump begin at 4 p.m. on Friday, and Sunday’s finals will take place at 3 p.m.
For Atwater, the whole process has been surreal.
“The dream is to make the team, that’s what I’m really hoping for,” Atwater said. “I had never thought about this or saw myself getting to this point, so it was a big thing when I received the call from my coach.”
Live results and streaming of various events at the trials are being covered by the NBC Sports Network.