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Former USU athlete finishes 2nd in heptathlon at US Olympic Team Trials

Chari Hawkins, a former 5-time All-American at Utah State, competes in the women's heptathlon javelin throw during the Track and Field Olympic Team Trials.
Charlie Neibergall
Chari Hawkins, a former 5-time All-American at Utah State, competes in the women's heptathlon javelin throw during the Track and Field Olympic Team Trials.

Chari Hawkins certainly picked an ideal time to piece together the best track & field meet of her life.

The former Utah State University standout came through with a second-place performance in the women’s heptathlon at the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, which are being contested in Eugene, Oregon, at iconic Hayward Field. The two-day, seven-event heptathlon came to a conclusion on Monday evening.

Hawkins amassed a lifetime-best point tally of 6,456, which is barely off the automatic Olympic Qualifying Standard of 6,480. With her world ranking at No. 12, however, Hawkins will surely be selected to represent the United States at the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics. All athletes who place in the top three in an event at the U.S. Olympic Trials put themselves in a position to make it to Paris.

The Rexburg, Idaho, native PRed in three of the seven events across the two-day competition, including the final event, the 800 meters, which is typically one of her weakest events. Hawkins had yet to break the 2:24 barrier in the 800 this season, but threw down a time of 2:14.52 on Monday. Hawkins’ previous personal record in the 800 was a 2:15.01.

Hawkins also had PR performances in the shot put and javelin. The former Madison High School star finished second out of 18 competitors in the shot put with a mark of 48 feet, 1.75 inches, and was also the runner-up in the javelin with her heave of 161-8. Both of those lifetime best marks were achieved on her third and final attempts. Hawkins earned 839 points in the shot put and 846 in the javelin.

Hawkins finished in a four-way tie for second in the high jump by clearing the bar on her first attempt at 5-10.5. She scored 966 points, in the process.

The five-time second-team All-American at USU also placed among the top three performers in the heptathlon in the 100 hurdles as she posted the third-fastest time with a 13.11, which was good enough for 1,108 points — her highest point tally of the competition.

Hawkins recorded the seventh-fastest time in the 800 and the 10th-fastest in the 200 (24.21), plus was 11th in the long jump with her mark of 19-7. Hawkins, who competes for Brooks, accumulated 896 points in the 800, 961 in the 200, and 840 in the long jump.

The 33-year-old’s previous PR in the heptathlon was 6,366 points, which she racked up at the 2023 World Outdoor Championships last August in Budapest, Hungary. Hawkins placed eighth at that meet. She also represented Team USA at the 2019 outdoor world championships in Doha, Qatar.

Hawkins, who has also competed at the world indoor championships twice, will likely find out within the next week if she is indeed going to Paris. The 2022 U.S. indoor champion in the pentathlon should be a shoo-in, though.

Anna Hall, the silver medalist at last year’s world outdoor championships, won the heptathlon with 6,614 points. The 23-year-old is currently ranked first in the world.

Taliyah Brooks, ranked 16th in the world, was third with a PR of 6,408 points, while Michelle Artherley, ranked 14th, was fourth with 6,391. Indeed, Hawkins needed to have the best meet of her life just to have a shot of going to her first Olympics.

“We’ve had Chari Hawkins, Dillon Maggard, Ana Weaver, and Bailey Brinkerhoff-Todd compete in international events for USA the past few years, but the Olympics is a whole different story and level,” said Artie Gulden, USU’s director of track & field and cross country, in a press release. “Everyone in our program is super proud of Chari now being an Olympian and wish her the best in Paris. Aggie nation will be cheering loudly for her.”