Alumni to compete at US Olympic Marathon trials

Most schools in the nation won’t even be represented at the 2012 USA Olympic Marathon Trials on Saturday, Jan. 14, in Houston. Arizona State University will have five alumni representing the Maroon & Gold in the competition and two of those former student-athletes will be looking to make a run at the championship on the women’s side. 

The 26.2-mile race will see former ASU All-American Desiree Davila enters as one of the favorites to go toe-to-toe with the nation’s best as she looks to be crowned the U.S. champion as well as punch her ticket to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. 

Davila earned two All-American honors while competing for the Sun Devils as a senior in 2003 in cross country and the outdoor 5,000-meters. Since then, Davila has slowly been on the rise in the marathon game and eloquently punctuated that rise at the 2011 Boston Marathon where she went down the stretch with Kenya’s Caroline Kilel and nearly became the first American in 25 years to grab the Boston Marathon title.  She came just shy, however, but her presence as an international force was established. 

The top three finishers in Saturday’s race will earn a bid to the London Olympics. Another former Sun Devil very much in the running as one of the favorites to grab one of those bids in Amy Hastings. The 2006 NCAA indoor 5,000-meter champion and 10-time All-American will be right in the mix with Davila and had an impressive 2011 campaign where she qualified for the finals at 5,000 meters at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.  

Hastings was second at the Los Angeles Marathon last March and at just 27 years old, could be a threat in the event for several years to come.

The list doesn’t stop there for the Sun Devils as former standouts Alvina Begay and Cassie Bando (formerly Rios) will also be in the field on Saturday. 

The men’s side isn’t to be left out of things either, as four-time Sun Devil All-American Fasil Bizuneh will be in the field.  Bizuneh was the 2010 US 10-mile champion and has seen a solid international career sprout since his graduation from Arizona State in 2003. 

Saturday’s marathon trials are set to get underway around 3 p.m. EST and will be available for viewing on NBC.  The Arizona State University track and field team also opens the 2012 season on Saturday, competing at the Lumberjack Invitational in Flagstaff, Ariz.