University of Dayton track and field star battling for spot on US Olympic Team

DAYTON — University of Dayton sophomore Casey Bogues has already seen a meteoric rise in the collegiate track and field scene, but that rise is on the verge of continuing as she battles for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team.

>>Darke County native wins 800-meter run at Olympic Trials, earns spot in Tokyo games

Earlier this year, Bogues, a javelin thrower and New Jersey native, became only the third Flyer in school history to qualify for the NCAA Championships, throwing a personal best earlier this month. Now, Bogues is attempting to qualify for a trip to Tokyo at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon.

“I honestly can’t even believe still that I qualified for trials and that I’m actually going and everything. I don’t think I’ll fully believe it until I’m there on the runway about to throw my first throw,” Bogues told News Center 7′s James Rider Tuesday.

Jokingly, Bogues said her coaches probably had bigger goals for her than she set herself at the start of the track season.

“My goal at the beginning of the season was just get to regionals and then when I got out of regionals it was get to nationals and perform well there and now that I’m able to go to trials its kind of crazy that I was able to keep building off the season and everything,” she said.

Javelin was not always Bogues’ preferred event, and track and field wasn’t always her sport. She played soccer in high school, but wanted to pole vault. And UD wasn’t even going to be her school at first, as she was originally going to attend a school closer to home in New Jersey.

“I had a big decision back in my senior year of high school in deciding where I’m going. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am if I went anywhere else,” she said.

Eventually she realized javelin was in her future and news of her accomplishments started making it back home.

“I had some old teammates that I haven’t heard from since high school texting me and it’s like ‘oh my god, these people are seeing what I’m doing.’ I never thought anyone would actually see what’s going on and stuff back home that’s outside of my tight knit group of people back home.”

Leading up to the trials, Bogues has been training with Olympian and volunteer UD coach Chantae McMillan, an experience Bogues says has been making her better and has helped keep her calm in competition.

“When I went to regionals that is the biggest stage I had ever competed on and in my head just repeating to myself ‘I compete against an Olympian every day at practice this is nothing compared to that.’ That definitely helped calm my nerves and get me into the head space that I needed to be in,” she said.

Her coaches say there’s a lot different about her, everything from the little things like nutrition up to her work ethic.

“It’s the hard work that gets you through the slumps, that gets you through the tough times. When you get to big stages like nationals and like US Trials, you have to be able to step up and that’s what really shines through,” UD assistant track and field coach Kevin Gilhuly said.

Bogues said she hopes to increase her personal best during the trials this week. She will compete Friday in the first round of the trials with the hopes of making it to the finals Saturday.