Beyond Athletics Sport Specific

Look For These NCSA Athletes Turned Olympic Trialists

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We are proud of all of our NCSA athletes — more than 100,000 of them — who have persevered to make their dreams of college sports a reality.

During the Olympic trials, we have even more reason to celebrate, as several NCSA athletes are going out as Olympic trialists for the opportunity to represent their country in Rio.

Alison Vincent, a head track and field recruiting coach and a regular contributor to our blog and online workshops, shares more information with us about these talented athletes and the rigors of being Olympic trialists.

We have at least two NCSA athletes who will be competing this coming week for a spot on the US Olympic team.

Bria Matthews is lighting things up her freshman season at Georgia Tech in the Triple Jump.

And Valarie Allman just finished up fourth at NCAA Nationals in the discus as a junior at Stanford.

Olympic trialists face a whole new level of competition

It is a very special & intimidating experience to compete at the Olympic Trials as a college athlete.

The Olympic Trials are a unique event as not only a national level championship for the sport of track & field, but it is also a stepping stone to the biggest stage in the world for our sport. There are automatic qualification standards for each event. Only if there are fewer than the number of qualifiers do the trials start looking for additional nationally-ranked entrants to fill the field.

For both Valarie & Bria, this means that they are in the top 24 in the country in their event.

Professional, collegiate, post grad athletes: the top 24.

That means they are in the top 2% of athletes in their event area. To be 18-21 years old & competing at this level is exceptional. They both will have 2-3 more Olympic cycles ahead of them if they choose to keep competing.

Prepare mentally for the Olympic trials

This advice is important for any athlete, no matter what level of competition.

While it is a honor to make it to this meet, as an athlete – you are there to compete.

In both cases, these women will be competing against women who are 10+ years old than them, with much more experience in competition, but they belong there because they have hit the numbers necessary to be in the competition.

They have to keep their heads on to make sure they compete well and do not get overwhelmed by the whole experience.

I can speak from experience to these young women’s talents. Valarie was a national leader in discus as a junior in high school; she came close to breaking a national record her junior & senior years of high school, and we worked closely to look at the options she had.

She had amazing grades as well as test scores & top level PRs so she was pretty popular in the process. She committed to Stanford in the fall of her senior year and has continued to excel in her time there.

Bria is a really great student whose decision to choose GA Tech was completely driven by academics — she wanted a top-notch engineering program and was fortunate to find that in her home state of Georgia. She was a great athlete in high school and signed with GA Tech during our early signing period last fall.

She made it to Indoor Nationals this year as a freshman & was freshman of the year in ACC. She was leading the nation in TJ for the first four weeks of the indoor season.

As I am for all of the NCSA athletes I have the honor to help in the recruiting process, I am so proud of Bria and Valarie and excited to see them compete well this weekend!


From everyone at NCSA Athletic Recruiting, congratulations!

To learn more about working with head recruiting coaches like Alison on your journey to college sports, get started with a recruiting profile.

About the author
Andy McKernan

Andy McKernan is the content strategist at NCSA Athletic Recruiting. A content marketer with a background in creative writing, Andy brings several years of experience to NCSA.