Stanislaus' Channing Wilson and Abraham Alvarado are two unique track and field athletes for the Warriors athletic program.
They are among some of the best to ever compete in their respective sport at Stanislaus and stamped their mark this past season after each embarked on a career-best performance that won them both an opportunity to compete for something they never imagined: a chance at the Olympics.
It’s more than a long shot for anybody to even imagine an opportunity to compete amongst those who will certainly make the final selection for Rio, but Wilson and Alvarado will each move one step closer to becoming an Olympian this week after qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
The trials will take place in Eugene at the University of Oregon's track and field stadium, starting Friday.
“Anything can happen but my biggest thing is being at trials is meeting a goal that I never thought would be an opportunity,” said Wilson, who will be competing in the women's javelin throw and graduated from Turlock High.
For Alvarado, who graduated from Atwater High, the opportunity was expected for the 800-meter runner who just finished his junior season and capped off an amazing performance at the Portland Track Festival with a blistering time of 1:46.9.
“Coming into this year I was expecting to make it because last year I was short two spots for trials but this year I dropped a lot more time especially two weeks ago in Portland,” said Alvarado. “It was PR or go home, so I knew it would be harder but it happened.”
Alvarado placed second in this year’s NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships with a time of 1:49.48 in the 800.
Heading into Friday's men's 800-meter run race, Alvarado is ranked 29th out of 32 competitors.
USA Track and Field accepted Alvarado's top 2016 time of 1:46.90 as part of the field of 24 elite athletes to run in the preliminary round Friday.
“I am blessed to get the opportunity to go there. I am the underdog and nobody knows me or nobody will care about me but it keeps pressure off,” said Alvarado. “I'll just go in and race, no pressure. I want to use it as an experience. I feel it’s a stepping stone for what I have ahead and I will give it my all.”
The top three finishers and those who meets the Olympic standards will compete in Rio, Brazil, in August.
For Wilson, a different route was taken for the former cross country runner at Turlock High who had very little knowledge of track and field.
“I didn't know a lot about track and field five years ago until coach [Joann] Davison checked up on me and recommended I could be a good javelin thrower,” said Wilson. “And at first I didn't really know but she brought it up to me again and it was something I enjoyed having to focus my time into besides just classes.”
Everything began to fall into place for Wilson, who also became a hammer, discus and shot put thrower while at Stanislaus.
Wilson's career top mark of 51.72 meters (169 feet, 8 inches) in the javelin throw was achieved at the NCAA D-II Championships, where she topped out in fifth place. She is a three-time CCAA Champion and three-time All-American in the event.
“It’s definitely a big honor to get to this meet. I know for me it’s something in the back of our minds but it was a far goal we could get to, but don't really set plans on it,” said Wilson. “I am ranked 24 out of 24 so I barely got in there. Should be an awesome experience though.”
The 800-meter race will begin at 4:15 p.m. Friday.
Wilson and the rest of the javelin field will hit the big stage in Eugene with qualifying rounds starting at 3:30 p.m. July 7.
NBC Sports will air some of the action from the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene starting Friday.