NJ's McLaughlin-Levrone, Mattis Advance At Olympic Trials

New Jersey's Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, Sam Mattis, Ryan Matulonis and Aliya Garozzo all advanced at the U.S. Olympic Trials on Thursday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

McLaughlin, the World Record holder and reigning Olympic champ in the 400-meter hurdles, rolled to an easy victory in her opening round heat of the women's 400 hurdles, running 53.07, the fastest of all the qualifiers.

The 24-year-old McLaughlin, a 2017 graduate of Union Catholic, will continue her quest to make her third U.S. Olympic team when she races in the semifinals on Saturday night at 8:41 p.m. The final is Sunday at 8:29 p.m.

In 2016, McLaughlin became the youngest person to make the U.S. Olympic track and field team since Carol Lewis of Willingboro (long jump) and Denean Howard (400) made the 1980 U.S. team, but neither competed in the Olympic Games in '80 because of the U.S. boycott. When McLaughlin ran in Rio, she was the youngest U.S. track and field athlete to participate in the Olympic Games since 1972 when 15 year-old Cindy Gilbert competed in the high jump.

Five years later, McLaughlin won the 400 hurdles at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021 with an Olympic record time of 51.46 and also ran on the winning 4x400 relay. She dropped her world record down to 50.68 when she won the 400 hurdles at the 2022 World Championships at Hayward Field.

McLaughlin is a huge favorite to capture her fourth U.S. National Outdoor Championship. She won the 400 hurdles in 2021 and 2022 and won the flat 400 last year.   

Joining McLaughlin in the semis of the women's 400 hurdles will be Garozzo (Paul VI, Class of 2020), who finished fifth in her heat in 58.12. Garozzo won the 400 at the Ivy League Championships this past season for UPennn.


Sam Mattis, a 2012 graduate of East Brunswick High and a 2021 Olympian, began defense of his discus title by easily advancing to the final with a throw of 211-10 in the first round on Thursday.

Mattis will be aiming to make his second Olympic team and win his third U.S. National Championship when he competes in 12-man final at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Mattis finished first in 2019 and last year. 

The 211-10 by Mattis was the fourth best throw of the qualifying round. Mattis also had marks of 201-6 and 203-10. Reggie Jagers, a 2021 Olympian and the 2018 U.S. champion, led all the qualifiers with a throw of 214-11.

Mattis, who set the still-standing NJ high school discus record with a 218-4 in 2012, won discus at the 2015 NCAA Championships while he was at UPenn, finished 8th at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo and was 16th at the World Championships last year. He owns a PR of 225-4.


UPenn's Ryan Matulonis (Seton Hall Prep, Class of 2023) and Jameson Woodell of Rutgers (Hunterdon Central, Class of 2018) both advanced to the semifinals of the men's 400 hurdles. 

Reigning Ivy League 400 hurdles champ Matulonis, who just finished a sensational freshman year at UPenn, placed third in his heat in 50.73. Woodell finished fourth in his heat in 50.90. The top five in each heat automatically earned a spot in the semifinals, scheduled for Friday at 9:16 p.m.  The 9-runner final is scheduled for Sunday at 8:20 p.m.


In the first round of the men's 800, Sean Dolan (Hopewell Valley, Class of 2019) and Georgetown's Tim McInerney (Christian Brothers Academy, Class of 2019) didn't advance to the semifinals. Dolan placed eighth in the fourth heat in 1:48.42 and McInerney finished eighth in the third heat in 1:48.84.  

Tionna Tobias (Winslow Twp., Class of 2019) and A'liyah Thomas (Union Catholic, Class of 2021) did not advance to the final of women's long jump. Thomas, who competes for UConn, finished 22nd in the opening round with a 19-10.25, and Tobias of the University of Iowa, was 24th with a 19-8.  

Travis Mahoney (Old Bridge High, Class of 2008) ran 13:41.79 to place 15th in his opening round heat of the men's 5,000.