Cal Poly Olympians
Stephanie Brown Trafton earned Cal Poly's first-ever Olympic gold medal in the women's discus at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China. An Arroyo Grande High School and Cal Poly graduate who currently resides in Galt, Brown Trafton won the Olympic title with a best mark of 212 feet, 5 inches.
She reached that mark on her first throw and the rest of the 12-person field couldn't catch her. Brown Trafton was third at the U.S. Olympic Trials but had the best throw by an American this season.
Brown Trafton's gold was her first title on the international level and gave the United States its first gold medal in the event since Lillian Copeland won at the 1932 Los Angeles Games. It also is the first U.S. medal in the event since Leslie Deniz won silver in 1984, also in Los Angeles.
Brown Trafton, who graduated from Cal Poly in 2004 with a degree in engineering, competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, placing 11th in the first of two groups in the prelims with a mark of 192-1. She did not advance to the final round. She also qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England, and placed eighth overall with a mark of 206 feet, 8.5 inches.
Brown Trafton, who posted a mark of 212-10.5 in the prelims, won the discus at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials with a throw of 206-1. She broke the American record with a mark of 222-3 on May 4, 2012, at the Altius TC Throwdown in Maui, Hawaii.
Brown Trafton was a seven-time Big West champion -- four in the shot put and three in the discus -- and three times earned NCAA All-America honors, placing seventh in the shot put in 2001, fourth in the discus in 2002 and fourth in the shot put in 2003. She also earned three All-America certificates in indoor track and still holds Cal Poly records of 57-0 in the shot put and 189-7 in the discus.
Brown Trafton was a three-time state high school champion who also played basketball at Arroyo Grande High School and Cal Poly before an injury ended her hoops career.
Wrestler Boris Novachkov (right) was the lone Mustang who qualified for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and split his two matches at 65kg. He was the second Mustang qrestler to qualify for the Olympics. Pat Lovell competed in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo in the light heavyweight division of Greco-Roman wrestling.
Gina Miles (Crop Science '97) earned a silver medal in the equestrian sport of eventing in Hong Kong, also in the 2008 Olympics, while Karen Kraft (Architecture '91) earned a silver medal for pairs rowing at the Atlanta Games in 1996 and a bronze at the 2000 competition in Sydney.
Miles (pictured at left) currently resides in Creston while Kraft recently was named assistant coach of women's rowing at the University of Wisconsin.
Former Cal Poly track and field standout Sharon Day-Monroe qualified for the women's high jump in the 2008 Olympics, but did not advance to the finals. Day missed on three attempts at 6-2 1/4 and settled for 12th place in Group A with a mark of 6-0 3/4.
Day (pictured at right), who graduated from Cal Poly in 2008 with a degree in kinesiology, finished third at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, with a mark of 6 feet, 3 1/4 inches, thus qualifying for the 2008 Olympics.
In 2012, Day qualified for the London Olympics in the heptathlon and placed 16th with a total of 6,232 points. She was second at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, with a personal-best total of 6,343 points. Day qualified for the trials with a total of 6,337 points at a meet in March 2012 at Westmont College.
In 2016, Day-Monroe was fourth in the U.S. Olympic Trials, just missing a spot in the Olympics. She has competed in five IAAF World Track and Field Championships.
Day earned her seventh NCAA All-America certificate in June 2008 with a second-place finish in the women’s high jump at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
Former Cal Poly first baseman/outfielder Jimmy Van Ostrand played first base for Team Canada in the 2008 Olympics and went 0-for-2. He finished the tournament 4-for-15 (a .267 average).
Van Ostrand was 2-for-4 in Canada's 10-0 win over China, then went 1-for-3 with a double in a 7-6 loss to Cuba. He was used as a pinch-hitter in Canada's 1-0 loss to South Korea as well as in a 5-4 setback against Team USA. Van Ostrand was 0-for-1 in both games.
Van Ostrand did not play in a 1-0 loss to Japan but went 1-for-3 with a walk while playing first base and left field in a 4-0 win over the Netherlands, snapping a four-game Team Canada losing streak. He singled to drive in a run in the eighth inning against the Netherlands.
Van Ostrand was named to the 24-man Team Canada roster in July 2008 due in large part to his performance in the seven-game round-robin Final Olympic Qualifying Tournament held in Chinese Taipei in March. Van Ostrand hit .556 on 10-for-18 hitting, striking out just twice and walking three times. He drove in eight runs.
Van Ostrand played in the Houston Astros’ minor league system for a few years.
A Mustang in 2005 and 2006, Van Ostrand was selected in the eighth round of the 2006 June Amateur Draft by the Astros. He is a senior in kinesiology at Cal Poly.
Other former Mustangs who have competed in the Olympic Games include Reynaldo Brown in the men's high jump (1968 and 1972), Mohinder Gill in the men's triple jump (1972 for India), Bart Williams in the 400 hurdles (1980), Carmelo Rios in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (1984 for Puerto Rico), Sue Rembao in the women's high jump (1992), Karin Smith in the women's javelin (1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992), Sharon Hanson-Lowery in the women's heptathlon (1996) and Gene Lenz in swimming (1960).
In addition, Rory Cooper and Mark Barr competed in the Paralympic Games. In 1988, Cooper won a bronze medal in wheelchair racing while Barr competed in swimming events at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing.