June 5, 2011

Grace to Compete at NCAA Championship

Enters With the Third-Fastest Preliminary Time

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The culmination of senior Kate Grace's track and field career at Yale will take place on the most competitive stage possible: the NCAA Championships. By virtue of her first-place finish in the 800-meter run at the NCAA First Round on May 27, she advanced to compete in the national semi-finals in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 8. The top eight athletes in those races will move on to race for the championship on June 10.

Grace's time of 2:03.41 was the third-fastest run by all athletes in both the east and west preliminary rounds. At the western First Round, sophomore Stephanie Brown of Arkansas finished first in 2:02.59 followed by freshman Laura Roesler of Oregon in 2:03.12. In all, Grace was one of only five athletes to run under 2:04 in the national quarter-final heats.

This time is the fastest of her college career, meaning that she will be in top form to challenge for a national title this year. She has competed at the NCAA Championships in each of her four seasons, advancing to the final in her junior year. Grace finished seventh in last year's final in 2:05.92, earning her the second All-America honor of her career. Of the eight athletes competing in that final, only Grace and sophomore Anne Kesselring from Oregon will return to the national championship; five were seniors. In her sophomore year she placed 16th in the semi-final in 2:08.50 and in her freshman year, she was 24th in 2:09.47 as one of only three freshmen to compete.

The NCAA Championship also marks the end of distance coach Mark Young's '68 career at Yale; he will retire at the end of this season after more than 30 years.

The national semi-finals will take place at 6:00 p.m. central time on June 8. Grace is seeded as the fastest of eight in the second heat. In each of three heats, the two fastest athletes will advance, along with the next two fastest overall. The final will be held at 7:10 p.m. central time on June 10. Live results are available here, with live video available here.

Report by Natalie Villa '13, Yale Sports Publicity

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