June 10, 2011

Grace Finishes Fifth in the Nation

Earns a Fourth All-America Honor

DES MOINES, Iowa – Senior Kate Grace competed in her final collegiate race today, and she went out with a bang. The All-American added another national honor to her career as she placed fifth in the final of the 800-meter run at the NCAA Championship. Grace finished in 2:04.22, less than a second off of her preliminary time of 2:03.48 on June 8.

Grace led by a slim margin during the whole of the first lap, clocking in at 59.66, and was even in second place with just 200 meters to go. Unfortunately she was unable to fend off late charges from the rest of the field. 

"I went for it. Coach [Mark] Young ['68] said it was going to be decided in the last 100 meters and it was," said Grace. "I came up short, probably a little shocked at going out so fast. But I can't say that I held anything back."

She finished her race in 2:04.22, which is just barely off of the school record of 2:03.41 that she set at NCAA First Rounds last month. Sophomore Anne Kesselring of Oregon claimed the title in 2:02.15, besting freshman Natalja Piliusina of Oklahoma State by a mere hundredth of a second.

The race was Young's last as well.

Grace said of their final race: "We wanted a higher place. The last thing I heard him yell was simply 'Win it'. But I'm happy that I took us that far: literally in position to win, up to 100 meters from the end."

The honor of All-America is awarded to the first eight finishers of American citizenship. This is Grace's fourth time receiving the accolade. It is also her highest finish at a national championship; she placed seventh in the same race last year.

As a junior in 2010, Grace had hoped only to qualify: "Last year, it was 'Don't get last'. I was in contention [for a title] this year. My time today would have been a college personal record before two weeks ago. I have improved each year at this level, not by the amount I had hoped this year, but it bodes well for future endeavors, and I will be running again."

Grace ends her Yale track and field career with four school records and six other top-ten times on the outdoor track, and three school records with thirteen additional top-ten times on the indoor track.

Report by Natalie Villa '13, Yale Sports Publicity

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