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Kate Grace ’11 to Compete at U.S. Olympic Team Trials

Kate Grace. (photo by Tim O'Dowd)
Kate Grace. (photo by Tim O'Dowd)

School Record Holder in 800 and 1,500 Vying for Spot on Team USA

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Kate Grace '11, Yale's record-setting track star, will compete for a spot in the upcoming Olympics at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials starting this week in Eugene, Ore., at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field. The first round of competition (32 athletes) in Grace's signature event, the 800-meter run, takes place at 5:00 p.m. Pacific time (8:00 p.m. Eastern) on Friday. She will also compete in the 1,500 meter run, with the qualifying round in that event (30 athletes) scheduled for 3:50 p.m. Pacific time (6:50 p.m. Eastern) on Thursday, June 28.

The largest national championship track meet in the world, the U.S. Olympic Trials include more than 1,000 athletes competing for the right to represent Team USA at the Olympic games. NBC and NBC Sports Network will have a total of 67.5 hours of coverage of the trials, with NBC Sports Network broadcasting live on Monday, June 25, during the 800-meter finals and NBC broadcasting live on Sunday, July 1, during the 1,500-meter finals. The Olympics start on July 27 in London.

The semi-finals for the women's 800-meter run (16 athletes) at the Trials take place on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Pacific time (7:30 p.m. Eastern), and the finals (eight athletes) are on Monday at 6:50 p.m. Pacific time (9:50 p.m. Eastern).

The semi-finals for the women's 1,500-meter run (24 athletes) take place on Friday, June 29 at 3:45 p.m. Pacific (6:45 p.m. Eastern). The finals (12 athletes) are Sunday, July 1 at 4:23 p.m. Pacific time (7:23 p.m. Eastern).

The U.S. can have up to three entries in each event at the Olympics, provided that they meet the A standard (1:59.90 in the 800, 4:06.00 in the 1,500) (one entry may meet the B standard, 2:01.30 in the 800 and 4:08.90 in the 1,500). If two or more athletes in the final have met the A standard by the end of that event in the Trials, then the top three who have met the A standard are on the Olympic team, with the fourth-best placement among those meeting the A standard being an alternate.

Since graduating, Grace has kept up her training as a member of the New Jersey-New York Track Club, shaving nearly two seconds off her PR in the 800. Her time of 2:01.63 places her 18th among the runners currently listed for the Trials on the USA Track & Field website. The top time, 1:57.37, belongs to Alysia Montano, the three-time U.S. Outdoor champion and former PAC-10 Women's Track Athlete of the Year for the University of California. The field also includes 2008 Olympians Hazel Clark and Alice Schmidt. Grace's 1,500-meter time of 4:10.57 places her 16th among the runners currently listed for that event on the USA Track & Field website. The top time, 4:01.59, belongs to former Cornell runner Morgan Uceny. Shannon Rowbury, who finished seventh in the event at the 2008 Olympics, is also in the field, with a time of 4:05.92.

Grace capped her Yale career a year ago by earning the Nellie Pratt Elliot Award -- the most prestigious athletic award given to a senior female at Yale -- and being named Northeast Region Track Athlete of the Year. She earned her fourth All-American honor as well. She was a six-time Ivy League Heptagonal champion in the 800-meter run, winning the event both indoors and outdoors in each of her final three seasons. She was just the second runner in league history to win six 800-meter run titles.

Grace set several indoor records her senior season, including a school record and personal best of 4:39.52 in the mile. Her school record time in the 800, 2:03.41, came at the NCAA First Round meet last spring. She set another school record in winning the ECAC 1,500-meter race in 4:20.66 outdoors. And in addition to winning her third consecutive Ivy outdoor championship in the 800, she won the 1,500-meter race at Heps too.

Grace majored in environmental studies and was a member of Saybrook College at Yale. She is a native of Santa Monica, Calif., and attended Marlborough High.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity