June 22, 2012

Kate Grace '11 Finishes 20th in First Round of 800 Competition at Olympic Trials

Now Turns Attention to 1,500

EUGENE, Ore. – Yale's Kate Grace '11 finished 20th in the first round of competition in the 800-meter run Friday night at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field. Grace's time of 2:04.28 left her less than a second away from advancing to Saturday's semifinals. The top three in each of the four heats advanced, along with the next four best times.

Grace placed sixth in her heat, three-quarters of a second away from the third-place finisher. The top time of the first round was Molly Beckwith's 2:00.61.   

Grace now turns her attention to 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 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 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 broadcasting live on Sunday, July 1, during the 1,500-meter finals. The Olympics start on July 27 in London.

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, getting her PR in the 800 down to 2:01.63. 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 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity