Kate Grace '11 Advances to 1,500-Meter Run Semis at Olympic Trials

Kate Grace. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Kate Grace. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

PORTLAND, Ore. - Yale's Kate Grace '11 has advanced to the semifinals in the 1,500-meter run at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials thanks to her performance in Thursday night's heats. Grace's time of 4:17.65 placed her seventh in her heat. The top six finishers in each of the three heats advanced to the semifinals automatically; then, the runners with the next six best times from all heats advanced. Grace was the 24th and final qualifier for the semis, which take place on Friday 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). All events are at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field.

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.

Earlier in the meet, Grace had placed 20th in the heats of the 800-meter run with a 2:04.28, missing out on the semifinals in that event by less than a second.

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.

The top time Thursday, 4:14.07, belonged to former Cornell runner Morgan Uceny. Shannon Rowbury, who finished seventh in the event at the 2008 Olympics, ran a 4:16.17 to place 15th overall (first in the first heat, which Grace ran in as well).

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