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Grace Wins 800-meter Run at ECAC Championships

Grace Wins 800-meter Run at ECAC Championships

May 17, 2009

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Sunday, the last day of the ECAC Championships, was a good day for Bulldogs to run 800 meters. After trials on Saturday, sophomore Kate Grace qualified for finals as did the 4x800-meter relay team. Grace won the 800-meter run on Sunday afternoon to earn All-East accolades, and the relay team came in a close seventh place. The Bulldogs ended the meet in 24th place out of the 58 competing teams.

Grace won her event in 2:08.44, proving that she can, in fact, compete at an amazingly high level two days in a row. She ran faster during Saturday's trials (2:06.75), but then so did everyone else: the entire field was slower on Sunday than on Saturday. Many of the top finishers from the preliminary heats did not compete in the finals: Maggie Infeld, the Georgetown senior who finished in 2:04.44 did not run, nor did two of the other initial qualifiers (a field of eight still competed in the finals; those who did not qualify at first were moved up when others dropped out). Anna Aagenes, the junior from Penn who has been competing neck-and-neck with Grace (finishing only .17 seconds behind her last weekend at the Heptagonals Championships), finished fourth today in 2:10.46. Today, the woman right on Grace's heels was a Seton Hall athlete, who finished only .45 seconds after her.

Grace will earn another All-East honor for her finish (she was also All-East indoors), and will start preparing for NCAAs. Grace has qualified for the NCAA Regional Championships in the 800-meter run. The Eastern Region's championship will be held in Greensboro, N.C. on May 29 and 30. The top 20 finishers there will automatically proceed to the NCAA National Championships June 10-13 hosted by the University of Arkansas. Last year Grace was able to compete at Nationals by earning an at-large bid for her sixth-place finish at Regionals combined with her performances throughout the season.

Yale's 4x800-meter relay team also performed well, though slower than Saturday's great 8:58.76 finish. During the finals the team, which consisted of senior Kathryn Schleckser, junior Erin Walsh, senior Kelli Buck and junior Stephany Reaves, finished in 9:03.82. Reaves was battling it out with an athlete from Lehigh University at the end, who crossed the finish line only .19 seconds before her. This was an agonizing reversal of the 4x800 competition at Penn Relays, when Yale finished .27 seconds ahead of Lehigh.

This was the end of the season for all of the Bulldogs but Grace, who will be competing at the NCAA Regional Championships hosted by North Carolina A&T State University in two weeks.

Report by Kyle Eichner '12, Yale Sports Publicity