Donaldson and Grace Head to Iowa for NCAA National Championships

Donaldson and Grace Head to Iowa for NCAA National Championships

June 10, 2008

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A season that began more than a year ago for some will come to its dramatic conclusion on Wednesday, June 11, at Drake University for the beginning of the NCAA outdoor track and field championships. The best of the best: former all-Americans, Olympic qualifiers and national record holders, will compete in what is becoming one of the most competitive gatherings of track athletes in the world.

The Yale women's track and field team will send two athletes to compete and represent the Bulldogs at famous Drake Stadium (site of the renowned Drake Relays, an event on par with the Penn Relays), veteran senior Lindsay Donaldson and newcomer freshman Kate Grace.

Six-time all-American Lindsay Donaldson will take steps towards yet another certificate Wednesday night at 8:10 p.m., where she will compete in the preliminary round of the 5,000-meter run. The senior has been a force in the 5,000 since her freshman year - she has qualified for outdoor nationals every year of her career in the event. Donaldson finished sixth (16:45.83 final, 16:19.28 preliminary) in the 5,000 as a freshman, 19th as a sophomore (16:27.31) and 22nd as a junior (16:33.13). To maintain such a level of excellence in an organization as competitive as NCAA Division I track and field is truly outstanding.

Donaldson will be in the second of two heats in the preliminary round of the 5,000-meter run, position 11. To qualify for the final, the senior must finish in the top six of her heat or be one of the following four fastest times, rounding out a final of 16 athletes. Should she qualify, Donaldson would compete again on Friday, June 13, at 9:15 p.m.

Freshman Kate Grace will begin a grueling journey towards possibly her first all-American certificate at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, the scheduled time for the first round of the 800-meter run. At a contrast with Donaldson's established legendary status at Yale is Grace, whose collegiate career has just begun. The freshman erupted onto the scene with an Olympic B standard performance (2:06.32) in April, a personal record that she has improved on since then, lowering it to 2:06.12 and earning an "at large" bid to the national championship.

Grace will be in the third of four heats of the 800-meter run, lane seven. To escape the first round, Grace must finish in the top three of her heat or have one of the next four fastest times. If so, the freshman would run in the semi-final round (scheduled for Thursday, June 12, at 6:15 p.m.). To advance to the final, Grace would have to be in the top three of her heat (there will be two heats in the semi-final) or have one of the next two fastest times. The final is scheduled for 3:19 p.m. on Saturday, June 14.

report by Ted Galligan '10, Yale Sports Publicity