Alum Ranks Eighth Among the Country's Best in 1,500-Meter Run
NEW HAVEN, Conn.—This weekend, Yale alum Kate Grace '11 will compete in the prestigious 2014 USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif. Grace is just off a performance in the IAAF World Relays, where she helped her team to break an American record in the 4x1500-meter relay. As a professional athlete, Grace will continue to run with some of the best middle and long-distance runners in the country this weekend. In fact, in the words of the USA Track and Field website, "The 2014 USATF Outdoor Championships will bring the nation's best athletes to Northern California." Among these are 2012 Olympians Shannon Rowbury, Jennifer Simpson and Morgan Uceny.
To be eligible to compete in the race, Grace had to meet the steep qualifying standard of 4:13.00—a number she shattered at this year's Payton Jordan invitational, hosted by Stanford University. Grace's time of 4:07.35 is the eighth-fastest entry in this weekend's 1,500-meter. Moreover, it is more than a 13-second improvement over her best collegiate time—indicating the rapid advancements Grace has made since graduating.
While Grace spent much of that time training at the New Jersey*New York Track Club, she recently announced her decision to move back to the West Coast and closer to her hometown of Los Angeles, Calif. She currently resides in Bend, Ore. and is sponsored by the running apparel company Oiselle, where she is considered an elite athlete and a master of the 800-meter run.
While at Yale, Grace was a four-time All American and made her mark in the record books in the 800-meter, 1,500-meter and mile runs. As a senior, she was awarded the Nellie Pratt Elliot Award—the most prestigious athletic award given to a senior female at Yale. Grace began to turn heads immediately after she graduated from college, as she began making strides under professional coach Frank Gagliano. Last summer, she reached an exciting point in her career when she qualified to compete in the 800-meter and 1,500-meter runs at the Olympic trials. Grace's other accolades are numerous, and include a title as the 43rdwoman in the United States to run a sub-4:30 mile.
The website of USA Track and Field describes the organization's status as a non-profit based in Indianapolis with a significant presence in the running world. It says, "USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track & field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the No. 1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States."
Grace is scheduled to compete in the preliminary round of competition at 7:03 p.m. this coming Friday. The final round will take place the following Sunday. Live results are available at http://www.usatf.org/Events---Calendar/2014/USATF-Outdoor-Championships/Live-Results.aspx while a complete schedule can be found at http://www.usatf.org/Events---Calendar/2014/USATF-Outdoor-Championships/Schedule.aspx.
Report by Maria Seravalli '16, Yale Sports Publicity