July 5th, 2012 | Sports

Grace ’11 races at Olympic trials.

Kate Grace '11 finished less than a second short of qualifying for the 800m semifinals and was about two seconds away from advancing to the 1500m final at the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Oreg.
Kate Grace '11 finished less than a second short of qualifying for the 800m semifinals and was about two seconds away from advancing to the 1500m final at the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Oreg. Photo by Jacqueline Sahlberg.

After racing just quickly enough to advance to the 1500m semifinal at the Olympic Trials, Kate Grace’s ’11 run at making the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team ended last week.

Grace, a four-time All-American and six-time Ivy League Champion at Yale, qualified to compete in both the 800m and 1500m races at the trials in Eugene, Oreg. She ran a 2:04.28 to finish 20th in the 800m preliminary round on June 22, and advanced out of the 1500m preliminaries in the last qualifying spot on June 28. She finished 20th in 4:12.92 in the 1500m semifinals the following afternoon.

Grace said her races at the trials were disappointing, but added that the experiences gained in competing in the high level races — that were more “physically and tactically demanding” than collegiate races — were invaluable. She was less than a second slow of qualifying for the 800m semifinals and was about two seconds away from advancing to the 1500m final.

“I know it’s about the process, but it’s still heartbreaking because the chance to compete at trials is a special one that doesn’t come around all that often,” Grace said. “The biggest thing I learned in running both races is that there is completely another level of professional track and to succeed, I just need more experience.”

In addition to Olympians and world champions, Grace raced against former Ivy-League foes Morgan Uceny of Cornell and Greta Feldman of Princeton. Uceny won the 1500m final and qualified to represent the United States in London alongside Beijing Olympians Shannon Rowbury and Jenny Simpson.

Grace, who has been training in New Jersey since graduating in December, said it is too early to decide whether she will train through to race at the 2016 Olympic Trials for the Rio Games.

“A lot can happen in four years,” Grace said. “What I do know is I have been given the incredible opportunity to aim for the World Championships [in Moscow, Russia] next year.”

Katie O’Neil ’03, who finished 21st in the 10,000m run at the 2004 Games in Athens, was the last Bulldog to represent the United States on the track at the Olympics.