Morgan Uceny learned a hard lesson at the IAAF World Championships last August.
She established herself as one of the favorites in the 1,500-meter run with a win at the U.S. Nationals and some eye-raising victories on the Diamond League circuit in Europe. But in the final at the Worlds, running in a tight pack, a Kenyan runner fell at Uceny’s feet. The 2007 Cornell graduate had nowhere to go, but down.
Now a year later, Uceny doesn’t appear to run in tight packs anymore. She’d rather push the pace then fall victim to another’s misfortune.
So at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, she left no doubt. She had the fastest time in the prelims foliowed by the fastest time in the semis. On Sunday she completed the trifecta with the fastest time in the finals (4:04.59), giving her a second straight national title. And this time a spot on Team USA in London, a first for a female Big Red trackster.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “Today was a little more windy so I didn’t want to take the lead. So I stayed tucked in around second and third the entire race. I was being really aware of who was around me and also in making sure I was okay. Once I saw I had the top three I went for the win. They didn’t make it easy on me, but I gave it a shot.”
Among those in the chase pack was Anna Pierce, the Brown graduate, who finished fifth in 4:07.78. Joining Uceny in London will be usual suspects Shannon Rowbury and Jenny Simpson.
But Uceny hoped she’d gotten to them. “In the first round I wasn’t planning on being in the front and I just went with it and I got comfortable with it,” she said. “I like making other people hurt, I like making other people hurt a lot. I’m happy with the outcome.”
That gives Team USA four Ivy Leaguers. Joining Uceny are Princeton steepler Donn Cabral and javelin throwers Craig Kinsley (Brown) and Sean Furey (Dartmouth).
In all, 16 Ivy Leaguers finished among the top 10 at the U.S. Olympic Trials, including 13 top-six. They are listed below:
1. ** Morgan Uceny (Cornell), 1500m
2. ** Donn Cabral (Princeton), steeplechase
3. ** Craig Kinsley (Brown), javelin
4. Ashley Higginson (Princeton), steeplechase
4. Conor McCullough (Princeton), hammer
4. ** Sean Furey (Dartmouth), javelin
5. Anna Pierce (Brown), 1500m
5. Abbey D’Agostino (Dartmouth), 5k
5. Justin Frick (Princeton), high jump
6. Ben True (Dartmouth), 5k
6. Max King (Cornell), steeplechase
6. Carrie Dimoff (Princeton), steeplechase
6. Becky Christensen (Harvard), high jump
7. Delilah DiCrescenzo (Columbia), steeplechase
7. Montez Blair (Cornell), high jump
9. Tora Harris (Princeton), high jump
** Headed to London for the Olympics.