Passing Gracefully

oiselle-grace

Photo by Oiselle

When Yale graduate Kate Grace took the stick on the third leg of the 4×1,500-meter relay at the inaugural IAAF World Relays in Nassau, the Bahamas, on Saturday night, the question was not if Team USA could claim the gold. For the team from Kenya had blown out to such a lead, no one was going to reel it in.

But it seemed like silver might be a bit too far as well. After two legs, Grace was handed the baton with about six seconds to make up on Team Australia. Instead of slowly closing the gap, she did it in just one lap, passing Brittany McGowan and giving Team USA anchor Brenda Martinez a nice margin to ensure a silver medal and an American record in 16:55.33.

“The energy in the stadium was like nothing else,” said Grace. “It was a humbling experience, being able to walk out in front of the flag with three teammates. I am so proud of them, happy to be a part of it, and happy to come out with an (American record).”

Grace and Martinez — joined by Heather Kampf and Katie Mackey — broke the old U.S. mark by 13 seconds, which was established by the University of Tennessee at the 2009 Penn Relays. That relay, which included Chanelle Price, Phoebe Wright, Rolanda Bell and Sarah Brown (nee Bowman), was clocked in 17:08.34.

The World Relays continue Sunday at Thomas Robinson National Stadium in Nassau with Cornell graduate Morgan Uceny available to run the 4×800-meter relay.

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