2016-17 Alumna of the Year

The 2016 USATF 800m champion Kate Grace (Yale ’11) decided to challenge herself for her 2017 track season – she wanted to go to the IAAF World Championships in the 1,500m.  We’ve seen her compete in both the 800m and 1,500m during her senior year at Yale and a little more in her first years as a professional.  We understood that her doing that double was to help build her strength so she could be fast through multiple rounds of the 800m.  But this past year was the first year where she mainly focused on the 1,500m.

Her indoor season went well.  She set an eight-second personal best in the 3,000m at the UW Indoor Preview, where her winning time of 8:47.26 was a new facility record.  A few weeks later, she ran the fourth fastest indoor mile time for an American – 4:22.93 – to finish as the runner-up in the Millrose Games Women’s Wanamaker Mile.  Grace is now officially the fastest Heps woman miler ever, as she bested Lynn Jenning’s 1990 time of 4:24.14.

Grace entered the USATF National Championships as the top seed in the 1,500m with a 4:03.59 that she ran at the 2017 Prefontaine Classic.  She left the meet as the national runner-up – 4:06.95 – and a berth on Team USA for the IAAF World Championships in London.  While her outdoor season ended with a World semi-final appearance, Grace shared in a post-race interview with Letsrun.com that this was a learning experience for her as running through multiple 1,500m racing rounds was a good challenge.

With all of this development in her 1,500m time, how will this correlate to her specialty, the 800m?  I guess we will have to wait until next season to find out.

photo by John Nepolitan

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