June 25, 2012
Kim Conley finished third in her heat in the 5,000-meter run on Monday evening, automatically advancing to Thursday's final at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials at Hayward Field and moving one step closer to her goal of reaching the London Games in August.
Conley, who finished her outstanding Aggie career in 2009 and currently runs for SRA Elite, was timed in 15 minutes, 47.39 seconds. She was eighth overall among the two heats and will race in the 16-person final on Thursday at 7:15 p.m. The top six finishers in each of Monday's two heats plus the next four fastest times advanced.
The top three finishers on Thursday will earn spots on the U.S. Olympic Team and are guaranteed spots in the 5K field in London provided they've reached the Olympics' automatic ("A") standard of 15:20. Conley already has the provisional ("B") standard and is close to the "A" mark.
Conley raced strong among the leaders throughout Monday's semifinal, flirting with the lead throughout the heat. Elizabeth Maloy of New Balance won the race in 15:46, barely ahead of Saucony's Molly Huddle (15:46.05). Abbey D'Agostino, running unattached, captured the opening heat in 15:41.14.
Conley wasn't the only Aggie assistant coach in action at the Olympic Trials on Monday. Throws coach Jonathan Tipton competed in the discus, finishing 17th during qualifying in the elite field with a mark of 57.36 meters (188 feet, 2 inches). It was his first competition of the year after focusing on coaching the UC Davis team this spring and helping senior Ashley Hearn earn All-America honors in the discus and a berth in the trials herself.
Volunteer assistant Ugo Eke, who completed her collegiate career a year ago, finished her stay at the trials on Saturday after advancing to the 400 semifinals. She was 14th overall in 53.46 after an impressive performance on Friday that moved her into the next round.