EUGENE, Ore. - Kim Conley, a former UC Davis distance standout and assistant coach, placed third in the women's 5,000-meter race at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials at Hayward Field Sunday. She crossed the finish line at 15 minutes,10.62 seconds, earning her a berth in the Olympic Games in Rio.
Molly Huddle of Saucony won the event with a time of 15:05.01 while Nike Bowerman's Shelby Houlihan placed second with a 15:06.14 time. Huddle and Conley were U.S. teammates in the same event during the 2012 Summer Games in London.
Conley held third place for most of the early portion of the race before slipping to fifth place after the 3,000-meter mark. She overtook Marielle Hall for fourth by the 4,200 split, then slipped behind Bowerman's duo of Houlihan and Emily Infeld with just one lap to go. With a 14:02.41 split, Conley trailed Infeld (14:02.06) and Houlihan (14:02.25) for that third and final spot to advance. However, the Santa Rosa, California native exploded to a 63.89-second final lap, overtaking Infeld on the back stretch to take third place for good.
Infeld, who finished second in the 10K last week, was seeded second in the race with a qualifying time of 15:00.91. Conley entered the event with the No. 7 entering mark (15:09.31). The Aggie cross country and track & field alumna also qualified for the Trials in the 10K, but a "flat tire" -- that is, an opponent stepping on her shoe -- forced her to withdrawal from the race.
Conley's Sunday finish matches her famed 2012 Trials performance, when she edged Julia Lucas by a mere four-hundredths of a second, snaring the third-place spot and surpassing the qualifying standard in the same finish-line lunge.
A 2004 graduate of Montgomery High School, Conley competed for UC Davis from 2004 through 2009, then served as a volunteer assistant coach for both cross country and track programs for five more seasons.
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Track & Field Meet on Jan. 28