Mammoth Track Club’s Morgan Uceny wins trip to London in 1,500 meters
For such a small little town, Mammoth came up big in the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials last week.
The latest hammer blow came on Sunday night, when Morgan Uceny easily won the 1,500 meters in 4-minutes, 4.59.4 in Eugene.
Uceny won over second-place Shannon Rowbury and third-place Jenny Simpson, both of whom joined Uceny on the U.S. team.
"I felt awesome up there," she said of her consistent lead in the wind-blown race. "I always had an exrta gear that I might have needed to respond if I needed to. But I knew as long as I ran smart, there was no way I could lose the race."
If there was any disappointment at all in the race it was that Mammoth Track Club’s Anna Pierce finished fifth in 4:07.78. That was good enough to set down an Olympic “A” standard, but not good enough to make the U.S. team. She was declared an alternate, however, meaning she can make the team if one of the others drops out for whatever reason.
"It hurt," said said, fighting off tears. "I'll just have to see what I'm going to do after the Olympics are done. I have a big roller coaster of emotions. I'm a little bit upset right now, but I'm still hungry and I still have a lot of fire. I love the 1,500 meters. I'm not going to go quietly."
Uceny, on other other hand, was as cool as a cucumber after the race.
With her victory, Uceny joined Amy Hastings of the Mammoth Track Club in middle-distance/long distance on the team. Hastings won the 10,000 meters earlier in the week.
Both of them now join marathoner Meb Keflizighi (marathon) and former Mammoth Track Club member Ryan Hall (marathon) on the team. Hall, the record holder in, among other races, the Tioga Pass Run, trains independently now.
Also running in London will be Irishman Alistair Cragg, a former University of Arkansas runner who, as a former member of the Mammoth Track Club—he dropped off the team earlier this spring—will run in the 5,000 meters in London.
The weekend, however, belonged to Uceny among the distance runners.
An Indiana native, Uceny started running track in high school to stay in shape for basketball. Eventually she realized she wasn't very good on the court, but she found her stride, as it were, in track.
"It's a big stepping stone," Uceny said in a press conference after the race.
"A lot of people go through their careers, having not made an Olympic team and been successful but it sucks to never be able to say you were an Olympian.
"Now I can always say I was an Olympian and no one can ever take that away. It's something I will always take with me."
Uceny currently is ranked first in the world in the 1,500 meter run and she heads to the Olympics as the favorite to win the gold medal.
"I'm so excited," Uceny said. "I've never been in better condition at this point in the season. I'm just really going to take advantage of that and do the best that I can to get a medal for the U.S."
Uceny will run in the qualifying round Aug. 5 or 7, with the medal round on Aug.9.
Hastings will run in the medal-only round on Aug. 3
Cragg will run in the qualifying round on Aug. 11, and possibly the medal round on Aug. 11.
Keflizighi and Hall will run in the traditional final event of the Olympics, the men’s marathon, on Aug. 12.
The Olympic Games begin with Opening Ceremonies on July 25, and stretch to Aug. 12.