June 25, 2012
EUGENE, Ore. - Leading from wire to wire, former Cal standout Alysia Montano won the women's 800 meters at the U.S. Trials Monday and is headed to the Olympic Games this summer in London. Montano raised her arms in triumph after crossing the line in 1:59.08 to highlight an active day for the Golden Bears at Hayward Field.
Running out of lane five, Montano sprinted to a big lead out of the gate with a 26.55 split over the first 200 meters. By the halfway point, she was up by nearly a second and a half over her nearest pursuer. In the end, Montano held off runner-up Geena Gall, who was second in 1:59.24 and third-place finisher Alice Schmidt (1:15.46).
The victory made Montano, who claimed the 2007 NCAA title for the Bears, a four-time USA champion. She owns a season-best of 1:57.37, which is the No. 2 time in the world this year. Montano also finished fourth in the 800 at the World Championships last summer.
"I'm representing the United States of America," Montano told NBC after the race. "To me, it just means perseverance, it means resilience, it means fighting through adversity. I'm just super duper elated.
"My whole mentality is to be brave and have heart," she added when asked about her fast start to the race. "I have no control with what goes on when my heart is out there on the line. This is what we do at practice. I'm prepared to run a really, really fast time. Those girls on the Olympic stage are not running slow."
In the women's 5000, Maier, who was ninth in the 10,000 meters over the weekend, was fifth in her heat in 15:43.54 to advance to Thursday's final. The top six in each of two heats plus the next four fastest moved on to the next round.
Maier's time was the fastest 5000 run outdoors in school history, breaking the mark of 15:46.80 set by Kirsten O'Hara in 1985. Maier owns a PR of 15:29.24 from the 2012 indoor season.
Lewy Boulet, a 2008 Olympian in the marathon, qualified 14th at 15:51.73, which was seventh in heat two.
Former Pac-10 champion Ed Wright tied for fifth in the men's high jump after clearing 7-4.50 to match his lifetime best. Knowing he had to post a height of 7-7 to meet the Olympic "A" standard, Wright passed at 7-5.75, but he missed on all three attempts.
Tracey Stewart, a two-time Pac-10 runner-up for the Bears, placed sixth in the women's triple jump final with a mark of 43-2.50 that came on her first attempt of the competition.
Athletes will take a break for a couple of days, with the Trials resuming Thursday.
U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials
Q - qualified for final