Stephanie Marcy races in the 3,200-meter finals at the 2007 class 2A track & field championships. Marcy, now running for the Stanford Cardinal, competes at the 2010 NCAA outdoor championships June 9. Sequim
Stanford University track star Stephanie Marcy is used to running in big races.
This one, however, is certainly the biggest of her life.
The 2007 Sequim High School graduate is slated to race in the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at 7:15 p.m. June 9 at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon in Eugene.
Marcy missed the NCA nationals by one place last year in the outdoor season and by one second in the indoor season.
"I'm just so thankful this year. I'm just happy that it's happened finally," Marcy said.
A high school standout while attending Sequim High, Marcy set the state 2A record for the 1,600-meters (broken this spring by Kingston's Ruby Roberts) in the 1,600 meters at 4:54.14.
She also won the class 2A state cross country title in 2006 and the Borderclash title that same year.
Making the jump from high school to college, Marcy had to make the adjustment to longer races. In high school, the longest competition was 5,000 meters. Now her specialty is twice that long.
"(The 10k) is a different sort of race; I like that you can be at a comfortable pace for a while," Marcy said. "It's more strategy. You're just trying to hang on. It's a big mental game too. I try not to think too much."
Marcy went on to earn an athletic scholarship to Stanford University where she red-shirted her first academic year. As a red-shirt freshman in 2008 she completed the season in the Cardinal top five grouping and placed 27th at the Pac-10 championships and 90th at the NCAA cross country championships.
Now Marcy, the Stanford junior by academic year, is racing at Hayward Field, long considered track and field's equivalent of Yankee Stadium. The field is home to the Oregon Ducks' track teams since 1921 and to Bill Bowerman, co-founder of Nike and considered by many the greatest American track & field coach. This is where some of the nation's top track stars compete each year.
"I raced twice there last year, it's an amazing facility," Marcy said.
She said she hopes to earn a personal best, to finish 33:41 or better.
"I just want to hang with the pack and not lose focus," she said.
Marcy qualified for nationals after finishing 10th at an NCAA qualifying meet in Austin, Texas, in late May. She finished in a time of 34:36, just 13 seconds behind winner Lisa Koll of Iowa State.
The qualifier featured 48 runners in 80-degree Texas heat and humidity. Six runners dropped out or couldn't finish, including Stanford teammate Kate Niehaus.
"It was packed; there was a lot of pushing and tripping and shoving," Marcy said.
The Sequim native has classics and ancient history majors at Stanford, with a minor in history.
She said that although racing and being a student in high school was tough, doing the same at the university level is even tougher.
"I do a lot of work on the road when we're gone, on the plane or in a hotel," she said. "We work really hard to catch up."
Reach Michael Dashiell at firstname.lastname@example.org.