On the biggest stage in college sports, Sequim's Stephanie Marcy acted out one of her best performances to date.
The 2007 Sequim High School grad raced to a personal-best in the 10,000 meters and placed eighth at the NCAA Track & Field Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., on June 9, earning All-American honors.
"I felt really good," Marcy said. "I felt comfortable for a long time. I knew I'd just have to get into a groove, which I did. I just had so much fun."
Marcy qualified for nationals after finishing 10th at an NCAA qualifying meet in Austin, Texas, in late May, finishing in 34 minutes, 36 seconds.
A few days before the race in Eugene, Marcy said she hoped to run a personal best. She did exactly that, churning through the rain to finish in 33 minutes, 32.92 seconds, moving her into fifth place on the all-time 10K list at Stanford.
At about 4,000 meters, eventual champ Lisa Koll of Iowa State broke free from the pack while Marcy stayed with those trailing close behind. Marcy remained with that pack before picking off two runners in the last two laps for the All-American finish.
Marcy ran 80-second laps for nearly the entire race before a 73-second final lap. She beat the No. 9 runner - Andrea Walkonen of Boston University - by just 0.26 seconds for that final All-American honor. Koll won in 32:49.
"It was crazy; there was a lot of jostling around," Marcy said. "We were all bunched up for a long time and then (Koll) just took off."
Awed by the track
She admitted to being awed by Hayward Field, the University of Oregon track where 1970s running sensation Steve Prefontaine became a sensation and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman coached the Ducks.
Marcy even watched "Without Limits," the movie about Prefontaine, the evening before her big race.
"The crowd was just huge and loud; it was inspirational," she said.
Up next for the Stanford junior? A couple of weeks without running, since she's been racing with a stress fracture in her foot and gambling that the injury wouldn't derail her season.
Then, time to prepare for the 2010 cross country season.
Reach Michael Dashiell at firstname.lastname@example.org.