EUGENE, Ore. — Bozeman resident Grayson Murphy ran nine minutes, 25.37 seconds to win her heat of the women's 3,000 meter steeplechase at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in track and field Sunday at Hayward Field.
Her winning time surpasses the Olympic standard, so if she places in the top three in Thursday's final, she could be selected to represent Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics. It was also a new personal-best time.
The top-five finishers from each of the two heats, plus the fastest four other qualifiers, will run in Thursday's final. World champion Emma Coburn won the second heat in 9:21.32.
In the first heat, though, world silver medalist Courtney Frerichs got tripped up on the second lap, but Frerichs got back up and began to push the pace running from the front. Murphy stuck with the lead pack in fifth place for most of the race, but with 450 meters to go, she started moving up.
By the time they got to the final water jump, Murphy had taken the lead and recognized they were on Olympic standard pace. Murphy had run the Trials qualifier earlier this season, but still needed the Olympic standard if she is to have a chance of being selected to the Olympic team.
No stranger to representing Team USA, Murphy is a world mountain running champion who plans to try to defend her title later this fall in Thailand.
After stepping away from competition on the track in 2018, Murphy decided to make a return this season to see what else she may still be able to do.
"It’s gone really well, a lot smoother than I would have even expected," Murphy told 406mtsports.com last week while she was preparing. "Getting back on the track was an experience too because I think that’s just a totally different kind of racing that doesn’t even compare to road or trail stuff."
They will race again Thursday at 9:47 p.m. (MDT).