Maine runner qualifies for Olympic Trials
PALO ALTO, Calif. — Carsyn Koch of Washburn hasn’t even completed her sophomore year, but the Cedarville University student is already making history.
Koch ran the fastest 800 meters in NCAA Division II women’s outdoor track and field history, clocking a time of 2 minutes, 2.39 seconds on Sunday at the Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford University. The performance was good enough for Koch to meet the qualifying standard for the U.S. Women’s Olympic Trials.
“I was really nervous, but I knew I could run with these girls,” Koch said of the race. “No one had told me I was seeded last so, as far as I knew, the race wouldn’t be easy, but it was definitely possible to finish well in my heat.”
Koch finished fourth in the second of six heats of the 800 and had the eighth-fastest time. Chrishuna Williams, running unattached in the first heat, led the field in 2:00.58.
The best 32 qualifiers will be invited to compete at the Olympic Trials set July 1-10 at Eugene, Oregon. The qualifying mark is 2:03.0.
“It was a little windy, but otherwise perfect conditions,” Koch said. “I went out with the mindset of doing my best and racing smart splits. I was proud of all the hard workout days and discipline with my training paying off.”
Two weeks earlier, Koch had run the third-fastest 800 in Division II history (2:03.58) at the Mt. SAC Relays in California.
Koch won the NCAA Division II indoor 800 title earlier this year after taking runner-up honors in the event at the outdoor championships in 2015.
Koch continues to build on an exceptional career at Washburn, where she competed in five different sports including basketball, soccer, cross-country and outdoor track.
“I am excited for Carsyn. She is a tremendous young lady. She has a special God-given talent and the work ethic and focus to compete at a very high level,” said Cedarville coach Jeff Bolender.
“She is humble, but at the same time is confident. This is so important as she has been thrown into such competitive races this early in her running experiences,” he added.