Mackie and Palmer advance at Olympic Trials

(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

EUGENE, Ore. – Nachelle Mackie and Katie Palmer advanced to the 800 meter semifinals at the USA Track & Field Olympic Trials on Friday. Both athletes are battling for a spot on the U.S. Track & Field Team that will compete in the 2012 London Olympics.

Palmer earned an automatic spot in the semifinals by finishing third in her heat with a time of 2:03.66. Mackie took fourth in her heat with a time of 2:03.30. The top three in the four heats automatically advanced to the semifinals. The four runners with next best times also advanced.

The women’s 800 meter semifinal will be held on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. PT. The top three finishers from the two heats plus the two runners will the next best times will advance to the final, scheduled for Monday at 6:50 p.m. PT. Mackie will run in the first semifinal heat while Palmer will run in the second.

To earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team, athletes must finish in the top three of their respective event while also achieving the Olympic A Standard within the past year. The Olympic A Standard for the women’s 800 meters is 1:59.90. Mackie entered the trials with a personal best time of 2:01.06 while Palmer’s personal record is 2:01.40.

Former Cougar Heidi Magill Dahl also competed in the 800 meters but did not advance to the semifinals. She finished with a time of 2:09.49. Dahl also qualified for the Olympic Trials in the 1,500 meters. She finished fifth in the 1,500 meters at the 2005 NCAA Championships to earn All-America honors for the Cougars.

Another former Cougar at the Trials as an Olympic hopeful is Jennifer Rockwell Grossarth. She will be competing in the 400 meter hurdles. The qualifying round will be held on June 28. Grossarth was a two-time All-America honoree for BYU in the distance medley relay in 2002 and 2004.

NBC and NBC Sports Network will provide coverage of the trials through July 1. See the broadcast schedule below.

Date Time Channel
Sat., June 23 8-9 p.m. ET/PT NBC
Sun., June 24 7-8 p.m. ET/PT NBC
Mon., June 25 9-11 p.m. ET NBCSN
Thurs., June 28      9-11 p.m. ET NBCSN
Fri., June 29 6-8 p.m. ET NBCSN
Sat., June 30 9-10 p.m. ET/PT     NBC
Sun., July 1 7-8 p.m. ET/PT NBC

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