|Rice distance runner Wade earns spot in Olympic Trials|
By 2:30 a.m. Saturday, Becky Wade knew talking her body into going to sleep would be impossible. "I probably got an hour," Wade said. Never had tossing and turning felt so good.
Wade, a fifth-year senior distance runner at Rice, obliterated the 20-year-old school record in the 10,000 meters - by nearly 42 seconds - late Friday night at the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif.
Her time of 32 minutes, 40.82 seconds also qualified Wade for this summer's U.S. Olympic Trials.
"The Olympic Trials is something I've dreamed about since I started running track in high school," said Wade, who attended Ursuline Academy in Dallas. "Just to know I'm definitely going to be there mixing it up with the best girls in the country is a huge honor."
Her time is the ninth fastest in the world this year, according to the International Association of Athletics Federations, the governing body for track and field, and fifth fastest among Americans.
The old Rice record was 33:22.14, set by Julie Jiskra in 1991.
"It did surprise me," Wade said. "I didn't really believe I was going to run that fast."
Not until the final 800 meters, when Rice women's coach Jim Bevan, standing along the track, shouted out her time. At that point, Wade had the school record well in hand. Next in her sights was the "A" standard time of 32:45 to qualify for the Olympic Trials.
"That's totally doable … I'm going to do that," Wade said of her reaction heading into the final two laps.
Wade ran the final mile in 5 minutes, 6.9 seconds, which was a tenth of a second faster than her best time in high school, Bevan said.
"She ran a great race. But we also know if everything holds true, there's more there," he added.
After having her career interrupted by a major hip injury between her junior and senior seasons, Wade is enjoying a banner final season. She earned All-America recognition in cross country in November and in the 5,000 meters at the NCAA indoor meet last month.
"I'm just so fortunate to have this fifth year to give it another shot," Wade said.
By securing the qualifying time, Wade can focus on getting ready for the NCAA West preliminary round at Austin, with the top 12 finishers advancing to the NCAA Championships on June 6-9 at Des Moines, Iowa. That's followed by the Olympic Trials on June 22-July 1 at Eugene, Ore.
"No pressure," she said. "Just fun 5K, 1,500, not trying to get a certain time."
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