Read more: How Utahns have fared at U.S. Olympic Trials
Shalaya Kipp, a Salt Lake native, qualified for the U.S. Olympic track and field team by placing third in the 3,000-meter steeplechase Friday at the Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore.
Kipp, a junior at the University of Colorado and a graduate of Skyline High, made the team by running the race of her life.
Entering the Olympic trials, her best time was the 9:43.09 she produced at the Cardinal Invitational on April 29 — a time that left her nine-hundredths of a second from meeting the Olympic qualifying standard. In winning the NCAA championships a couple of weeks ago, she finished in 9:49.91, still short of the Olympic A standard.
That meant Kipp not only faced the stress of having to place in the top three at the trials to punch her ticket to the London Olympics, she also had to achieve an Olympic qualifying time. She clocked 9:35.73, finishing behind Colorado teammate Emma Coburn (9:32.78) and Bridget Franek (9:35.61).
Kipp was battling Franek for second place when she made an awkward two-footed landing on the final water jump, allowing Franek to open a lead. Kipp rallied late in the race and almost caught Franek at the finish line.
Like Kipp, Coburn is a University of Colorado student who redshirted this spring. She owns the sixth-fastest time in the world this year, 9:25.28.
Of the 10 athletes with Utah connections who have competed in the trials, Kipp is the only one to make the team, although Miles Batty, a graduate of BYU and Jordan High, still has a chance. Batty, the college record holder for the indoor mile and the 2011 NCAA indoor champion, had the fifth fastest time in Friday's semifinals. He will compete in the finals on Sunday.