SACRAMENTO ?— The night before the race, Kim Conley asked her running coach, Drew Wartenburg, if he was comfortable with the women's 10,000 meters being settled in the final lap. Nope. He wasn't, not with such a fast field at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships.
Sure enough, the 10K turned into a thrilling two-woman duel Thursday night at Hornet Stadium, on the Sacramento State campus. But Wartenburg's discomfort soon turned to euphoria as Conley outraced Jordan Hasay to the finish line.
Conley has already called herself an Olympian. Now she's a national champion.
"We don't draw it up that way," Wartenburg said afterward. "But Kim's been there before. I think being now several years into this level of running she has that peace of mind somewhere in there to say, 'If I get passed, if I go into a little bit of a hole late, I can still come back.' "
Conley, who attended Montgomery High before running at UC Davis, ran third for much of the race, joined a group of five women who started to separate from the pack after 15 laps and moved to the front on lap 19, with Hasay and Amy Hastings sticking with her. Conley and Hasay started to pull away from Hastings on lap 21.