March 6, 2012
2012 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships | NCAA Home
Courtesy of Navy Athletics
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Navy senior distance runner Jess Palacio received an at-large bid for the mile run at the 2012 NCAA Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships on Monday.
Palacio, who competed at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in the fall after winning the Patriot League individual title, will run in the prelims of the mile on Friday with the final being held on Saturday at Boise State University’s Jacksons Indoor Track in Nampa, Idaho.
She becomes the fifth female student-athlete from the Patriot League to qualify for an event at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. She is the first League representative from Navy and she’s the first from any school since Lafayette’s Ashley Harbin qualified in 2008. She’s also the second League athlete to qualify in the mile as Fordham’s Lauren Gubicza did it in 1992 when the Rams were a full-time member of the League. Gubicza, the League’s only two-time NCAA indoor qualifier on the women’s side, also is the League’s only female indoor All-American.
Palacio is one of 16 runners in the mile run field. The preliminary round of the mile will be contested in two heats on Friday, with the final being held on Saturday. The top-eight finishers in the final will score and earn USTFCCCA All-America First Team honors. Finishers nine through 16 will earn All-America Second-Team honors.
Live results and live video of the meet will be available on Navysports.com.
“I am so excited for Jess and I could not be happier for her,” Navy distance coach Karen Boyle said in a release on Navysports.com. “It's great to see her hard work pay off. She just had a very strong workout today and she is very fit heading into the meet.”
The senior earned the at-large bid on the strength of her school record mile time of 4:38.43, which she ran at Wesley A. Brown Field House in the Navy Women's Classic on Jan. 28.
The automatic qualifying time in the mile run was a 4:37.00, which six of the runners in the field hit and the other 10 athletes received at-large bids. Palacio is seeded 14th in the mile field with her time of 4:38.43.
Palacio becomes the first female Midshipman to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship at the Division I level. Palacio also competed in the NCAA Women's Cross Country Championship last fall, placing 164th of 254 runners.
Although this is Palacio's first bid to the NCAA meet in track and field, she nearly qualified for both the indoor and outdoor meets in 2011. Palacio missed qualifying for the 2011 indoor national meet by two spots in the 800m and then placed 13th at the NCAA Outdoor East Regional in the 800m, just missing the top-12 cutoff to go to outdoor national meet.
The owner of all five Navy school records from the 800m through the mile run, Palacio is the most accomplished Navy middle distance runner in school history. Palacio is a three-time Patriot League Championship Track-Athlete of the Meet honoree and a nine-time Patriot League champion.
One of the few prior enlisted student-athletes at the Naval Academy, Palacio served in the Marine Corps for two-and-a-half years immediately after high school, attaining the rank of Corporal (E-4), before enrolling at the Academy. Upon commissioning in May, Palacio will return to the Marine Corps as a second lieutenant.