SACRAMENTO — With the U.S. Track and Field Outdoor Championships getting underway Wednesday in Sacramento, the event already had a local feel.
But when the world’s top athletes begin full-force competition Thursday through Sunday at Sacramento State’s Hornet Stadium, three runners with ties to Davis are in the field.
UC Davis graduate and 2012 Olympian Kim Conley will be the first local athlete on the track as she runs the 10,000 meters at 8:20 p.m. Thursday night.
Davis High graduate Brendan Gregg — who later became a standout at Stanford and is qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials — competes in the next event, the men’s 10,000 at 9 p.m.
Conley and Gregg will be back Friday to run the 5,000 meters, with the women’s race starting at 9:05 p.m. and the men going at 9:25 p.m.
The women’s 5,000 also includes former Blue Devil Chelsea Reilly, and could have featured a third Davis runner, Brendan’s sister Kailtin Gregg, who qualified but chose not to compete because she got married on June 7.
After a brilliant career at DHS, Reilly had similar success at Cal and has been a force on the international racing scene for the past few years.
Conley’s second event of the championships is the same one she ran at the London Summer Games, after a memorable U.S. Trials performance that saw her come from behind to qualify for the Olympics.
The Sacramento Running Association standout and West Sacramento resident, who is a volunteer assistant with the UCD track and cross country teams, has high hopes for this weekend:
“That’s a goal I have, to win a national championship,” said Conley, 28. “It would be very meaningful to be able to accomplish it in front of friends and family and the Sacramento community.
“It’s going to be a tall order.”
There is some other star power at the championships in the form of Lolo Jones and 2012 Olympics triple gold medalist Allyson Felix, among others. Some of the events will be televised on NBC sports network and NBC.