She’s already made the U.S. Olympic team in one event, and now Marielle Hall has her sites set on another berth.
Hall on Saturday became the fourth South Jersey woman in history to make the U.S. Olympic track team when she placed third in the 10,000-meter run in 31:54.77.
The former Haddonfield star qualified in both the 5,000 and 10,000, with 31:37.45 in the 10,000 and a 15:06.45 in the 5,000.
There was only a final in the 10,000, but the 5,000 has two rounds. The 5,000 semis are slated for 4:20 p.m. Thursday, with the final following at 4:28 p.m. on the final day of the Trials, Sunday, July 10.
Hall is the No. 6 seed in the 5,000 but after Molly Huddle, who ran 14:48.14 during the qualifying window, the next five entries are within 5 1/2 seconds, with Emily Infield, Abbey D’Agostino, Nicole Tully, Shelby Houlihan and Hall all between 15:00.91 and 15:06.45.
Huddle and Infield, like Hall, made the team in the 5,000, so they could go either way in the 5,000.
But Hall said she’s planning on racing Thursday.
“I think I’m still competing in the 5k, so I’m still just taking it one day at a time,” said Hall, an All-America at Texas. “I’ve still got to talk to my coach and see where he’s at, but I came into the Trials planning on competing in both events.”
Hall made the Olympic team with a minimum of effort in the 10,000. She ran very smart tactically, settling into the pack for 6,000 meters before moving into the lead group with 4,000 meters left.
She never had to run a lap faster than 74, but she ran her last 12 laps between 74 and 76.
Her 800s after a 76.2 opening lap looked like this:
So her last six 800s were all between 2:29.1 and 2:32.4. And she was in such a comfortable spot late in the race — nearly 100 meters ahead of fourth-place Kelly Taylor — that she didn’t even have to kick. Her last lap was almost exactly as fast as her second lap.
This is brilliant tactical running. Especially with two 5,000s looming in a week.
It helped that she already had the Olympic standard of 32:15, so all she had to do was get into the top three and she was on her way to Rio.
“Going into it, my coach told me two things,” Hall said. “To be patient and to be invisible for the first half.
“It’s a really long race, so for me I had to get used to the waves. Sometimes there are surges and sometimes people are falling back, lots of contact, so being a part of the pack you can definitely feel the tension, but all of that is expected in this race.”