Bland Makes Olympic Trials

West Virginia University distance runner Keri Bland has qualified to compete in the USA Track & Field 2008 Olympic Trials Thursday in Eugene, Ore.

Bland, who just completed her sophomore season at WVU, qualified in the 1,500 meters with a top time of 4:17.02 posted at the ECAC meet this past season and was a late addition to the event Wednesday morning. The 1,500m quarterfinals have 30 women competing in three heats and begin Thursday around 10:30 p.m. ET.

"I am so excited," Bland says. "This morning when I found out my name became declared to compete, I was so happy that I was running around the room. This will be a great experience and I hope to make the semifinals."

The top six from each heat along with the next six best times remaining advance to the semifinals on July 4, at 11:05 p.m. ET.

Ranked 32nd in a field that only takes the top 30, Bland traveled to Oregon earlier this week with coach Sean Cleary suspecting that some runners would scratch to compete due to the exhaustion of running in other races.

USA Network is providing television coverage of the trials on July 3-4, while NBC will air July 5-6. To follow the trials online, visit

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