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She took second in 4:05.42 at a small meet in San Diego.

SAN DIEGO — Next Thursday night at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, 30 women will compete in front of thousands of rabid fans in the qualifying rounds of the 1,500 meters at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials, which get underway today.

In stark contrast, six women gathered last night to race the metric mile in front of about 100 enthusiastic athletes and fans at the second meet of the San Diego Summer Nights Track Series held at Mesa College to chase the Olympic “A” qualifying standard of 4:06.00. Amongst those half dozen entries was 2008 U.S. Olympian Anna Pierce, who carried a season’s best of 4:06.11 into last night’s meet.

Pierce left with a mark of 4:05.42, good enough for second place behind Canadian Nicole Sifuentes, who crossed the finish line in a personal best 4:04.74. The sub-4:06 clocking was a huge weight off Pierce’s shoulders heading into the three-round Trials next week in Eugene, where she needs to finish in the top-3 in the final on July 1 to punch her ticket to London.

“I’ve been feeling like I was chasing it all spring and I hate chasing so finally we just said ‘screw it’, let’s just take it into our own hands and set it up here, in San Diego, practice-type environment and Morgan did a great job,” Pierce said of her Mammoth Track Club teammate, Morgan Uceny, who set the pace through 1,000 meters. “It was perfect. I’m really happy.”

Passing through the opening 400 meters in 64.3 seconds, it was Uceny, Pierce, Canadian Sheila Reid, Sifuentes, New Zealand’s Lucy Van Dalen and Malini Elemore running single file. That formation stayed the same through 800 meters in 2:10, with Uceny stepping off after 1000 meters was reached in 2:43. Pierce then took over the lead, hitting the bell in 2:59, with Sifuentes and Van Dalen right on her heels.

Sifuentes grabbed the lead for the first time on the final straightaway and broke the tape in 4:04.74, with Pierce and Van Dalen (4:05.76, a personal best) following closely in second and third. Reid, a multiple NCAA champion at Villanova, finished fourth in a personal best 4:07.77, with Elmore fifth in 4:11.62.