Stephanie Garcia, New Balance athlete and Freeplay writer, cruised to the finish line today in the 3000 meter steeple prelims earning her a spot in Thursday night’s final by finishing a close second behind Leah O’Connor in heat 2 with a time of 9:35.95.

Garcia who spent most of the season racing the 1500m and 5000m (where she ran her second fastest time ever in one event and a personal record in the other), had a disappointing steeple opener in Stockholm last month. After Stockholm Garcia noted that her fitness was not to blame. She stated she was fit and ready to go and she proved that today by easily claiming a spot in the steeple finals.

Garcia will move on to the finals along with New Balance teammates Emma Coburn (American Record holder) and Nicole Bush where she is vying for top 3 finish to earn herself a spot on Team USA. Here is what Stephanie Garcia had to say about her race.