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Emma Coburn Wins, Stephanie Garcia Goes Down, and Hey Delilah Goes to Korea
June 26, 2011
*Video and Results below
Lisa Aguilera (last year’s champion) and Nicole Bush (last year’s runner-up) led the field in the opening 500 meters to the first water jump but as they came off the water, Emma Coburn, this year’s NCAA Champion moved to the front, easily out-leaping her competitors over the first hazard and took control of the race.
As the field eased its way through the first two laps, Aguilera stayed right on Coburn’s shoulder while 2009 World Championship team member and 2010 NCAA Champion Bridget Franek moved into third, with Delilah DiCrescenzo tucked on the inside in fourth.
Coburn Thins It Out
As they hit the first 1000, Coburn seemed to up the ante a bit and the field began to spread out. Also in the lead pack was the NCAA runner-up from this year, Stephanie Garcia of Virginia and Sara Hall, who was hoping to make her switch to full-time steeplechasing pay off with a trip to the World Championships.
With four laps to go, Franek moved to the lead, bringing with her a top pack that now included Coburn, Garcia, DiCrescenzo, Hall and Linsdsay Allen. Aguilera, Mason Cathey and a suddenly fading Bush began to drop back.
With 1000 to go, Franek led with Coburn right on her heels. As the race went on, it became clear that the pair were also the most technically proficient hurdlers and water jumpers in the field, gaining a bit of separation at both the barriers and the water jump. DiCrescenzo was in third with two to go as the trio now had a five meter lead on Garcia and Hall, with Allen and Aguilera another 10 meters back.
As they approached 600 to, Garcia made a big move to get into the top three and on the penultimate water jump, DiCrescanzo and Hall had seemingly been dropped.
Drama on the Final Lap
With a lap to go it was Coburn, Franek and Garcia tightly bunched and with a chance to all go under the A standard of 9:43.00. The trio were also close to 15 meters clear of fourth place DiCrescenzo and the World Championship team seemed locked up. But if there is any race where disaster and heartbreak can strike at any time, it is in steeple. As the leaders approached 200 to go, DiCrescenzo made a big surge and began to reel in the leaders, but Garcia was still clear of her. The real drama came on the final water jump as Garcia fell in the water pit and Coburn and Franek moved forward effortlessly. Garcia’s fall was a bad one and the fast-closing DiCrescenzo had to come to a near complete stop to avoid her. But the Columbia grad regained her footing to finish strongly and garner the precious final spot to Daegu while setting a seasonal best. Up front for the win, it was a battle of the last two NCAA Champions, and this year’s winner Coburn pulled away from last year’s champ Franek to continue her unbeaten season in the steeple. Since both Coburn and Frank already have the IAAF A standard, DiCrescenzo will make her first World Championship team with the B standard. Garcia got back up on her feet and managed to hold off a hard-charging Sara Hall for fourth, while Allen was sixth and last year’s champ Aguilera finished seventh.
Post Race Reaction and Comments from Gags
Emma Coburn was ecstatic to get the win. She said, "This season went better than I ever could have dreamed." She showed even NCAA champions have self-doubt saying, "I didn't think I could win today... You always have a little bit of doubt." (Interestingly she was only an 11:35 2 miler in high school at altitude).
Franek was pleased to make the team. She also is proud with how she has adapted to moving out West and being a pro for the Oregon Track Club.
Delilah DiCrescenzo until this point was more known for her accolades off the track (The "Hey Delilah song") than on, but she booked her first ticket to Worlds thanks to the fall of Garcia on the last water jump. Delilah said the last 100 is the best part of her race and she was confident she could catch Garcia heading into the water-jump.
Garcia was left to ponder what could have been. She was 150 meters from making the team for Daegu and ended up going for a swim. Although she had never fallen in the water before she said it is something steeplers envision happening so she was prepared for it, but all she could think was to get up as fast as possible.
We also talked to legendary coach Frank Gagliano who coaches Delilah. Gags the legendary former coach at Georgetown (and Oregon Track Club) and of US stars Steve Holman and Rich Kenah is now back on the East Coast doing it old school. He lives in Rye, NY and swings by New York City twice a week and picks up Delilah in his car and drives 75 miles total to Rutgers where he meets the other runners in his group who come from New Jersey and Philadelphia, including Erin Donohue. Gags said of the throwback nature of his group, "This is the way it's done back east". When asked if a particular runner stood out for him he said, "They all do. Even the kid who scored a point at the Big East Championship means a lot to me." As for altitude training he says, "You don't need it."
Quick Take #1: The two best steeplers in America Anna Pierce and Jenny Simpson haven't run it in two years.
Quick Take #2: Stephanie Garica shows why the steeple is the "easiest" event to make worlds on the men's and women's side. A lot of people will never try it because they can't hurdle or are afraid to try. Garcia's fall is all what they fear.
Quick Take #3: Mark Wetmore coached both steeple champions at this meet.
The Champ Emma Coburn
Alysia Montano On Winning Her 3rd USATF Title Wire to Wire
Delilah on Making Worlds
Stephanie Garcia on the Fall
Bridget Franek on Making Worlds and Being a Pro
Legendary Coach Frank Gagliano
"This is the Way It's Done Back East"
Men's 800m: LRC Men's 800m: Nick Symmonds Makes it Four in a Row
Women's 800m: LRC Women's 800m: Alysia Goes Wire to Wire
Women's Steeplechase: LRC Emma Coburn Wins, Stephanie Garcia Falls, and Hey Delilah Goes to Korea
Saturday USATF Coverage
Men's 1500m: LRC Matt Centrowitz Jr Pulls Away from Bernard Lagat
Women's 1500m: LRC The Thrill Victory (Morgan Uceny) and Agony of Defeat (Christin Wurth Thomas)
Men's Steeple: LRC Billy Nelson's Return to Oregon is Successful
Friday: USATF Coverage
Men' 5000m: LRC Men's 5,000m: Bernard Lagat's 3:57.80 Close Wins A Thriller Over Chris Solinsky And Galen Rupp
Women's 5000m: LRC Women's 5,000m: Molly Huddle Impresses, Hastings And Bizzarri Continue The Mammoth Mojo
800m Semis: LRC All the Favorites Advance And KD Asks For Some Energy From His Fans In The Final
*Ashton Eaton Sets PR With Decathlon Win, Olympic Gold Medallist Bryan Clay Falls In 110 Hurdles And Doesn't Finish The Meet
*Walter Dix Just Outleans Justin Gatlin To Win US Champs 100
*SI's Tim Layden Takes a Look at Justin Gatlin's Situation
*Post Race Interviews
Complete Thursday USATF Coverage: *10k Photos
Men's 10k: LRC Men's 10,000m: Galen Rupp Closes Out Matt Tegenkamp With 1:52.5 Final 800m
Women's 10k: LRC Women's 10,000m: Shalane Flanagan Goes Wire to Wire Over Kara Goucher and Field
1500m Round 1 and Men's Steeple Round1: LRC Thursday's 1500m Heats: 2011 US Leader Russell Brown Bows Out
800M Round 1: LRC: 800m Round 1 Goes According to Form