Women’s Steeplechase Semifinals: Emma Coburn Dominates As The Field Gets Ready To Fight For Second

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by LetsRun.com
June 6, 2013

Eugene, Oregon – The women’s steeplechase semifinals on Day 2 of the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships went pretty much exactly to form as all but two of the eight sub-10 minute steeplers advanced to the final

2012 US Olympian Emma Coburn dominated her heat as expected and the rest of the top contenders on paper qualified smoothly as expected. The two sub-10 women not to make it were Nebraska’s Jessica Furlan (6th fastest in the NCAA this year with 9:58.52)  who was a DNF and UC Davis’ Katie Fry (7th in the NCAA with 9:58.97) who finished 8th in her heat and was the second one out.

We have to imagine this was still a pretty great experience for Fry as she only had a 10:16 PR before the Preliminary round where she ran an 18 second PR at 9:58, so just making it to this meet was a big step forward. Plus she’s only a sophomore.

Heat 1: The Coburn Show; #3 Ranked Rachel Sorna Takes 2nd

Coburn didn’t waste any time in this heat as she went straight to the front and stayed there the entire time. She had a two second lead by the 200 mark and that lead would grow to nine seconds by the end as she won the heat in a smooth 9:46.76 (her PR is 9:25.54).

Behind her Cornell’s Rachel Sorna did most of the leading for the chase pack and finished second in 9:55.84 as Notre Dame’s Alexa Aragon, Providence’s Shelby Greany and Wisconsin’s Ashley Beutler took the other three automatic qualifying spots as West Virginia’s Jordan Hamric took one of the two time qualifiers.

Quick Take (QT) #1: We spoke with Coburn after the race (interview above) and asked her if she struggles at all with “getting herself up” for this meet as she is such a dominant favorite with a PR 21 seconds faster than the next woman in the field. Coburn said motivation isn’t an issue at all as this is her last NCAA meet and still “really cool and really special” to her and she’s really excited for Saturday.

QT#2: We also had a great interview with Sorna (interview on left) who came into the meet ranked 3rd in the NCAA and lived up to that by leading the group behind Coburn and taking 2nd in the heat. We asked her how she approaches being in a race with someone who is 20 seconds faster than the rest of the field and was 9th at the Olympics and she gave us some insight into how a lot of her race plan centers around what Coburn might do. If Coburn takes it out hard as she often does, Sorna says she’s perfectly comfortable leading that “chase” group and said, “even if it is just a race for second I will race to the death with those girls right there.”

QT#3: What a great last three weeks for Aragon. She came into Regionals with only a 10:10 PR, but improved to 10:04 there to make NCAAs and then ran 9:56.21 here to make the final. That’s a 14 second drop over the last few weeks.

QT#4: We’re not sure what happened to Furlan who DNF’d. According to the splits she was in 7th with one lap to go so definitely was in position to have a shot at making it to the final, but then didn’t finish. We assume that maybe she fell or hit a barrier, but if you know email us and we’ll add the information here.

(We were down below in the media area where unfortunately they show us the same camera footage they show in the stadium instead of what is on TV, so we spent most of the 10 minutes watching Emma Coburn with some occasional flashes to field event athletes receiving their awards on the infield. The same stuff you deal with at home with ESPN coverage, but at least you have announcers there to fill you in on what is happening in the rest of the race if there is a fall.)

Heat  1 Preliminaries                                                        
  1 Emma Coburn               SR Colorado               9:46.76Q             
  2 Rachel Sorna              JR Cornell                9:55.84Q             
  3 Alexa Aragon              JR Notre Dame             9:56.21Q             
  4 Shelby Greany             JR Providence            10:02.49Q             
  5 Ashley Beutler            SR Wisconsin             10:03.68Q             
  6 Jordan Hamric             SR West Virginia         10:06.47q             
  7 Megan Patrignelli         JR Oregon                10:09.83              
  8 Katie Fry                 SO UC Davis              10:11.98              
  9 Genna Hartung             SR Cornell               10:24.29              
 10 Marissa VanderMalle       SO Boise State           10:26.54              
 11 Liberty Miller            SO Washington            10:28.27              
 -- Jessica Furlan            SR Nebraska                   DNF

Heat 2: Amber Henry Wins As Second Fastest In NCAA Collen Quigley Takes 2nd

There wasn’t too much excitement in heat two as Webster State’s Amber Henry and Florida State sophomore Collen Quigley pulled away from the rest of the pack early on and ran 1-2 the whole way with Henry winning the heat in 9:58.82 to Quigley’s 10:00.23.

Behind them the women who finished 3rd through 6th had nine seconds on 7th place by the end, so really the only battle was that for the the final automatic qualifying spot which came down to Arkansas’ Grace Heymsfield and Michigan State’s Leah O’Connor. Heymsfield just outkicked O’Connor by .16, for 5th place, but it ended up being irrelevant anyway since O’Connor took the final time qualifying spot. UMRC’s Courtney Frerichs and Kansas State’s Martina Tresch took the 3rd and 4th place in the heat to take the other two automatic qualifying positions.

QT#1: Interview with Henry above who was happy with her race and also talked about Emma Coburn and “the race for second”. You know you are dominant when all of your top competition in the NCAA talks about maybe beating you if you slip and fall. Henry said that she’d like to try and race with Coburn, but that her coaches feel she should let Coburn go and run her own pace and then “if [Coburn] slips or something go get her.” This isn’t a slight to Henry; this is just another indication of Coburn’s dominance over the NCAA.

QT#2: We also spoke to Quigley (interview to right) who is ranked secnd fastest in the NCAA this year with 9:49.44. She is also the top returner as she was 5th last year as a true freshman.

She said she is good friends with men’s steepler Zak Seddon, the freshman for the FSU men who also came in ranked as the #2 seed NCAAs, but fell hard yesterday and failed to make the final. Quigley said the fall of Seddon, who is her summer roommate, made her be extra careful on the barriers today as “it goes to show anything can happen.”

After her interview was over, Quigley gave Flotrack’s Ryan Fenton a get-well card as he broke his collarbone the other day. We guess there is more to being a model (Quigley is a model) than just being extremely good looking. It’s also good to know how to butter up the media.

Heat  2 Preliminaries                                                        
  1 Amber Henry               SR Weber State            9:58.82Q             
  2 Colleen Quigley           SO Florida State         10:00.23Q             
  3 Courtney Frerichs         SO UMKC                  10:02.02Q             
  4 Martina Tresch            JR Kansas State          10:06.52Q             
  5 Grace Heymsfield          JR Arkansas              10:08.45Q             
  6 Leah O'Connor             SO Michigan State        10:08.61q             
  7 Natalie Bower             SR Penn State            10:17.76              
  8 Leslie Boozer             SR Georgia               10:17.96              
  9 Brianna Nerud             FR Syracuse              10:18.16              
 10 Victoria Voronko          SO Eastern Michigan      10:30.50              
 11 Kristen Zillmer           JR Illinois State        10:33.01              
 12 Madelin Talbert           FR Lipscomb              10:41.98

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Posted in: College