Emma Coburn Shows Why She Is At Another Level Than The Other US Women Steeplers As She Dominates At The Olympic Trials

Coburn Solos A 9:32 To Win As Everyone Else Fights For Second And Third

by LetsRun.com
June 27, 2012

More: LRC Emma Coburn Gets Emotional, Shalaya Kipp, Bridget Franek, Delilah DiCrescenzo Olympic Trials Interviews MB: 1500, 5000 & steeple play by plays - women and men

This race went almost exactly as predicted as Emma Coburn simply ran away from the field to win it in 9:32.78. Second and third came down to a fight between four women, but it would be Bridget Franek (9:35.62) in a close finish over Shalayla Kipp (9:35.73) as Sara Hall faded badly in the last lap and Ashley Higginson came on strong, but fell short.

The Race
Two-hundred meters in, Coburn was in the lead and that would not change throughout the race. The field followed as she went through the first lap in 71.2 and 3:10 at the 1k mark. By the time she hit 4 laps in 4:59 the race for first was over as she had a small gap that would only continue to grow.

Behind her was a fierce fight for the last two Olympic spots as there was a lot of shuffling with Franek, Kipp, Hall, Higginson, Delilah DiCrescenzo, Stephanie Garcia, and Lisa Aguilera all in the mix. With one lap to go Coburn was well clear of danger, Franek was second, Kipp third, and Hall in fourth.

Hall stuttered on the first barrier after the bell and it was quickly apparent that she wouldn't be a factor as she started to fall back. However, with 300 to go Higginson was storming back on Franek who had been passed by Kipp and looked like she might be in trouble. But then Franek reacted and fought back to get Kipp at the line by .11 and Higginson would settle for fourth 3 seconds back.

Quick Take #1: It's interesting to note that the 3 going to London are the NCAA champions from the last 3 years. Franek won in 2010, Coburn in 2011, and Kipp won this year.

Quick Take #2  It must be nice to go into an Olympic Trials final and be so dominant over a field. Coburn pretty much walked away with this race and made it look easy, leading from start to finish. It's the type of thing you get used to seeing at high school dual meets, but not in at the Olympic Trials.

Quick Take #3: Both Kipp and Higginson had great races to get the "A" standard for the first time and set PR's by 7.36 and 7.15 seconds respectively. Higginson continued her streak as her last 5 straight steeples have been PR's (including her prelim to make the final).

Quick Take #4: Lisa Aguilera, who also set a big season best to get the "A", has run in every single USATF national steeplechase championship since 2002, making Worlds in 2005.

Quick Take #5:  This is another missed US major championship team for Sara Hall. It was definitely her best chance to make an Olympic team as she'll be 33 years old in 2016. She's improved a ton in this event the last two years and ran a good race to put herself in contention with one to go. But her hurdle form needs improvement if she wants to be able to kick with the best on the last lap. There consolation is there always is Worlds next year, but if she makes that team, it's unlikely she'd get to share the expereince with her husband Ryan as big-time marathoners don't often do worlds.

Quick Take #6: With the collegiate season over and it being an Olympic year there has been a lot of talk about who will be going pro and what collegiates might leave school early to pursue professional running. Donn Cabral and German Fernandez both passed up their extra eligibility (Cabral signed with Nike), Robbie Andrews left school earlier in the year and so too did Matt Centrowitz. There was even talk of NCAA 5000 champ Abbey D'Agostino possibly going pro (although based on her interview that probably isn't true). However, Coburn has said that she will definitely be going back to Colorado next year to finish her eligibility and repay the university that let her take a year off to get ready for today's race. She said, "It’s a discussion I've had many times. We made the decision to redshirt this past season to prepare. I feel obligated to fulfill my eligibility and stay at Colorado."

See more race details, full results, and interviews below. For all LRC video coverage, see our YouTube channel.

More Race Details:

Emma Coburn had the lead by 200 and the pace was very honest, as she brought the pack through the first lap in a fast 71.2.

Coburn was clean over the first water barrier although the pack seemed to stumble and lose ground. 

Coburn still had the lead through the second lap.

With Delilah DiCrescenzo right on her heals, Coburn went through 1000 in roughly 3:11.

By the third lap, Bridget Franek had moved up from the middle of the pack to sit in third, looking extremely comfortable. Close behind was Ashley Higginson, Sara Hall and NCAA Champion Shalaya Kipp. Stephanie Garcia, Mason Cathey and Lisa Aguilera followed close behind them.

Coburn went through four laps in a very fast 4:59 and she had a 15 meter gap on Franek and DiCrescenzo. The drama for first place seemed over but the fight for the top three seemed to be just beginning as Kipp stayed in close contact.

Coburn hit 2K in roughly 6:16.

With two to go, Coburn looked in complete control. Franek had distanced herself by five meters from Kipp and Hall, with Ivy Leaguers DiCrescenzo and Higginson another five meters back. They, in turn, were followed by Garcia and Aguilera. With 700 to go, this entire group still had a shot at second and third.

Coburn was on close to meet record pace with a lap to go. And just as the bell was rung, Hall was dropped by Franek and Kipp as she stuttered badly on the barrier just after the finish line. Hall has displayed great improvement in this event, but her uneven hurdling came back to haunt her in the latter stages of the race.

Storming hard with 300 to go was Higginson and she was gaining ground on Franek (2nd) and Kipp (3rd). At 200 to go, Kipp went into second and Franek seemed to be in trouble, especially with Higginson closing fast...but instead she woke up and was able to hang on for her first Olympic team berth and second place.

Coburn’s Colorado teammate Kipp had an eight second PR to get third and bettered the Olympic A standard for the first time. Also running a terrific race was Higginson, who after her 9:45 PR in the prelims, ran a seven second PR to get fourth. In the end, the first five women were all under the Olympic A standard as Aguilera ran 9:41.95.

First five laps:
71.2 (Coburn)
76.6 (Coburn)
75.9 (Coburn)
75.9 (Coburn - 4:59.6)
76.8 (Coburn)

 Place Athlete Name Affiliation Time              
 1 Emma Coburn  Colorado 9:32.78              
 2 Bridget Franek  Nike / Oregon TC Elite 9:35.62              
 3 Shalaya Kipp  Colorado 9:35.73              
 4 Ashley Higginson Saucony 9:38.06              
 5 Lisa Aguilera Nike 9:41.95              
 6 Carrie Dimoff Bowerman Athletic Club 9:45.01              
 7 Delilah DiCrescenzo Puma / New Jersey New York T C 9:46.30              
 8 Sara Hall Asics 9:47.63              
 9 Stephanie Garcia New Balance 9:50.74              
 10 Sarah Pease Unattached 9:53.62              
 11 Mason Cathey Saucony 9:54.07              
 12 Jamie Cheever Oiselle / Team USA Minnesota 9:56.51              
 13 Rebeka Stowe Kansas 10:02.82              
 14 Rebecca Wade Rice University 10:10.50              

*Race Splits


Emma Coburn Gets Emotional With Shalaya Kipp
"It's our dreams, it's why we get up every day and run. It's why we cry and work our asses in practice"

Bridget Franek Credits Patience and Her Coach

4th Placer Ashley Higginson

Top 3 Press Conference

Former American Record Holder Lisa Aguilera

Delilah DiCrescenzo
"Not everyone is meant to be an Olympian."

Sara Hall After Missing The Olympic Team



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