2013 USA Women’s Steeplechase Prelims: Franek and Bush Look Good, Kipp Does Not

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by LetsRun.com
June 20, 2013

Des Moines, IA – There weren’t any monumental surprises as the final was set for the women’s steeplechase at the 2013 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The biggest news was that Sara Hall, who contending for an Olympic spot last year, failed to make the final as did 4:08 1,500 meter runner Sara Vaughn, who had done well in her two career steeples prior to this.

2012 US Olympian Shalaya Kipp barely made the final as the 13th of 14 qualifiers, not a huge stunner as Kipp hasn’t been running well so far this year.

Heat 1

The 4 auto qualifiers

The 4 auto qualifiers

NCAA third placer Amber Henry of Weber State had a near 4-second lead halfway through heat number one. With three laps remaining, the chase pack had disintegrated and a leading trio of Bridget Franek, Alexi Pappas and Ashley Higginson emerged and it looked like those four would take the automatic qualifying spots.

The chasing trio caught Henry with 600 to go but she stayed with them and the top four here were way better than everyone else.

Results and quick takes below.

Quick Thought (QT) #1: We said coming in that Franek was the favorite and that Ashley Higginson had a real good shot at going to Moscow as well. Nothing that happened in this heat made us change our minds.

QT #2: Sara Hall led briefly really early but ended up way back in 11th.

QT #3: 4:08 1500 runner Sara Vaughn, who was running just her third career steeple here and was our dark-horse candidate for the Moscow team went down hard on a barrier and ended up as a DNF. That’s certainly disappointing for her but we think she’s found her event for the years to come.

(interviews at bottom of article)

Place Ht Pl Athlete Time          
3 1 Bridget Franek
Nike / Oregon TC Elite
9:57.96 Q
4 2 Amber Henry
Weber State University
9:58.20 Q
5 3 Alexi Pappas
Unattached
9:58.89 Q
6 4 Ashley Higginson
Saucony
9:58.99 Q
11 5 Alicia Nelson
Adams State College
10:03.20 q
12 6 Kimber Mattox
Bowerman Athletic Club
10:06.33 q
15 7 Grace Heymsfield
University of Arkansas
10:15.29
16 8 Sarah Pease
adidas/teamrogue
10:20.37
18 9 Collier Lawrence
Oiselle
10:23.98
21 10 Katie Fry
Cal Davis
10:27.34
22 11 Sara Hall
Asics
10:28.60
23 12 Mary Ballinger
ZAP Fitness Reebok
10:30.71
26 13 Ann Detmer
Unattached
10:35.02
DNF DNF Sara Vaughn
Unattached

Heat 2

Nicole Bush comfortably ahead at the bell

Nicole Bush comfortably ahead at the bell

Former NCAA runner-up Nicole Bush was the class of heat two where once again there were four women under 10:00 and four women clearly better than everyone else. 2013 US leader Jamie Cheever, who hadn’t raced a steeple since April due to injury, also qualified automatically as did 2011 World team member Stephanie Garcia.

QT #1: The big news here was how poor 2012 US Olympian Shalaya Kipp looked. She was the 13th of 14th qualifiers for the final. The 14th qualifier was non other than Julia Webb. Who ever would have thought that Alan Webb’s wife would one day be in a US final – less than a year after giving birth and Alan would be merely a spectator. After the race Julia said Alan is racing next week and she talks about being here and Alan here as a spectator and how she thinks that could help him long term.

QT #2: In our preview of the women’s steeplechase, we said we really thought Franek and Bush would make it to Moscow and we still feel that way. The question remains, ‘Who gets third?’

QT #3: It was great to see Cheever, who has gone from 9:51 to 9:29 this year, make the final after not racing the steeple since April due to injury. Afterwards, she said it was different being on the favorites coming into a meet.

(Interview below)

Place Ht Pl Athlete Time          
1 1 Nicole Bush
New Balance/Furman Elite
9:54.41 Q
2 2 Nicol Traynor
Unattached
9:55.91 Q
7 3 Jamie Cheever
Brooks / Team USA Minnesota
9:59.35 Q
8 4 Stephanie Garcia
New Balance
9:59.80 Q
9 5 Carrie Dimoff
Bowerman Athletic Club
10:02.44 q
10 6 Aisha Praught
Nike
10:02.67 q
13 7 Shalaya Kipp
University of Colorado
10:07.75 q
14 8 Julia Webb
Bowerman Athletic Club
10:11.42 q
17 9 Rachel Sorna
Cornell University
10:22.10
19 10 Alexa Aragon
Notre Dame
10:25.43
20 11 Joanna Murphy
New Balance
10:25.96
24 12 Mary Goldkamp
adidas/teamrogue
10:31.09
25 13 Leslie Boozer
Unattached
10:31.68

Julia Webb on Being at USAs While Alan Watches:

Jamie Cheever Healthy and a Favorite:

Bridget Franek the Favorite:

Ashley Higginson Motivated by 4th Last Year:

Alexi Pappas After Making Final:

Amber Henry After Making Final:

 


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