History in the Steeplechase: The US Will Send Three Women to the Final for the First Time Ever

by LetsRun.com
August 24, 2015

BEIJING — It was a great morning for Team USA on day 3 here in the women’s steeplechase as for the first time in history, all three US runners advanced to the 15-person final, which will be held Wednesday (9:00 a.m. ET). US champion Emma Coburn and US-runner up Stephanie Garcia were auto-qualifiers (Coburn was third in heat #3 in 9:27.12, Garcia was 3rd in heat #1 in 9:29.34) and US-third placer Colleen Quigley got in as a time qualifier by virtue of her 9:29.09 clocking in heat #2 (6th place).

Coburn, who is a contender for a medal, was expected to make the final but the qualification of Garcia and Quigley was far from assured as they came in ranked 11th and 13th respectively in terms of seasonal bests (9:23.48 for Garcia and 9:24.92 for Quigley).

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Results (courtesy All-Athletics.com) and post-race analysis appear below.

Heat 1

Pl. Athlete / Team Cnt. Birth Result Score
1. Hiwot AYALEW ETH 90 9:25.55 1180
2. Virginia NYAMBURA KEN 93 9:28.50 1172
3. Stephanie GARCIA USA 88 9:29.34 1170
4. Madeline HEINER AUS 87 9:30.79 1167
5. Amina BETTICHE ALG 87 9:36.10 1153 SB
6. Geneviève LALONDE CAN 91 9:36.83 1152
7. Maruša MIŠMAŠ SLO 94 9:37.73 1149
8. Camilla RICHARDSSON FIN 93 9:53.13 1112
9. Michelle FINN IRL 89 9:55.27 1106
10. Muriel CONEO PAREDES COL 87 9:55.53 1106
11. Lyudmila LEBEDEVA RUS 90 9:58.65 1098
12. Rosa FLANAGAN NZL 96 10:00.71 1093

Heat 2

Pl. Athlete / Team Cnt. Birth Result Score
1. Habiba GHRIBI TUN 84 9:24.38 1183
2. Gesa Felicitas KRAUSE GER 92 9:24.92 1181
3. Roseline CHEPNGETICH KEN 97 9:25.91 1179 PB
4. Lalita BABAR IND 89 9:27.86 1174 PB
5. Salima EL OUALI ALAMI MAR 83 9:28.18 1173
6. Colleen QUIGLEY USA 92 9:29.09 1171
7. Özlem KAYA TUR 90 9:30.23 1168 PB
8. Marіya SHATALOVA UKR 89 9:36.87 1151 PB
9. Birtukan Fente ALEMU ETH 89 9:39.77 1144
10. Erin TESCHUK CAN 94 9:40.07 1144 PB
11. Victoria MITCHELL AUS 82 9:43.73 1135
12. Silvia DANEKOVA BUL 83 9:46.31 1128
13. Sara Louise TREACY IRL 89 9:48.24 1124
14. Charlotta FOUGBERG SWE 85 9:50.79 1117
15. Yekaterina DOSEYKINA RUS 90 10:13.26 1063

Heat 3

Pl. Athlete / Team Cnt. Birth Result Score
1. Hyvin KIYENG KEN 92 9:26.19 1178
2. Sofia ASSEFA ETH 87 9:26.47 1177
3. Emma COBURN USA 90 9:27.19 1176
4. Fadwa SIDI MADANE MAR 94 9:27.87 1174 PB
5. Ruth JEBET BRN 96 9:27.93 1174
6. Etenesh DIRO NEDA ETH 91 9:31.97 1164
7. Genevieve LACAZE AUS 89 9:39.35 1145
8. Sandra ERIKSSON FIN 89 9:39.64 1145
9. Lucie SEKANOVÁ CZE 89 9:45.72 1130
10. Klara BODINSSON SWE 90 9:50.13 1119
11. Tugba GUVENC TUR 94 9:58.07 1100
12. Natalya ARISTARKHOVA RUS 89 10:02.79 1088
13. Kerry O’FLAHERTY HARTY IRL 81 10:05.10 1083
14. Xinyan ZHANG CHN 94 10:13.25 1063
15. Rolanda BELL PAN 87 10:33.78 1015

Full results with splits

Stephanie Garcia thinks she’s in PR in shape was proud to make history for the US

Garcia had to work for it, but she earned an auto spot in the final

Garcia had to work for it, but she earned an auto spot in the final

We caught up with an upbeat Garcia, who had failed to make the final in her only other Worlds appearance in 2011, after the race.

“I’m thrilled,” she said. “I’m so excited and relieved that [the prelim] is over. I just wanted to be in that top group. I told myself, you can definitely be top 4 or 5 and you can be third if you go out and have the best race of your life. So I’m excited. I didn’t let [the moment] freak me out. I kept my focus and did what I came out here to do.

“I knew that I had some great speed that I’ve never had before in my life. I was feeling great coming into the last 200 so if I could have a smooth water jump I’d be good to go,” added Garcia about the finish of her heat.

“I know I’m in PB shape right now. [The goal in the final] is to try to finish as I high as I can – just walk out there and be fearless. I’m so proud to be in the final. Fingers crossed, knock on wood, we’ll have another couple girls in there and that will be the first time for the US [to have 3 in the final] so I’ll be very honored to line up next to everyone and see what I can do,” said Garcia before the other heats had finished.

Garcia is correct about this being the first time the US has advanced three to the final of Worlds. Only one other time has the US even advanced two to the final and that was the first year the women’s steeple was at Worlds

#of US women in final at Worlds
2005 – 2
2007 – 0
2009 – 1
2011- 1
2013 – 0
2015 – 3

Emma Coburn feels that anything lower than 5th in the final will be a disappointment

Coburn made it through comfortably

Coburn made it through comfortably

Coburn said that while no woman has separated herself from the pack this year with a time like 9:05, there is some depth at the top as five women have run 9:15 or better, with Coburn being the last of those five. She feels that she is in better shape than that now and feels confident in her ability to handle any kind of race in Wednesday’s final.

“I think the top five or six people are really even and I think if I finish worse than fifth I’ll be disappointed,” Coburn said.

She also added that it took her two weeks to kick the illness that led her to finish 10th in Monaco on July 17. While she wished it never happened, she did say that running poorly in Monaco may have made some of her rivals forget that she’s a threat in Beijing. They’d be wise not to forget about her: Coburn’s lone Diamond League win came in Shanghai last year when the rest of the field underestimated her.

Finally, Coburn watched the 100 final in the athlete lounge of Team USA’s hotel last night and was impressed by how knowledgeable her teammates were. As she watched training partner Jenny Simpson run in the 1500 semifinals,

“The sprinters in their knew pace and tactics and splits of Jenny and Shannon [Rowbury],” Coburn said. “I was like, ‘You guys are loyal supporters of USA track and field.’”

Colleen Quigley overcame some pre-race nerves and got the job done

Quigley had to wait to see if her time held up (it did)

Quigley had to wait to see if her time held up (it did)

After the race, Quigley said it was “really nerve-wracking” to be at Worlds for the first time this morning. She’d never even been inside the famous Bird’s Nest stadium until it was time to race and she said walking in was both “breathtaking” but also “pretty scary.” She said once it was time to race however, she was feeling good.

“I was pretty calm actually once I got on the line. I kind of felt like, ‘Well here goes nothing. I don’t have anything to lose. I’m not in a situation liek Emma is. She’s bound [and expected to do well],’” said Quigley. “So I kind of felt calm on the line and ended up running about 5 seconds slower than my PR, so I had to run hard.”

Our full post-race interview with Quigley appears below. She talks about adjusting to training under the guidance of Jerry Schumacher and Pascal Dobert and having Shalane Flanagan and Emily Infeld as her training partners. She admits she’s constantly fighting with Schumacher about his ‘Badger Miles’ (no matter how fast they run on an easy day, Schumacher only counts it as an 8-minute mile so an 80-minute run is just 10 miles).

23-year-old German Gesa-Felicitas Krause is happy to be back in a final

Gesa Kruase and Habiba Ghribi

Gesa Kruase and Habiba Ghribi

At the 2012 Olympics, just three days past her 20th birthday, Germany’s Gesa-Felicitas Krause turned heads by finishing 8th in a 9:23.52 pb.

2013 and 2014 were difficult for Krause, however, as she failed to break 9:35 as she adjusted to running for the German military and Nike.

The growing pains are over as this year has been a resurgent one for her. She ran a 9:20.25 pb in Monaco and looked good this morning by auto-qualifying out of heat #2 (9:24.92, 2nd).

Krause told us she wants another PB and hopefully a German record in the final (9:18.54 from 2009 Berlin Worlds by Antje Möldner-Schmidt).

Aisha Praught ended a rocky season in disappointing fashion

Praught flashed terrific potential in May, running 4:05.52 for 1500 in Japan, and though she gradually brought her times down in the steeple this year, 2015 has been a struggle for her as she’s dealt with a couple of injuries which have affected her ability to log consistent training.

Praught finished 9th in heat 1 before she was later disqualified (for rule 163.3 (b), which means she likely stepped on the inside of the track in the run-up to the water jump) but her time of around 9:40 would not have advanced her anyway. She added that she felt good for the first half of the race and when she started to tire kept repeating “striking distance” to herself, but she couldn’t hold her kick when it came time to move.

Praught said she’s not content with being good — she wants to be great — and that she’ll now shift her focus to 2016. It’s not all bad for Praught though, who trains with the Oregon Track Club Elite in Eugene with Mark Rowland. She said she loves running for Jamaica (she switched nationalities earlier this year) had a blast watching the 100-meter final last night and that once Usain Bolt won, her Jamaican teammates were screaming and running around the hallways of their hotel.



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