Coburn Takes Women’s Steeplechase
The University of Colorado’s Emma Coburn showed again that she is now the top steeplechaser in the United States. She had already won the NCAA title, and had secured the IAAF “A” standard of 9:43.00 at the Cardinal Invitational Meet last May. Here, she ran near the front the entire race. Coming down the backstretch of the final lap she led former Penn State star Bridget Franek and the University of Virginia’s Stephanie Garcia, the NCAA runner-up to Coburn. Delilah DiCrescenzo was in fourth and struggling to maintain contact.
“I knew if I kept close with about 500 left to go I would probably make the team, like, if I could see first and was within striking distance, said DiCrescenzo. “So, I was confident there, but I was more tired than I expected.”
Coburn and Franek took the final water jump easily, but Garcia slipped on the push-off and tumbled head first into the water. The crowd let out a collective gasp.
“(I) kind of came up on Bridget’s shoulder coming into 200 to go,” said Garcia, who would finish fifth. “I was worried because they were pushing me in to the inside, and I was like, OK, you’re going to be really close to that edge of the barrier. Just take it quickly. And, my left foot just slipped a little bit pushing off and I took a dive. So, I tried to get up as quickly as possible, but by then, Delilah had just taken the water and kept going.”
Franek finished a clear second in 9:44.90, making her first World Championships team (she ran under the “A” standard at the adidas Grand Prix earlier this month). DiCrescenzo finished third in 9:46.31, under the “B” standard of 9:50.00 so she is on the team, too (a team of A-A-B is permitted).
Coburn was over the moon. “I’m so happy!, she swooned. “I’ve never been so happy in my entire life. I feel like this season and this whole year went better than I can even dream.”