After a whirlwind season in 2012, Shalaya Kipp has maintained a low profile in 2013.

The Colorado senior is looking to make another big splash in the running world this week, however.

Kipp is one of several former and current Buffaloes who will compete at the USA Track & Field Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, this Thursday through Sunday.

"I'm very excited. It's what my whole season has been after," Kipp said.

In 2012, Kipp was the Pac-12 and NCAA champion in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase. Shortly after the NCAA title race, she finished third at the Olympic trials, earning a spot on the Olympic team. She competed for Team USA at the Olympics in London.

She took a bit of a break after the Olympics, but came back to lead the Buffs' cross country team into nationals. She was runner-up at regionals and then placed 18th at nationals to earn All-American honors for the third year in a row.

This year, she decided to use her redshirt year for track and field. So, while she hasn't taken a break, she has stepped away from the spotlight and hasn't been in a CU uniform since the fall.

"This has helped get me back to the basics of running and having fun with it," she said.

A year ago, CU's Emma Coburn redshirted during the track season (after winning the national title in the steeplechase in 2011) to concentrate on making the Olympic team. Coburn came back this year to win another NCAA steeplechase title.

Kipp's decision to redshirt year was made, in part, because of Coburn's return. Kipp likely has a better shot at winning another NCAA title in 2014 without Coburn around than she would have this year running against Coburn.

Kipp also said, however, that taking the year off could ultimately make her better.

"The coaches and I talked about that and as fun as it would have been to see a 1-2 finish there in Pac-12s, regionals and NCAA, it was, 'What if we had another year to work with you and develop you and you can become an even better steeplechaser?'" Kipp said. "That sounded really great to me."

Already a three-time All-American in track and in cross country, Kipp does feel she has improved. She has practiced all spring with Coburn and former national champ Jenny Simpson, a CU volunteer assistant.

"It'll prepare me next year again to hopefully go back and win another NCAA title in the steeplechase," she said.

Kipp added a second major (psychology; her first major is integrated physiology) to make the class load stretch out to five years. She has also added a lot of miles on her feet. Kipp has been running 70-80 miles per week. She runs seven days a week, with her short runs (eight to 10 miles) being what her long runs used to be a few years ago. She will now go 15 miles on a long run.

"When you don't have an indoor season, you have this huge stretch of time to just kind of get in a lot of mileage," she said. "That was something I had never done before, so I had to up the volume."

While she doesn't have much race experience this year, Kipp is eager to see how her hard work will pay off.

"I don't doubt my fitness at all, so I feel ready to race," she said.

All of that work has been done to get ready for this week. Should Kipp finish in the top three -- having Coburn out with a back injury will help -- she will earn a spot on the USA team that will compete at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow in August.

"I would hope to place in the top three again and make the team to Moscow," she said. "There's a lot of fast girls this year, so if I can go out there and run a very strong race and feel like I laid it all there, I'm probably going to be happy regardless."

Notable

In addition to Kipp, recently graduated Buff Aric Van Halen will compete in the men's steeplechase. CU coaches Billy Nelson (men's steeplechase), Casey Malone (men's discus) and Simpson (women's 1,500 meters) are also expected to compete. ... Several hours of the meet will be broadcast on TV, with most of the meet being broadcast on USATF.TV. Check USATF.org for broadcast information. ... On Tuesday, Coburn was named a semifinalist for USTFCCCA's The Bowerman, an award given to the top male and female college track and field performers.

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