Colorado track and field alum and volunteer coach Emma Coburn ran away from the field in the steeplechase and set a meet record as she claimed her third national title at the USA Track & Field Championships on Saturday in Sacramento, California.

Coburn finished with a time of 9 minutes and 19.72 seconds after splitting the pack halfway through the 3,000-meter race. The CU standout cut nearly eight seconds off her previous USATF championship best in the 82-degree heat.

"She doesn't love the heat, but we were pretty careful about managing it ahead of time, tried to keep her optimistic about things," CU head coach Mark Wetmore said.

"We thought if she could be right there at or near the end, that her strength would kick in, and that's closing hard. As it turned out, she ran away from everyone and I think she and Jenny (Barringer) Simpson are the only Americans to ever run under a 9:20 (in the steeplechase). ... We're very happy for her."

While it wasn't her personal record, Coburn was pleased with her performance.

"With the national championship on the line, I was really hoping to run with the group for the first half (of the race)," Coburn said.

"(The strategy) was then to squeeze it down the last three laps, but I broke away a little bit early. When I saw my time, I was a little surprised - I was within two seconds of my PR, which I ran in much cooler conditions."


Coburn wasn't the only Buff in the race as Shalaya Kipp finished her CU career taking seventh with a time of 9:46.57.

"Shalaya ran pretty well given the circumstances," Wetmore said. "She's just a little flat right now, so I'm not sure we had the right recipe for her this spring. But while we're not thrilled with the overall season for her, she still had some fine moments and she beat some pretty good people here, so we're happy with the result today."

CU senior Emily Hunsucker took 13th place in the hammer throw, missing the cut for three more throws in the event's final round.

"There's a big difference between the NCAA hammer and the USA hammer," Wetmore said. "She was really stepping into a whole different circle, literally and figuratively. I thought she did well in those circumstances, and got her feet wet against this kind of competition. I hope she can find a way to keep competing."

USA Track and Field Championships

Women's 3,000-Meter Steeplechase (Final) — 1. Emma Coburn, CU/New Balance, 9:19.72; 2. Ashley Higginson, Saucony, 9:27.59; 3. Stephanie Garcia, New Balance, 9:32.76; 4. Aisha Praught, Oregon TC Elite, 9:34.69; 5. Rachel Johnson, Baylor, 9:41.56; 6. Courtney Frerichs, Unattached, 9:43.36; 7. Shalaya Kipp, CU, 9:46.57; 8. Nicole Bush, New Balance, 9:48.08; 9. Grace Heymsfield, Arkansas, 9:48.20; 10. Carmen Graves, Unattached, 9:50.27. Other CU Finisher: 12. Sara Vaughn, Brooks, 9:56.36.

Women's Hammer Throw (Final) — 1. Amanda Bingson, Nike, 246-3; 2. Jessica Cosby, Toruga, 235-4; 3. Amber Campbell, Mjolnir, 234-1; 4. Brittany Smith, Unattached, 227-4; 5. Britney Henry, Oiselle, 226-1; 6. Jeneva McCall, NYAC, 225-8; 7. Gwen Berry, Nike, 225-6; 8. Kristin Smith, Unattached, 224-5; 9. Amy Haapanen, Unattached, 226-10; 10. Brooke Pleger, Bowling Green, 208-9. CU Finisher: 13. Emily Hunsucker, 200-4.