Step one is out of the way for Jenny Simpson.

The former Colorado Buffaloes All-American and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Jenny Simpson put the sort of efficient run always favorable in a preliminary round, finishing second in her heat Friday to advance to the semifinals of the 1,500-meter run at the IAAF World Championships in London.

Simpson set the pace for a solid day overall for the Americans in the event as all three U.S. runners, including another former Buffs star in Sara Vaughn, advanced to Saturday's semifinals.

With three heats totaling 44 runners, the top six in each race received automatic semifinal berths, with the next six-best times filling the 24-runner pool for the semifinals. Vaughn finished eighth in the third heat, but her personal-best time of 4 minutes, 4.56 seconds was enough to nab one of the at-large spots.

Vaughn's time topped the previous personal-best of 4:06.64 she recorded earlier this year at the Music City Distance Carnival in Memphis.

Simpson earned a semifinal qualification with a 4:08.92. The final American, Kate Grace, placed seventh in the opening heat but advanced by posting a 4:04.76.

The semifinals begin Saturday at 12:35 p.m. MDT, with the championship heat scheduled for Monday at 2:50 p.m.

Following the women's 1,500-meter competition, track and field fans will have a few days to wait before following additional local standouts. Emma Coburn — like Simpson, an Olympic bronze medalist a year ago — faces the opening heat of the 3,000-meter steeplechase early Wednesday, with the championship scheduled for Friday, Aug. 11.


Also, Silver Creek graduate and Stanford senior Valarie Allman will compete in the women's discus beginning Friday, Aug. 11. Allman earned a spot on the national team with a third-place finish at the U.S. Track and Field Championships in June.

Pat Rooney: or