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Former Buff Emma Coburn takes steeplechase title at USA Track and Field Championships

Former Colorado star Emma Coburn clears a hurdle in the opening round of the women 3,000 meter steeplechase on Thursday.
Andy Lyons / Getty Images
Former Colorado star Emma Coburn clears a hurdle in the opening round of the women 3,000 meter steeplechase on Thursday.

Defending world champion and former Colorado star Emma Coburn claimed her seventh national steeplechase title in a thriller over Courtney Frerichs on Saturday at the USATF national outdoor championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.

Coburn won in 9 minutes and 17.70 seconds, just a second faster than Frerichs. The two also finished 1-2 at worlds in 2017.

“It’s great having a really strong competitor that challenges you. It really makes you keep it honest and grind,” Coburn said.

Former Buff Shalaya Kipp also competed in the race and finished fourth.

Shelby Houlihan stormed past former CU running star Jenny Simpson to win the women’s 1,500 meters.

“She’s always been someone I looked up to. I think I’ve been very careful not to put people on pedestals,” Houlihan said. “I still wanted to be able to beat her.”

Houlihan took the lead from Simpson with 50 meters left to knock off the seven-time national champion in the event.

“These days, Jenny Simpson tells me what she’s going to do and today she did exactly everything that she planned and ran the race exactly as she wanted,” Colorado coach Mark Wetmore said. “Shelby Houlihan ran her down at the last 40 meters, but I have zero criticism of anything she did in her race, she did it perfectly, and Houlihan is just a step better at this point in time.”

Dani Jones earned fifth place in the women’s 1,500-meter run.

“Dani was excellent, first time at this level, surrounded by professionals, people much older than her in most cases, she was the only true collegiate in the race. Dani was smart and patient and moved up steadily all the way from 10th to 5th, fasted closing 400 meters ever, 61 seconds, and really put the word out that she is going to be an important factor down the road,” Wetmore said.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report

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