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Emma Coburn cruises into steeplechase final at USATF outdoor championships

Former CU Buffs star taking aim at sixth straight national title

Emma Coburn, seen here in 2015, cruised through the preliminary heats of the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Friday at the USA Track and Field outdoor championships.
Ryan Gooding / For the Daily Camera
Emma Coburn, seen here in 2015, cruised through the preliminary heats of the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Friday at the USA Track and Field outdoor championships.
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Emma Coburn put herself in position to keep her steeplechase streak alive at the USA Track and Field outdoor championships. And it should be a memorable finale on Sunday.

The former University of Colorado star cruised through the preliminary heats of the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Friday, earning one of the automatic spots in the championship round by winning the second heat, finishing in 9 minutes, 51.43 seconds. The reigning Olympic bronze medalist in the women’s steeplechase, Coburn should still have plenty left in the tank on Sunday, as she ran a 9:04.90, the second-best effort of her decorated career, last month at the Prefontaine Classic.

Coburn will seek her sixth consecutive USA championship and eighth overall on Sunday in a star-studded steeplechase finale. The race also will feature Courtney Frerichs, who topped Coburn’s former American record by posting a 9:00.25 last summer, as well as Colleen Quigley.

Two other former Buffs competed Friday, with Andrew Ghizzone finishing 13th in the decathlon. It was a tough day for Niwot native Nick Harris, who was last among the 27 finishers in the preliminaries of the 1,500-meter run.

It will be a short but substantive day for the former Buffs on Day 3 of the USAT outdoor championships on Saturday, with 2016 Olympic bronze medalist and current CU volunteer assistant Jenny Simpson racing in the final of the 1,500 at 2:42 p.m. MT. Simpson won four consecutive U.S. titles in the event before finishing second last year.