After being able to cruise somewhat through a preliminary heat that leaned toward the slow side on Thursday, Jenny Simpson certainly had plenty in the tank for the championship of the 1,500-meter run Saturday at the US Track and Field outdoor championships.
Simpson certainly set a much more impressive pace. But it wasn’t quite enough for the win.
Despite taking more than 16 seconds off the preliminary time Simpson posted on Thursday, the former Colorado All-American fell just short of winning her fifth US title in six years, finishing second in 4 minutes, 3.41 seconds. Simpson was slightly outpaced by winner Shelby Houlihan, who finished in 4:03.18.
Niwot alum and former Stanford runner Elise Cranny placed ninth (4:06.19). Simpson, a volunteer assistant with the Buffs, posted four consecutive wins in the event between 2014 and 2017 but has placed second the past two years.
Simpson was the lone entrant among former CU standouts Saturday in Des Moines, but several former Buffs will be back in action for the finale on Sunday. Simpson makes a quick turnaround to compete in the final of the 5,000-meter run at 5:42 p.m. MT, while fellow former CU star and Olympic medalist Emma Coburn takes aim at her sixth consecutive US title in the steeplechase at 5:07 p.m.
Former CU runner Connor Winter, who placed sixth in the 10,000 on Thursday, will compete in the final of the men’s 5,000 Sunday at 5:23 p.m. He will be joined in the field by Riley Masters, who trains in Boulder under CU track and cross country coach Mark Wetmore.