Four years ago, Madie Boreman turned in a performance at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships that put her name right beside some of the most decorated runners in the history of the Colorado program.
As a true freshman in 2017, Boreman was the national runner-up in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. That is the same event in which eventual Olympians Jenny Simpson, Emma Coburn, and Shalaya Kipp first made their names at Colorado.
Naturally, Boreman seemed destined to add her name to CU’s long list of individual national champions, but injuries and last year’s pandemic shutdown got in the way. At long last, Boreman finally is returning to the NCAA championships as part of a Buffs contingent that will compete in Eugene, Ore., in a four-day meet that begins Wednesday.
“It’s been an emotional, good year,” Boreman said. “There’s a lot of things I’m doing that I didn’t think were in the cards for me anymore. I battled injuries for four years basically. To come back and be able to run at nationals and then also be able to wear a Colorado uniform at the Olympic Trials, I haven’t fully wrapped my mind around it, but I’m excited.”
Boreman’s national runner-up time in 2017 of 9 minutes, 46.48 seconds was the fourth-best in the steeplechase in CU history, trailing only a few times put up by that future Olympic trio of Simpson, Coburn, and Kipp (In 2019, Val Constien’s 9:44.51 pushed Boreman to fifth on that list). Unfortunately for Boreman, injuries derailed her momentum. She redshirted the following year, and in 2019 Boreman was limited to just two meets. She didn’t run the steeplechase in either of them.
“From late June of ’17 until about October or November of ’20, she had a lot of interruptions, a lot of loss of momentum,” CU head coach Mark Wetmore said. “Myself and coach (Heather) Burroughs weren’t able to get a handle on all of that, but it finally started to click again in the fall of ’20. I give Madie a lot of credit for that. It’s taken a while. She was out an awful long time. But she’s in far better shape today than she has been in over three years.”
Boreman has rounded into form as the outdoor season has progressed. She placed fourth in the steeplechase at the Pac-12 championships, finishing in 9:52.11. Boreman was even better last week at the NCAA West Preliminaries, nabbing an at-large spot for the NCAA finals with a mark of 9:50.97 that ranked eighth overall.
“Every good race that I have I just think about everything from the last few years and how it’s kind of accumulated to this“, said Boreman, who has yet to decide on possibly returning to CU for another season. “I’m just trying to take advantage of the good days and the good races.
“There’s a lot of comfort knowing that there’s plenty of women who have come before me, but I’ve also been able to do some great things with the training here. It makes me more comfortable and more confident knowing coach Wetmore and coach Burroughs produce great athletes.”
Boreman’s race in the steeplechase semifinals is scheduled for Thursday at 5:02 p.m. MT.