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Former CU Buffs Emma Coburn, Val Constien land Team USA Olympic spots in steeplechase

Sage Hurta, Eduardo Herrera survive first-round races

EUGENE, OREGON - Former Colorado All-American Emma Coburn earned her third Olympic bid in the 3,000 Meter steeplechase and won her seventh straight U.S. title. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
EUGENE, OREGON – Former Colorado All-American Emma Coburn earned her third Olympic bid in the 3,000 Meter steeplechase and won her seventh straight U.S. title. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
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Emma Coburn is headed back to the Olympics. This time, she’s taking another former Buffaloes standout with her.

Coburn, the reigning Olympic bronze medalist in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, once again earned a Team USA spot in her signature event on Thursday night, winning the US Olympic Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Coburn became the third former Buffs athlete to land a spot on Team USA for next month’s Games in Tokyo, but it only took a few seconds later for a fourth former Buff to join that club, as Val Constien finished third in the steeplechase to earn her first Olympic bid.

It will be the third Olympic Games for Coburn, who finished in 9 minutes, 9.41 seconds, establishing a new Trials record. It is the second time CU will be represented by two athletes in the Olympic steeplechase, as Coburn and Shalaya Kipp took their status as Buffs teammates to the world stage at the 2012 Games in London.

The victory also gave Coburn her seventh consecutive US championship.

Constien, the 2019 Pac-12 steeplechase champion, finished in 9:18.34, topping her previous personal-best (9:25.43) by more than 7 seconds.

It was an impressive night overall for the CU contingent in Oregon, as Sage Hurta and Eduardo Herrera also advanced out of the first round of their respective events.

Fresh off a runner-up finish at the NCAA outdoor championships for the Colorado Buffaloes, Hurta served notice she is more than ready for the pressure of the Olympic Trials, posting a personal-best time in the opening round of the 800 meter run.

Two weeks ago, Hurta finished as the NCAA national runner-up in the 1,500 in a prelude to her appearance in the 800 at the Trials. In the opening heat of Thursday’s 800 first round, Hurta finished with a personal record of 2:00.08 seconds to advance into Friday’s semifinals. Hurta finished in second in the opening heat and owned the No. 2 time overall in the first round.

Hurta’s pervious personal best was 2:00.62.

Herrera, coming off a disappointing NCAA postseason in which he was unable to advance out of the NCAA West Preliminaries, finished sixth in the opening heat of the 5,000-meter first round on Thursday night, but his time of 13:45.33 was just enough to nab the final at-large spot in the championship heat on Sunday.

In addition to Hurta’s semifinal run on Friday (4:02 p.m. MT), the Buffs will have hurdler Eriana Henderson competing in the first round of the 400 hurdles (4:35 p.m. MT). Fairview senior Gavin Schurr will compete in the first round of the 200 meters on Friday as well (3:04 p.m. MT).