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Coburn, Nelson Win USA Steeplechase Crowns

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Photo Courtesy: Larry Lawson

The University of Colorado is making its mark on the 3,000-meter steeplechase as senior-to-be Emma Coburn won the women’s USA title on Sunday afternoon, just one day after assistant coach Billy Nelson won the men’s title, at the 2011 USATF Outdoor Championships at Hayward Field. Nelson won the meet with a time of 8 minutes, 28.46 seconds and finished just ahead of Reebok’s Daniel Huling who crossed the finish in 8:29.27. With the win Nelson, a 2008 Olympian in the steeplechase, earned a spot on the U.S. team that will compete at the IAAF World Championships, August 27-September 4, in Daegu, Korea.

“Making the world team was never in sight, but was always the dream,” Dodson said. “I am very blessed to be able to compete with a USA jersey on. This is the first USAs where I haven’t been tanked from a grueling NCAA season so it feels great to start seeing my true potential, or at least peak into what can be possible. I am only playing the part God has set for me.”

Coburn, the 2011 Big 12 and NCAA Champion, won her first U.S. title in 9 minutes, 44.11 seconds. Coburn ran in the front of the pack with Bridget Franek (OTC Elite), the 2010 NCAA Champion. It was a close finish but Coburn was able to hold Franek off, finishing .79 second ahead of her (9:44.90).

“Bridget Franek helped me keep my pace the entire race,” Coburn said. “This is the time of the year where most racers are at their peak, so I knew the level of competition would be high.”

Coburn will now have to opportunity to compete on the world stage as a member of Team U.S.A. at the IAAF World Championships, August 27-September 4, in Daegu, Korea. She will join Nelson who won the men’s championship in 8:28.46 on Saturday afternoon.

The Crested Butte, Colo. native becomes the second Buff under CU coach Mark Wetmore to win the USA title while in college. Former Buff Jenny (Barringer) Simpson won the title in 2007 and 2009. Simpson earned a spot on the U.S. team competing in Korea after finishing second in the 1,500. She finished the race in 4:05.66 behind adidas runner Morgan Uceny (4:03.91).

Junior-to-be Shalaya Kipp was ninth overall in the steeplechase. She crossed the finish in 10:01.85 to end a great sophomore season. Kipp was third at the NCAA Championships earlier this month.

Story courtesy of Linda Poncin Sprouse, Assistant SID, CUBuffs.com.

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