Pac-12 shocks the world at IAAF World Championships

Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

LONDON –  Ten days of the world’s best track & field competition just took place in London, and as with any elite international event, the Conference of Champions had a strong presence.

[Related: Complete 2017 IAAF World Championship results (IAAF.org)]

Before we talk about anything else, we need to talk about Emma Coburn. It’s nearly impossible to convey in writing the magnitude of her 3,000-meter steeplechase win. Prior to her Friday night gold-medal performance, there had never been an American to win this event at a World Championship or Olympic Games. Not only did she win, she obliterated her own previous American record of 9:07.63, running 9:02.58. She wasn’t a favorite to win, but executed a flawless race plan and was damn tough in doing so. Do yourself a favor and take ten minutes to watch the most impressive event from this entire Championships ran by this former Buff.

Speaking of gold medals, Stanford alum Kori Carter showed up for Thursday’s race, claiming the top spot in 53.07 for the women’s 400-meter hurdle final. Just behind her was USC alum Dalilah Muhammad, who blazed a 53.50 to collect silver.

Let’s take away the barriers and talk Ducks, shall we? Oregon alum Phyllis Francis stunned the crowd with a sub-50 second performance to take gold in the women’s 400-meter final, clocking a 49.92 personal best. Trojan alum and elite veteran Allyson Felix picked up bronze in that same race, running 50.08 seconds.

Also collecting a medal (though in a much longer event) was Arizona State alum Amy Cragg, who recorded a 2:27:18 season-best time on her way to a bronze medal in the women’s marathon.

On the field, Ekaterini Stefanidi did what she does best: Win a world title. The Stanford alum jumped a world-leading 4.91 meters to take home the women’s pole vault gold medal.

You know who else is good at medaling at elite international events? Jenny Simpson. The former Buff added to her medal collection last Monday, earning silver in the women’s 1,500-meter in 4:02.76.

On the men’s side, Oregon alum Johnny Gregorek continued to prove popular opinion wrong and advanced to the men’s 1,500-meter final, while fellow Duck and Olympic gold medalist Matt Centrowitz got knocked out in Thursday’s session. Oregon’s Devon Allen also failed to qualify for the final in his event, missing a spot by three-thousandths of a second.

UCLA alum Dawn Harper-Nelson also joined in on the medal haul. The former Bruin took home silver in an absolutely stacked 100-meter hurdle race that featured multiple world champions and a world record holder. Harper-Nelson's 12.63-second performance resulted in a well-deserved celebration, including a one-handed cartwheel.

Other notable performances: Arizona’s Pau Tonnesen finished in 14th place for the decathlon, Arizona State alum Shelby Houlihan held tough in a wicked fast women’s 5,000-meter for 13th place, Sun Devil Bryan McBride finished 8th in the men’s high jump, and another Arizona State alum, Chris Benard, finished 6th in the men’s triple jump.

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