Simpson Wins U.S. 1,500 Crown
EUGENE, Ore. - Jenny Simpson won her second consecutive USA Track & Field 1,500 title on Sunday afternoon.
Simpson already had an automatic berth into the 2015 IAAF World Championships as the 2014 Diamond League Champion this August in Beijing, but she wanted to go through the rounds at USAs to defend her title, which she successfully did in 4:14.86.
"I felt like I didn't have any pressure to make something happen so I was able to just sit and respond," Simpson said. "I don't think under any other circumstances I would necessarily trust to leave it to that so this was special where I could sort of roll the dice and see if I can handle it."
In total, this is the ninth USATF title for Simpson which includes two steeplechase crowns ('07 and '09) that she won while competing for the Buffs. To make this even more special, it's the first time she has won back-to-back titles in the same event. Simpson was the 2013 USA 5k Champion and did not race the 1,500 that season at USAs.
"It feels so good [to defend her title]," Simpson said. "I was thinking going into the starting line that I really started running the 1500 in 2009, and since then I only have one championship at the U.S. level. So trying to get another one to validate that I am the top female 1500m runner was important to me today".
Simpson hung back at the start of the slower paced race, running in the middle of the field for the first 600 meters before starting to work her way to the lead, which she did with one lap remaining. Simpson had a clear path to victory and was able to hold off Kerri Gallagher and Shannon Rowbury, who were running right on her shoulder in the last 200 meters. Rowbury was second in 4:14.99 and Gallagher finished in 4:15.81.
"It's tough to be in that crowd, but this is exactly what we practice for, to be able to win from any type of tactical race," Simpson said. "The last 400 felt good to know that I just had to run strong and I would come home with the win."
Another former Buff, Kara Goucher, placed 18th overall in the 5,000-meter run earlier in the day. She finished the race, one of her first since having surgery just a few months ago, in 16:06.35.
The IAAF World Championships are August 22-30 in Beijing. Former Buff Emma Coburn will join Simpson at the championship as she won the steeplechase title on Saturday.
2015 USA TRACK & FIELD OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
Hayward Field (Eugene, Ore.)
Women's 5,000-meters (finals): 1. Nicole Tully, Hoka/NYAC, 15:06.44; 18. Kara Goucher, Oiselle, 16:05.35
Women's 1,500-meters (finals): 1. Jenny Simpson, 4:14.86