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Buffs Hurta, Jones Advance In USATF Championships

Jun 23, 2022
Sage Hurta, right, runs to a win in her 800-meter heat in Thursday's USA Championships.

EUGENE, Ore. — University of Colorado alums Sage Hurta and Dani Jones both advanced past the first round Thursday on the opening day of the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at historic Hayward Field.

Hurta and Jones were two of four Buffs who competed on Thursday.

Hurta celebrated her 24th birthday by winning her 800-meter heat with a strong 2:00.86 to advance to Friday's semifinals. Jones finished fifth in her 1,500 heat, but her time of 4:10.13 — which would have won the other two heats — earned her a berth in Saturday's finals.

Buffs who competed but did not advance were Abbey Glynn, who finished fifth in her 400 hurdles heat (58.31) and Micaela DeGenero, who was fourth in her 1,500 heat (4:16.19).

CU's Tyler Williams was scheduled to run the men's 400 but did not start.

Hurta ran strong from the beginning, moving to the front after the first 200 meters and then holding that spot for most of the rest of the race. She was just ahead of Olympic bronze medalist Raevyn Rogers heading down the final stretch and held Rogers off in the final few meters to win the heat.

Hurta's opening effort Thursday no doubt provided some healing salve. It was just roughly a year ago when she fell in the semifinals of the Olympic Trials 800 on the same Hayward Field track and missed advancing to the finals.

"I just wanted to get through to tomorrow," she said after Thursday's effort.

Hurta has spent the last year getting some international competition under her belt, competing in Diamond League races and getting more accustomed to the environment of racing against world-class talent.

That experience showed Thursday, as she looked more than comfortable running with Olympian Rogers.

"I got a first-hand look at what it takes to run at that level," she said. "In all my training, that's what I'm envisioning every day. You have to forget what those names are when you're in the race. I've gotten trial by fire."

The only runner with a better 800 time Thursday was two-time world championships bronze medalist Ajee Wilson, who ran 2:00.37. Rogers ran 2:01.10 while Olympic gold medalist Athing Mu cruised to an easy win in her heat in 2:01.24.

In the 1,500, Jones found herself in a heat that included two Olympians and ended up producing the six fastest times of the day. Jones stayed with the leaders for much of the race and kept herself among the top five throughout the last lap. Heather Maclean won the heat in 4:07.96, with the next two finishers, Elle St. Pierre and Helen Schlachtenaufen each timed in 4:08.52.

The winners of the other two heats ran 4:10.39 and 4:14.43.

Hurta will run in Friday's semifinals, set to begin at 9:02 p.m. (MT). Jones will run in Saturday's finals, scheduled to start at 2:40 p.m.

Along with Hurta, five other Buffs will compete in Friday's events. Today's schedule involving Colorado competitors:

4:46 p.m., Women's U-20 400-meter hurdles first round — Emma Pollak

7:05 p.m, Women's 3,000 steeplechase first round – Emma Coburn, Val Constien, Madie Boreman

7:35 p.m., Men's 400 hurdles first round — Aaron McCoy

9:02 p.m., Women's 800 semifinals — Sage Hurta

The championships are being televised and streamed on several different platforms, including CNBC, NBC and USATF.TV.