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Five Buffs Advance To USATF Championships Finals

Jun 24, 2022
Emma Coburn will be one of three Buffs in Sunday's steeplechase final.

EUGENE, Ore. — Friday proved to be a banner evening for University of Colorado products at the USATF Outdoor Championships.

Five Buffaloes earned berths in the championship finals, as Olympians Emma Coburn and Val Constien moved on to the steeplechase final, as did Madie Boreman. Also earning a spot in the finals was Sage Hurta in the 800 meters.

Each will race in Sunday's championship final at Hayward Field.

Also advancing Friday in the U20 Championships was CU's Emma Pollak, who came on strong down the stretch to finish third in her 400 hurdles heat in 59.83 to advance to Saturday's finals.

CU's Aaron McCoy finished sixth in his 400 hurdles heat and did not advance.

Hurta ran a brilliant race in the 800, jumping into the top three early and never wavering. She stayed close on the heels of two-time Olympic gold medalist Athing Mu for the entire race and finished second in 1:58.30 — not only a World Championships standard, but also a personal best by 1.29 seconds and the second overall fastest time of the evening.

In the 3,000 steeplechase, Constien and Boreman were in a heat that included 2020 Olympic silver medalist Courtney Frerichs and Olympian Colleen Quigley.

Boreman pushed the pace and was in the lead early and was still at the front with five laps to go in a pack that also included Frerichs, Quigley and Constien.

But with three laps to go, Boreman began to slip back in the pack to sixth while Constien moved into fourth. On the bell lap, Constien solidified her fourth-place spot and held it to the finish line, easily negotiating the final water jump to keep her place in the lead pack and automatically qualify for Sunday's final.

Constien finished in 9:36.83, which also proved to be the fourth-fastest time of the night, while Boreman crossed the finish in sixth in 9:50.44.

The race proved to be a nice confirmation for Constien, who had been training for just five weeks after being sidelined by an injury this spring — and a bout of Covid just a couple of weeks ago.

"I was just so happy to compete," Constien said. "A lot of my fitness is still there."

But the first heat also left Boreman awaiting the results of the second heat to see if she would earn a spot in the finals.

Luck was on her side, as the second heat did not produce the same pace as the opening group.

Coburn was content to run near the front of a with a tightly bunched pack for much of the race, then made her move into the lead just before the fifth lap. The pack then began to splinter and Coburn stayed in front, just ahead of Courtney Wayment and Katie Rainsberger.

With a world championships qualifying time already in hand, Coburn had no need to push the pace over the final two laps. She maintained a conservative pace until the very end, when she opened up a gap down the home stretch for the win, finishing in 9:40.53. 

That slow pace was a help to Boreman, as she slipped into the finals with the fourth-best time after the 10 automatic bids. 

Sunday's schedule will see the 800 final set to go off at 2:54 p.m. (MT) and televised by NBC. The steeplechase final is set to begin at 3:23 p.m. and will be televised by the USA Network.

Saturday's schedule will see two CU products in the finals.

Dani Jones will run the 1,500 final at 2:40 p.m., which will be televised by NBC. Pollak will run in the U20 400 hurdles final, which will be available on a streaming basis on USATF.TV.