COLUMBIA, Mo. — Sophomore Emma Coburn didn’t let the rain and cold get in the way of winning her first individual Big 12 Championship as she raced to the title in the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Sunday at the Big 12 Outdoor Track & Field Championship.
Coburn recorded even more points for the Buffs as she placed sixth in the 800-meter run later in the afternoon to earn 13 points for the team on her own.
“It was Emma’s idea to do the double,” Colorado coach Mark Wetmore said. “She won the steeple, which is what we hoped she would do. We didn’t care about the time, but the fact that she broke the meet record and ran close to her PR were good. She came back in the 800 and picked up some points there. She is our high points scorer for the meet and is really coming into her own.”
Coburn’s time of 9 minutes, 56.53 was a Big 12 record and broke former Buff Jenny Barringer’s mark of 9:58.14 that she ran in 2009 in Lubbock, Texas (which was at altitude). The time was just off Coburn’s PR of 9:56.29 that she set earlier in the season. She became the third female Buff to win a steeplechase title. Barringer won a pair in 2007 and 09 and Lesley Higgins won the crown in 2002. This is the third title for CU in the event in four years. Coburn improved from a fourth-place finish in 2009 as a freshman.
“It feels nice (setting a meet record),” Coburn said. “I was really surprised. It is really nice to have something because her (Jenny Barringer’s) American and collegiate records are going to last for a long time. So for me to get something that can get put down in the books for a couple of years is really nice. It’s nice to have something of my own.”
The weather conditions may not have been perfect, but the race played out in favor of the young Buff. She started the race in the front with Kansas State’s Martina Tresch and Baylor’s Erin Bedell. After the first half of the race, Coburn made her move to the front and would not relinquish her position. With around 700 meters left in the race, Coburn started putting more distance between her and Bedell and she was able to cruise easily to the finish.
“The rainy and cold weather was really nice, actually,” Coburn said. “I wanted to go out in a 10:05 pace to get out of traffic but not go too hard. After 2k Mark (Wetmore) and Heather (Burroughs) started to say that I could go, so I accelerated and started to pick it up. It was a meet record and I’m very happy about that. I don’t feel like I was pushing it too hard. It was fun and I’m really happy that I won (this title).”
A true team player, Coburn came back just about 90 minutes later to run in the finals of the 800-meter run. She fell to the back of the pack from the beginning of the race but did not give up. After 500 meters, she passed her first competitor and then took out another 100 meters later. Coburn ended up sixth with a time of 2:12.44.
“It was definitely an interesting double,” Coburn explained. “Generally people who are good in the steeplechase will double in a 5k. I don’t think there are many 800 steeplechasers out there, so I probably surprised a couple of people by being in it. I felt good but I just didn’t have any snap in my legs. I think I came through in about 64 and I couldn’t kick too hard in my last 200. I was still glad that I was able to go in and be competitive and score some more points for my team.”
Coburn was not the only Buff to pick up points in the steeplechase. Shalaya Kipp, running in just the second steeplechase of her career, picked up a fourth-place finish. She crossed the finish in 10:10.48.
“Shalaya ran 10:50 in her debut at elevation, which would be about 10:36 adjusted,” Wetmore explained. “We were hoping 10:25 or maybe 10:20 today. For her to run 10:10 really shows how good she is going to be when she has a year or two of experience.”
The men’s 5,000-meter run was a very exciting race, especially in the last 400 meters of the race. After running in the top 10 for the majority of the race, Richard Medina made a huge move and accelerated into the top three. Medina took the lead with 200 meters remaining, but Oklahoma State’s John Kosgei, who won the 10k on Friday morning, surged past Medina and would hang on the rest of the way. Medina did not give up and was able to hold of Kosgei’s teammate Colby Lowe at the line. Kosgei’s winning time was 14:05.96. Medina crossed the finish in 14:07.23, while Lowe finished in 14:07.98.
“I was just trying to stay as relaxed as possible, but once I got the lead I got excited and tried to hang on,” Medina said.
Medina was happy to add eight more points to the team score after recording four points on Friday morning with a fifth-place finish in the 10k.
“Seeing guys like Adam Salzmann score in the decathlon and Jeremy Dodson do so well in the sprints encourages us to do well,” he said. “It’s a good feeling to see others doing well and then do what you need to do for the team.”
Matt Tebo and Andy Wacker took seventh and eighth, respectively, in the 5k. Tebo finished in 14:10.75 and Wacker’s time was 14:13.10. Joe Bosshard, who had been in the front of the pack for most of the race, finished just out of scoring as he was the ninth runner to cross the line (14:14.15). Aldo Vega was also close as he placed 12th (14:18.97).
“The strategy in this race was to let the fresh runners from the other teams do the work out front; but they didn’t really take the pace,” Wetmore said. “The race ended up closing really hard in the last two kilometers. Joe was the first of our guys to move and ended up just outside of the points and for a freshman with a 10k just 50 hours ago, that showed he is going to be a really, really good runner for us.
“Richard closed beautifully and almost won. He finished with two really good guys. How he closed over the last 2,000 is really critical to the races that are coming. Matt Tebo and Andy Wacker scored some good points for the team. Aldo was close. I’m very pleased with the men distance runners. They had a disappointing meet indoors and came back here to prove that they are the Colorado Buffaloes.”
Jeremy Dodson concluded his Big 12 career with a pair of third-place finishes in the 100 and 200-meter dashes. Both of Dodson’s times were season bests. He clocked a mark of 10.35 in the 100 and 20.63 in the 200.
“I know that Jeremy is disappointed in his placings, but he hadn’t competed at a meet of this caliber since the NCAA Indoor Championship in 2009, so for him to step up and compete the way he did today was truly impressive,” assistant coach Drew Morano said. “Given the obstacles he has faced this season, like the weather, he got back into racing form very quickly and didn’t have time for a whole lot of tune-up meets. We look forward to the future based on where he is at and can use this meet to propel him into the NCAA and USA Championships.”
Wetmore was also pleased with Dodson’s performances over the course of the weekend, as well as his career at CU.
“There are few better sprint conferences in the country, maybe the SEC,” Wetmore said. “This Big 12 is absolutely loaded and for Jeremy to get two thirds and help the 4x100 score is great. He is one of the best sprinters in the country and is the greatest sprinter ever at Colorado. He was the high points scorer for us at this meet. It has been a pleasure for us to have him on the team and he has a fine future ahead of him.”
Dodson was disappointed in his finishes since this was his last chance to capture a Big 12 title, but he did contribute some substantial points to the Buffaloes’ score, accounting for 12 individually. Dodson, along with his two younger brothers, Quinton Dodson and A.J. Whitaker, and Kyle MacIntosh, placed sixth in the 4x100-meter relay for an additional three points to start the action on the track on Sunday. The relay recorded a mark of 40.46.
“I was very happy by the way the 4x100 team performed,” Morano said. “They had never run against a field as talented as this and they really stepped up to the challenge.”
A pair of Buffs also added a few more points to the team score. Christian Thompson was seventh in the men’s steeplechase. He earned a time of 9:08.18. Steve Kasica picked up two points for CU by placing seventh in the 800. Kasica recorded a mark of 1:51.99 and was able to hold off the eighth-place finisher, Jacob Davies (KSU), who finished in 1:53.50.
All in all, Colorado heads back to Boulder with a much different feeling than from the indoor championship where both teams placed 12th. The men took sixth this time with 57 points and the women were 11th with 20 points. Texas A&M won the women’s team title with 157 points and Nebraska took the men’s title with 118 points.
“We were 12th of 12 indoors and no one on the staff was happy with that,” Wetmore said. “The men finished sixth and the women were 11th. We had some good improvements and are more satisfied with this outcome.”
The next action for the Buffaloes is the NCAA West Preliminary Championship on May 27-29 in Austin, Texas.
- CU Track & Field –
14th Annual Big 12 Track & Field Championship
Columbia, Mo. (Aubrey J. Walton Stadium)
Men’s Team Scores
1. Nebraska, 118; 2. Oklahoma, 114; 3. Texas A&M, 110; 4. Texas Tech, 77; 5. Baylor, 63; 6. Colorado, 57; 7. Texas, 56; 8. Kansas, 53; 9. Oklahoma State, 47; 10. Missouri, 44; 11. Kansas State, 40; 12. Iowa State, 39
Women’s Team Scores
1. Texas A&M, 157; 2. Nebraska, 102; 3. Texas, 93; 4. Iowa State, 89; 5. Texas Tech, 81.50; 6. Oklahoma, 76.50; 7. Kansas, 71; 8. Baylor, 62; 9. Kansas State, 30; 10. Missouri, 24; 11. Colorado, 20; 12. Oklahoma State, 11
Men’s 4x100-Meter Relay: (1. TAMU, 39.36) 5. A.J. Whitaker/Q. Dodson/K. MacIntosh/J. Dodson, 40.46
Women’s 3,000-Meter Steeplechase: 1. Emma Coburn, 9:56.53; 4. Shalaya Kipp, 10:10.48; 10. Emily Hanenburg, 10:57.37
Men’s 3,000-Meter Steeplechase: (1. Hillary Bor, ISU, 8:47.82) 7. Christian Thompson, 9:08.18; 10. Aric Van Halen, 9:12.42; 15. Cameron Clayton, 9:32.80
Men’s 100-Meters: (1. Gerald Phiri, TAMU, 10.13) 3. Jeremy Dodson, 10.35
Women’s 800-Meters: (1. Sara Stoakes, KSU, 2:07.16) 6. Emma Coburn, 2:12.44
Men’s 800-Meters: (1. Blake Irwin, MU, 1:48.40) 7. Steve Kasica, 1:51.99
Men’s 200-Meters: (1. Curtis Mitchell, TAMU, 20.46) 3. Jeremy Dodson, 20.63
Women’s 5000-Meter Run: (1. Lisa Koll, ISU, 15:22.42) 17. Laura Thweatt, 16:55.12; 20. Kristin Johansen, 17:09.04; 24. Camille Logan, 17:25.12
Men’s 5,000-Meter Run: (1. John Kosgei, OSU, 14:05.96) 2. Richard Medina, 14:07.23; 7. Matt Tebo, 14:10. 75; 8. Andy Wacker, 14:13.10; 9. Joe Bosshard, 14:14.15; 12. Aldo Vega, 14:18.97; 26. Aric Van Halen, 14:50.36
Women’s 4x400-Meter Run: (1. TAMU, 3:31.79) 9. J. Windham/Regan/Beemer/Tremblay, 3:53.25
Men’s 4x400-Meter Run: (1. TAMU, 3:04.45) 11. Salzmann/Q.Dodson/MacIntosh/Biegner, 3:16.20
Women’s Triple Jump: (1. Ashika Charan, TAMU, 49-09.50) 15. Katie Dreher, 35-05.75
Men’s Discus: (1. Mason Finley, KU, 197-05) 12. Dane Chobanian, 158-05; 14. Trey Mullen, 157-09
Women’s Javelin: (1. Amy Backel, OU, 182-05) 9. Sally Page, 121-05; 12. Max Van Dyke, 99-02
Women’s Shot Put: (1. Karen Shump, OU, 54-08.75) 17. Kaity Kark, 44-10.25