EUGENE – When Emma Coburn left, there was little doubt that she would win and claim her ninth steeplechase title in America. Crossing the finish line at 9: 09.41, he set a US Olympic track and field test record and will head to his third Olympics.
In 2016, Coburn took the podium for the first time in a world championship by winning bronze in Rio de Janeiro, becoming the first American woman to win a medal at the Olympics in the obstacle course. (Ruth Jebet from Bahrain won the gold, but was banned in 2018 for wearing EPO. The gold medal was not taken from her.) One year later, Coburn surprised the East Africans and led a 1-2 for the Americans breaking his own American record at 9: 02.58. Courtney Frerichs took silver just 1.19 seconds behind her.
Frerichs took possession of the American record in July 2018 with a 9: 00.85 in the Monaco Diamond League. That race is the only head-to-head victory Frerichs has achieved over Coburn.
Frerichs tried to make a move for victory on Thursday and took the lead on lap five, but Coburn made it up with two laps remaining. At about the same point, Leah Falland, a former NCAA champion from Michigan state, tried to join the getaway herd but fell over the obstacle. She rolled on the ground for a second before a battle for the final Olympic team spot ensued with Val Constien.
Constien entered the final on Thursday night with a personal best of 9:25, which was the third best on the field heading into testing. His coach, Heather Burroughs, told him that a five-second improvement may be enough to land on the team.
Coburn and Frerichs finished well away from the rest of the group and each secured their spots in Tokyo. Constien had better clearance over the final water barrier and put an end to Falland’s Olympic dreams. A personal best of 9: 18.34 for Constien provided a little extra for his coach and a place for his first Olympics.
Other highlights of day 5
• Reigning world champion DeAnna Price threw a record 77.10 meters in the United States Olympic Trials (252-11) on her first throw of the day during the women’s hammer throw qualifying round.
• Gabby Thomas, a Harvard graduate pursuing a master’s degree in epidemiology while running professionally, posted a world-leading time of 21.98 for the fastest women’s 200-meter time in the first round. 2016 Olympian Jenna Prandini may also be a must-see in the upcoming rounds. He achieved his personal best of 22.14 as he relaxed before the finish line. Allyson Felix, who made her fifth Olympic team with a second place in the 400 meters, advanced to the semifinals.
• In the first round of the women’s 800 meters, a field of 42 women was reduced to 16 for the semi-finals. Chanelle Price, the 2014 world 800m indoor champion, posted the best time of the day with 1: 59.86 in the first section. Raevyn Rogers and Ajeé Wilson, who won silver and bronze medals in the 800m at the 2019 world championships, also advanced.
• Last week, Texas A&M freshman star Athing Mu decided to sign agent Wes Felix and sign a deal with Nike. The finalized contract was announced Wednesday night. In his only year with the Aggies, he set the junior world record in the 800m indoors (1: 58.40) and the NCAA outdoor records in the 400m (49.57) and 800m (1: 57.73). Even after the women’s 400m final, her time remains the fastest of the year for an American woman, but she will only contest the 800m in trials. Mu won her tie in 2: 00.69.
Mu told reporters that he will continue to train in College Station, Texas and continue to take classes at Texas A&M.
• The first test of the men’s 1,500 meters did not have great surprises since 29 men competed and only five were eliminated.
• Hobbs Kessler, a senior at Ann Arbor Skyline (MI), decided to sign a professional contract and waive his NCAA eligibility to run for Adidas. Kessler initially made a commitment to apply in northern Arizona and still plans to attend college as a student. He will continue to be trained by Ron Warhurst, who helped oversee his training during a record 2021 campaign. Kessler broke the US high school indoor miles record in February by running 3: 57.66. He then broke the US high school record of 1,500m during the outdoor season by running 3: 34.36 in late May. His high school record is faster than the NCAA record of 3: 34.68 set by Notre Dame’s Yared Nuguse on May 14. Kessler has the Olympic standard, so if he advances to the final on Sunday, he would need to finish in the top three to reach the final. Olympic team at age 18.
• In the men’s 400m hurdles, LSU’s Sean “Squirrel” Burrell fell over the ninth hurdle but got up and finished the race. Burrell ran 47.85 to win the NCAA title on June 11. Only world championship silver medalist Rai Benjamin has raced the fastest in the year for an American. Due to the slip, Burrell’s search for his first Olympic team is over.
More coverage of the Olympics:
• My daughter’s long and laborious road to the Olympics
• Clayton Murphy returns to the top with a thrilling victory in the Olympic 800m events
• Team USA Basketball Tracker: Durant Leads Stars Committed to Tokyo
• USWNT Olympic roster enhances veterans championship experience
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.