Emma Coburn, Courtney Frerichs Sweep Medals In Historic Steeplechase Final

The United States made history today in the women's steeplechase as Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs swept the gold and silver medals at the IAAF World Championships in London. No American woman has ever earned a medal in the event at worlds and no American duo has swept a distance event at the World Championships or Olympic Games since 1912.

Coburn is the first American, male or female, to win gold at a global championship since Horace Ashenfelter won the Olympics in 1952.

The 26-year-old's winning time of 9:02.58 shaved five seconds off her own American record, which she had set en route to earning bronze at the Rio Games. The time stands as the new World Championships record. 

Frerichs, who was 11th in Rio, ran 9:03.77, a new personal best by 16 seconds. Coburn and Frerichs' marks make them the sixth and seventh-fastest performers in world history.

Things got off to a weird start when Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya, one of the medal favorites here after winning the Paris Diamond League, nearly missed the first water jump.

She ran at the front of the pack and instead of cutting to the inside of the track to approach the water jump, she kept running on the curve, even as the rest of the pack cut in. The 26-year-old turned back and got over the water jump, then appeared to fall while jumping over the next barrier.

She returned to the lead group within the next 200 meters, which was by now led by world record holder and Olympic champion Ruth Jebet of Bahrain, who started to ratchet up the pace just after 1K with defending world champion Hyvin Jepkemoi of Kenya, 18-year-old world junior record holder Celliphine Chespol of Kenya and Americans Coburn and Frerichs in tow.

On the second-to-last water jump, Chespol fell off the pack and was nowhere to be seen at the bell lap, where Jebet started to falter and Frerichs moved up on the outside to the lead.

On the backstretch, Frerichs ran on the outside, stride-for-stride with Jepkemoi, while Chepkoech and Coburn were in close pursuit. Coburn went over the final barrier on the inside and took the advantage when the runners hit the closing straight. She would finish in 9:02.58 to break her own American record by five seconds.

Coburn's decision to switch coaches from Mark Wetmore, her longtime mentor at the University of Colorado, to her fiancé, Joe Bosshard, a year after earning Olympic bronze appears to have paid dividends, though her training partner in Aisha Praught of Jamaica was disqualified.

"The last two years at the Olympics and World Championships in 2015, my last water jump wasn't very powerful and so that was something I really needed to work on," Coburn said after her victory lap to Lewis Johnson of NBC. "My fiancé and coach Joe said 'be really powerful that last water jump' and that's really what I was thinking, to hang on for that last water jump."

​Watch Emma Coburn's sister, Gracie Willette, react to Emma winning gold:

"My coach told me 'just go for it,'" Frerichs said of going for the lead on the bell lap. "He told me Emma races smart and I felt very comfortable following her, her form is great and there was an extreme level of comfort."

Frerichs was racing not only for herself but also Bowerman Track Club teammate Colleen Quigley, who was disqualified from the preliminary round for twice stepping on the white line designating the track from the infield immediately following the water barrier. With a full team, could the United States have swept all three medals today? 

Final results below:


NCAA DIII XC Recap: North Central Wins No. 19 In Rout, WashU. Scores Upset

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloTrack!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

Race Replay: 2018 DIII NCAA XC Championship Men's 8k

A shocking upset in the women’s race and a dominant performance by the winningest men’s program in NCAA cross country history told the story on Saturday at the 2018 DIII NCAA XC Championships in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, as the Washington U. women beat two-time defending champs Johns Hopkins by one point, while the North Central men won their 19th DIII title with their lowest point total since 1993.

Morgan McDonald Reigns, NAU Three-Peats At NCAA XC Championships

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloTrack!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

Race Replay: 2018 DI NCAA XC Championship Men's 10k

MADISON, WI. — The men's NCAA DI XC Championships made history on Saturday morning as Wisconsin senior Morgan McDonald became the first man to win the individual title on his home course since 1992, and Northern Arizona became the first team to win three consecutive team titles since 1998.

Champion Dani Jones Leads Colorado To NCAA XC Team Title

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloTrack!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

Race Replay: 2018 DI NCAA XC Championship Women's 6k

MADISON, WI. — You couldn't write a better story for Colorado senior Dani Jones, who captured her first individual cross country national title while leading the Buffs to their first team championship in 14 years.

Coast Guard's Kaitlyn Mooney Eyes NCAA History At DIII XC

When Coast Guard sophomore Kaitlyn Mooney crosses the finish line Saturday at the 2018 DIII NCAA XC Championships in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, there’s a very good chance she’ll have accomplished a feat that no other woman has in NCAA history.

Loyalty To Team Is The Driving Force At NCAA Cross Country Championships

(c) 2018 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

MADISON, Wisc. (16-Nov) -- Morgan McDonald has worn the Australian colors in five global championships, and placed eighth at last April's Commonwealth Games in the 5000m on home soil.  But the 22 year-old senior from Sydney, who will be running his final cross country race tomorrow for the University of Wisconsin, said those championships don't compare to tomorrow's NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships here when it comes to his drive to succeed as a member of a team.

2018 DIII NCAA XC All-American Projections

NCAA XC: Dynasties On The Line

Below are FloTrack's 2018 projections for the men's and women's DIII NCAA XC All-Americans:

Former NCAA Stars Make Their XC Predictions

NCAA XC: Dynasties On The Line

Watch the 2018 DI NCAA XC Championships LIVE on FloTrack, Saturday Nov. 17th!

DIII NCAA XC Women's Preview: Hopkins Hones In On Dynasty

Workout Wednesday: Johns Hopkins Men & Women

The 2018 DIII NCAA women’s cross country championships will feature a favorite in Johns Hopkins looking to expand on their recent dynasty, and a slew of challengers seeking to put an end to the Blue Jays’ dominance. Hopkins will race for their sixth title since 2012 on Saturday in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, a run that only one other DIII women’s program in history has accomplished. It should be fascinating to watch it all unfold in brutal cross country conditions this weekend.

Deep Field Tries To Take Down New Mexico, Kelati Goes For First Title

NCAA XC: Dynasties On The Line

It didn’t take long for the narrative of the women’s NCAA cross country season to shift. New Mexico entered the fall with three of the nation’s best runners, high profile transfers, and a clear line to their third team title in four years. 

NCAA XC Champs Confidence Picks: NAU Three-Peats, McDonald Edges Fisher

The stakes are clear and the storylines are well established.