EUGENE, Ore. — Before their 3,000-meter steeplechase final, Emma Coburn and Shalaya Kipp knew would they would likely be chasing first place, not leading.

Not that the University of Colorado runners considered themselves racing for second, but pursuing Penn State’s Bridget Franek — a clear favorite before Saturday’s final at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships — meant they would have to rigidly adhere to running their own paces and race the field.

“You think maybe if something happens, you can close hard,” Coburn, a sophomore, said of her chances of winning. “You don’t put it out of your mind.”

In the end, the women solidified themselves as the nation’s best collegiate steeplechasing teammates, with Coburn finishing second in 9 minutes, 51.86 seconds and Kipp — only a freshman — crossing fifth in 9:59.37 behind Franek’s 9:38.86 win. Both performances by the CU women were lifetime bests and earned them All-American status.

The full version of this article appeared on The Denver Post’s website with photos. A brief version of this article appeared in the June 13, 2010, Region Report in print.