Courtney Frerichs in the 3000m steeplechase at the USA Track and Field Championships 2022

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2023 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

EUGENE (July 7) — Courtney Frerichs and Mason Ferlic were among the leading qualifiers in the 3000m steeplechase at the USA Track and Field Championships 2023 here at Hayward Field on a very busy first day of competition on Thursday.

What would normally be a routine qualifying race for Olympic silver medalist Courtney Frerichs of the Nike Bowerman Track Club turned into a near-disaster when she fell after hurdling the first barrier going into the third lap of Heat 2. 

After falling, Frerichs knelt and lowered her head to protect herself, letting the field pass by.  She then got up and began to chase the field.  She admitted to being a little rattled.

Read More: Elise Cranny, Woody Kincaid win 10,000m at USATF Championships 2023

“I didn’t get back to training every day until some time in March,” said Frerichs, who had ankle surgery last December and caught COVID at the World Athletics Championships here in Eugene last August. 

She continued: “I think there were some nerves.  It’s not ideal to come in and have this be your first steeple of the season, but it’s what made the most sense.”

Frerichs ended up finishing eighth in 9:47.36 –a faster time than the winner of Heat 1, Logan Jolly– so she advanced to Saturday’s final on time.  Emma Coburn, the 2017 world champion, easily won the second heat in 9:36.69.

“The funny thing with rounds of the steeple is that the advantage of leading, and getting a clear water jump, and getting a clear hurdle actually is pretty great,” said Coburn.  So, it’s natural to want to be in that spot.”  She added: “So, it was good.”

Also advancing to Saturday’s final with a good chance to make the podium were Courtney Wayment and Madie Boreman who, like Coburn and Frerichs, have the World Athletics Championships entry standard of 9:23.00.

In the men’s 3000m Steeplechase, Olympian Mason Ferlic led all qualifiers with a 8:24.14 clocking in Heat 1.  With America’s top two steeplechasers of the last ten years, Evan Jager and Hilary Bor, not competing here, Ferlic sees an opening to not only get to Budapest but win a national title.  He was the NCAA champion in 2016.

“That was classic Mason Ferlic right there,” Ferlic joked.  “Look, I want to come in and win a title this year.  It’s open.”

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