U of M Women - Borchers Books Trip to NCAAs in Steeplechase

U of M Women - Borchers Books Trip to NCAAs in Steeplechase

Provided by U of M

» Claire Borchers ran a career-best 9:56.57 in a come-from-behind win in her heat to advance to the NCAA Championships in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

» Fellow steeplechaser Sarah Zieve also ran a career best but just missed the nationals qualifying cutoff.

» Final-day action on Saturday (May 27) concludes with Gina Sereno going for a berth to NCAAs at 5,000 meters and the trio of Jamie Morrissey, Jaimie Phelan and Haley Meier looking to qualify at 1,500 meters.

Site: Lexington, Ky. (UK Outdoor Track & Field Complex)

Event: NCAA East Preliminary Rounds (Day 2)

U-M Team Result: Non-scoring

Next U-M Event: Saturday, May 27 -- at NCAA East Preliminary Rounds - Day 3 (Lexington Ky.), 6:30 p.m.

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Claire Borchers punched the University of Michigan women's track and field team's first ticket to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, temporarily setting a new facility record in the steeplechase to lead the Wolverines on the second day of the NCAA East Preliminaries on Friday (May 26).

Behind the strength of a late surge down the homestretch that propelled her to a win in her second heat of the 3,000-meter steeplechase quarterfinals, the junior Borchers crossed the line in a new PR 9:56.57 -- the third-fastest clocking in Michigan history -- to finish third overall on the evening.

By virtue of her heat win, she earned an automatic berth to Eugene, Oregon, on June 7-10 for her first-ever individual appearance at an NCAA track and field championship meet.

Battling Providence's Brianna Ilarda essentially from the start of the race through the finish, Borchers surged past the Friar on the final straightaway to claim the University of Kentucky Outdoor Track and Field Complex record.

New Hampshire's Elinor Purrier soon thereafter lowered the record to 9:50.51 in the following heat.

A breakaway group of three runners -- Borchers, Ilarda and Syracuse's Paige Stoner -- quickly separated themselves from the rest of the field early in the proceedings and ran point together for a little less than a mile, before Ilarda and Borchers started to pull away.

Borchers ran a few steps off Ilarda's shoulder for much of the final 150 meters until a strong final water jump put the two essentially shoulder to shoulder coming around the final turn, and a surge past the final dry-land barrier put Borchers in the lead for good.

In the third-and-final heat, Sarah Zieve put in a big surge late -- including a 1:15.46 final 400 meters -- to move up from as low as 10th place with less than a kilometer to go up to sixth in a new career-best 10:09.22.

Alas, it was not quite enough to advance the junior to Eugene alongside Borchers as she finished 15th. She did move up the all-time leaderboards in Michigan history, however, becoming just the fourth woman to crack the 10:10 barrier in the event with a more-than-six-second PR.

In the field, high jumper Claire Kieffer-Wright could not summon the same third-attempt magic that won her the Big Ten title as she bowed out of the competition after a clearance at 1.69m (5-6.5) to finish in a four-way tie for 26th place. She took three close attempts at 1.74m (5-8.5) but was unable to make it over completely clean on any of them.

Freshman Jade Harrison closed out her sensational debut season with a 23.80 clocking in the first round of the 200 meters to finish 40th overall.

The NCAA East Prelims conclude Saturday as the distance squad once again takes center stage. The trio of Jamie Morrissey, Jaimie Phelan and Haley Meier will all look to advance at 1,500 meters at 6:30 p.m., followed by the undefeated Gina Sereno going for a berth at 5,000 meters at 8:05 p.m.

Communications Contact: Kyle Terwillegar