June 12, 2015
EUGENE, Ore. - The NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships annually brings the most elite running talent together for one last set of races, to determine the absolute best in the field and this year is no different. To end the season in Eugene is reserved for a select number of athletes in each event. All-Americans Katrina Coogan (Exeter, N.H./Phillips Exeter Academy) and Sabrina Southerland (New York, N.Y./Benjamin N. Cardozo) were among the country's 24 best in their respective events who made it to historic Hayward Field to compete at the 2015 NCAA Championships, hosted by the University of Oregon in Eugene. The four-day meet that is the culmination of a long track & field season is broadcast live on the ESPN family of networks.
In the women's 1,500-meter semifinals, Coogan got caught up in an awkward second and final heat. The heat went out four seconds slower over the first 400 meters than the previous heat, however, by 800 meters, the field had made up the deficit, forcing the runners into and uncomfortable position and into a tougher pace against the wind earlier in the race.
Coogan's coveted spot along the rail worked against her in a race against the most elite level of competition as the field maneuvered and pushed her back quickly. With a slew of runners of this caliber, Coogan's assets as a seasoned two-miler are her endurance and strength as she is running in a shorter event. The inconsistent nature of this heat worked against Coogan's strengths as she had to rely on the speedwork more typical of a half-miler to close over the final straightaway. She finished eighth in her heat, clocking 4:19.83.
"Just to get to here is a tremendous achievement for any track athlete," Women's Distance Coach Michael Smith explained. "Katrina is competing in a time when the athletes are just getting so much faster and the field of American collegiate running is getting so much deeper. These athletes are running at the top level throughout the entire season."
Southerland was in a considerably fast heat of the women's 800-meter semifinals. Clemson's Natoya Goule took off early while the field trailed behind, tightly packed. After getting a bit tripped up, Southerland quickly regained her composure but her positioning put her in a difficult position to maneuver around and kick at the end.
Southerland finished sixth in the heat with a time of 2:07.48, not enough to clinch a spot in Saturday's final. Despite the result, Southerland recalls where she was one year ago and is appreciative of how far she made it.
"Last year I fell at the prelims and I didn't even make it out here," Southerland noted. "I'm so happy that I made it to Eugene, but it is bittersweet to not make the finals."
Southerland credits her Georgetown team for her success so far on the track in her two-year career on the Hilltop. With five Hoyas making the East prelims in Jacksonville, Southerland had a wealth of talent to work with as she prepared for the postseason.
"Having these girls on the team is really great," Southerland said of her teammates. "It definitely helps to have such a talented group to train with. Between our 800 runners and Katrina, it's a great team to be around."
Live Broadcast Schedule
Friday, June 12: ESPN starting at 7:30 p.m. ET
Saturday, June 13: ESPN2 starting at 5 p.m. ET
the entire championships will be streamed live on ESPN3