Today @ Colorado State has been replaced by SOURCE. This site exists as an archive of Today @ Colorado State stories between January 1, 2009 and September 8, 2014.

Sports / Recreation

Steeplechaser clears hurdles, leaps 12-ft. water holes

June 2, 2010
By Kayla Green

Student Kristen Hemphill prepares for the NCAA championships after placing third in the NCAA West regional and winning the Mountain West Conference in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

Trying not to get too wet

Kristen Hemphill prepares to leap over a 12-foot water hole -- part of a steeplechase course.

Imagine you’re on an outdoor track. Imagine you’re running one lap… two… four… seven… and a half laps around that track. Every step takes you further. Your focus is engaged and determined. Your breathing gets heavier as you look ahead. You see the hurdle. Only 30-inches high, you tell yourself. Every muscle in your body prepares for this hurdle. You increase your speed as you thrust your leg forward for the leap. You clear the barricade.

You look ahead as you see the water jump. Your body prepares once more as you increase your speed. Your eyes meet the barrier step as you draw closer to it. Your foot makes a swift step onto it as you make another leap across the gaping 12-foot water hole. You land on the track once more.

Another hurdle down.

For many, the steeplechase is an unknown track event that involves 7-½ laps around a track and includes four barrier jumps and one water jump per lap. For Kristen Hemphill, this is just another event in another year.

Ram outruns the competition

CSU Ram and nutrition major Hemphill recently placed third in the steeplechase event at the NCAA West regional after qualifying upon winning the Mountain West Conference with a time of 10:35:85. “It went really well. It was really exciting because we competed as a team,” she said.

Because of her sociable personality and dedication to the sport and her teammates, Hemphill has developed lifelong friendships that will last her throughout her life. "Making friends with all of my teammates made it really enjoyable. [It] made the last five years fun."

Hemphill also took home the second place honor in the 5,000-meter run at the Mountain West Conference and is now on her way to the NCAA.

Surpassed her own school record

Kristen Hemphill is also a member of the CSU cross country team.

This past April, Hemphill competed at the Mt. San Antonio College in California and came home with, yet, another story to tell.

"That was a really exciting race. It was a PR for me. That was the first time we'd been to the Mount SAC relays," she recalls.

And, indeed, it was exciting. Hemphill came home to Fort Collins having surpassed her own school record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10 minutes and 2.59 seconds. Inevitably, she placed third and beat her previous time of 10:08 in the Stanford Invitational the previous semester.

Not all track all the time

Although her track practices and competitions keep Hemphill fairly busy, track isn't the only thing on her mind. She enjoys cooking, hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. However, perhaps it is her studies and interest in science that demand the most attention in her life.

"I like the sciences, and I like working with people. You have both of those with nutrition. I think it’s a good field to get into, and I enjoy it."

Hemphill plans to attend CSU this upcoming fall in pursuit of her master's degree in nutrition. Her career goal is to be a dietitian. "I really liked learning about nutrition and majoring in it has really inspired me."

What's next?

Upon placing in the NCAA West regional, Hemphill will move on to compete in the NCAA championships in Eugene, Ore., in June as well as continue on as a graduate student at CSU. Although her pursuit of a master's will keep her busy, Hemphill has no intentions of leaving track behind.

“I am looking forward to beginning graduate school in the fall at CSU for nutrition and continuing to run and train for the steeplechase. Running has become part of my lifestyle and is something I have always really enjoyed; therefore, it's something I would like to continue.”