The Next Level: Hemphill picks up All-American honor in steeplechase

-A A +A
By The Staff

Former Los Alamos Hilltopper star runner Kristen Hemphill finished seventh in the national finals of the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

Hemphill, a 2004 graduate of Los Alamos High School, finished the 2010 NCAA Division-1 Track and Field Championships, which were held this weekend in Eugene, Ore.

Hemphill finished the steeplechase in a time of 10 minutes, 7.40 seconds, which earned her an All-American title in the event. The All-American distinction is given to the top eight finishers in the event.

It was the final race in the collegiate career for Hemphill, who, after completing one of the best prep running careers in the history of Los Alamos High School, moved on to Colorado State University.

Hemphill’s performance in the steeplechase Saturday was the second-best time she’d ever posted in that event, including setting CSU records in the event on two separate occasions this season. Hemphill owns five of the top six times in the steeplechase in CSU history.

“It was a very good race for her,” CSU distance coach Bryan Berryhill said in press release from the school. “She had a very solid preliminary round and final round. Very few people get to end their careers as All-Americans. She worked very hard and certainly earned it.”

The national championship was won by Penn State’s Bridget Franek, finishing the steeplechase in 9:38.86, 13 seconds better than runner-up Emma Coburn of University of Colorado.

During her prep career, Hemphill won three straight cross country individual titles (2002-2004), leading the Hilltoppers to state championships in each of those years despite never having competed in cross country prior to the 2002 season. In track and field, Hemphill set school records in all three distance events and helped the Hilltopper team to a victory in 2003.