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BYU runner sets steeplechase mark

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Elizabeth Jackson, of BYU and East High School, became the first American woman to break the 10-minute barrier in the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Monday, winning the event at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in a time of 9 minutes, 57.20 seconds. It was Jackson's second consecutive national championship.

Jackson's time beat her previous personal best by roughly 10 seconds.

"I only run steeplechase after the (college) season is over," Jackson said. "I qualified (for the Olympic Trials) in the 5K, and a little part of me wanted to double. But I would have had to drop so much time to be competitive (in the 5K)."

Jackson, who will be a fifth-year senior at BYU, was followed by Lisa Nye of Nike in 10:00.63 and Kara Ormond of BYU in 10:03.09. Tara Haynes and Courtney Meldrum, also both of BYU, placed fourth and fifth in the steeplechase.

The women's steeplechase is an exhibition event at the Olympic Trials and is not contested at the Olympics.

Others with Utah ties were not as successful on Monday. Marty Hernandez (BYU) failed to advance to the finals of the 5,000 meters, finishing 12th in her heat. Ogden's Francis O'Neill and Jeremy Tolman (Weber State) failed to advance to the men's steeplechase, finishing seventh and 10th in their heats, respectively. And Jeff Simonich (Tooele High and University of Utah) didn't advance in his men's 5,000-meter heat, finishing 13th.