CU seniors Emma Coburn and Shalayla Kipp qualify for 2012 London Olympics

University of Colorado seniors Emma Coburn and Shalayla Kipp ran the 3,000 meter steeplechase Friday night, qualifying for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. They will join other fellow collegians in the summer games.

Watch the race, posted on CU Boulder’s Athletic site, below.

Coburn, coming in first place with a time of 9:32:78 is a senior at the University of Colorado studying marketing and real estate.

“We were so rushed in our victory lap, and it didn’t even sink in until this moment. I know I’m a hysterical mess, but this is why we get up every day and run, and it’s why we sweat and cry and work our asses off in practice,” said Coburn, according to an article by Luke Cyphers of ESPN. “This is our dream, and to have it come true, it’s just really special. And to do it with my teammate who’s now one of my best friends … I think we both feel really blessed right now. It’s all just hitting me that we’re Olympians, and it feels really special.”

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Kipp came in 3rd place with a time of 9:34:73. Both she and Coburn will join fellow Buff athletes in this summer’s games including Kara Goucher in the women’s marathon and Dathan Ritzenhein in the men’s 10,000-meter run, according to an article from CU Athletics.

While it can be a struggle to balance school and training, for some athletes, college is actually a helpful training tool. An article from the Wall Street Journal lists the colleges from around the world that has produced the most Winter Olympic athletes. Colorado Mountain College ranks 17th as of 2010.

According to an article by Luke Cypers, Coburn redshirted  at CUs team and changed her major. This allowed her to space out her class-load and focus specifically on training for the games.

Yet, not every collegiate-olympian-hopeful has mastered the balance of school and sport. Former CSU student Janay DeLoach went to the Olympic trials during her senior year but was overwhelmed and ended up finishing 21st in the 2008 trials.

“Mentally, I just wasn’t there. I was kind of mentally ‘kaput’ so to speak,” DeLoach told 9News. “I was tired, exhausted, and I wasn’t mentally there in any way shape or form. So when I actually did compete, it waskind of like ‘Wow, why am I here right now?’ From that point forward it was like, ‘I don’t want to do that again.’ It was embarrassing, and I wanted to redeem myself.”

This year’s games have attracted other college athletes. According to ESPN, eight collegians have already qualified for London.

“No fewer than 20 college athletes are competing in finals this weekend, including some of the most competitive events. Three college runners made it through to the women’s 400 hurdles finals, while two others qualified for the stacked women’s 200 final, a field that includes the likes of Allyson Felix, Carmelita Jeter and Sanya Richards-Ross,” wrote Cyphers.

Track and Field team trials will continue in Eugene, Oregon until July 1.