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Grand Haven's Borchers books trip to NCAA Championships in Steeplechase

MGoBlue.com • May 27, 2017 at 2:35 AM

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Former Grand Haven standout Claire Borchers punched the University of Michigan women's track and field team's first ticket to the NCAA Outdoor Championships on Friday, temporarily setting a new facility record in the steeplechase to lead the Wolverines on the second day of the NCAA East Preliminaries on Friday.

Behind the strength of a late surge down the homestretch that propelled her to a win in her second heat of the 3,000-meter steeplechase quarterfinals, the junior Borchers crossed the line in a new PR time of 9:56.57 — the third-fastest clocking in Michigan history — to finish third overall on the evening.

By virtue of her heat win, she earned an automatic berth to Eugene, Oregon, for the NCAA track and field championship meet on June 7.

Battling Providence's Brianna Ilarda essentially from the start of the race through the finish, Borchers surged past the Friar on the final straightaway to claim the University of Kentucky Outdoor Track and Field Complex record.

New Hampshire's Elinor Purrier soon thereafter lowered the record to 9:50.51 in the following heat.

A breakaway group of three runners — Borchers, Ilarda and Syracuse's Paige Stoner — quickly separated themselves from the rest of the field early in the proceedings and ran point together for a little less than a mile, before Ilarda and Borchers started to pull away.

Borchers ran a few steps off Ilarda's shoulder for much of the final 150 meters until a strong final water jump put the two essentially shoulder to shoulder coming around the final turn, and a surge past the final dry-land barrier put Borchers in the lead for good.

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