Colleen Quigley scored her first US track title in the mile final at the Toyota USATF Indoor Championships in Staten Island, N.Y. yesterday, beating her teammate, the seemingly unstoppable Shelby Houlihan, in 4:29.27, pumping her fist and letting out an unmistakable “F––k yeah” as she crossed the finish line.
— Chris Chavez (@ChrisChavez) February 24, 2019
With 500m to go, Quigley passed Houlihan and held on the for win, running the final lap in 29s. Houlihan ran 4:29.92 for second place, with Cory McGee finishing third in 4:30.14.
Shalane Flanagan famously yelled “F––k, yeah” as she broke the tape at the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon. It was the first time an American woman had won the marathon in 40 years. Flanagan, Houlihan and Quigley are all teammates in the Oregon-based Bowerman Track Club.
Making her move early was key, as Quigley told LetsRun post-race. “My tactic was basically, don’t leave it til the last 100, because you don’t stand a chance. You’ve got to get her before that… I was hoping to put distance on her before she got to start kicking.”
Quigley finished second to Houlihan at this meet in both 2018 and 2017, so it was a sweet victory for the St. Louis, Missouri middle-distance runner (who is particularly adept at the steeplechase) on Saturday. Quigley ran a new personal best in 4:22.86 at the Millrose Games on February 9, and was obviously determined to beat Houlihan, who had won eight straight national titles from 1,500m up to 10K cross-country, and who holds the American record in the 5,000m.
Quigley was a finalist in the 2016 Olympic 3,000m steeplechase. Equally interested in running, modelling and dance through high school, she chose running, attending Florida State University under coach Karen Harvey and scoring an NCAA national championship in 2015.
Houlihan responded by winning the 2-mile event today, in 9:31.38, ahead of Katie Mackey in 9:33.70 and Elinor Purrier in 9:34.65. This brings to nine her total US titles.