That fact was not unnoticed by Jepkemoi, the 2015 champion, who claimed the bronze medal in an event usually dominated by Africans.
There was no doubt that Coburn was a potential medal contender heading into the final, though both her and Frerichs remained calm and composed throughout to secure a surprising American 1-2 in London.
While at UNM, Frerichs won the NCAA championship in the steeplechase in 2016 and helps the Lobos to the 2015 NCAA cross country team title in 2015. Kenya's Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi took bronze in 9:04.03.
Surprisingly, on the final lap it was world record holder Jebet who began to fall away first, and with Chepkoech falling behind at the water jump, it was here when Coburn made the decisive move.
But on Friday night at the London Olympic Stadium in a wild final where Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech had to backtrack after missing the water jump and several other athletes fell in a separate incident, it was the USA duo who reigned supreme. Jebet faded to fifth place.
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The duo were not counted among the outright favorites heading to London, although Coburn did win bronze at the Olympics a year ago. "My fiancee and coach, Joe [Bosshard], was telling me be really powerful in that last water jump".
"My coach (Jerry Schumacher) told me, 'Just go for it, '" Frerichs said.
Emma Coburn kicked at just the right time.
Earlier this year, Coburn very almost matched that record-setting time at the Prefontaine Classic in a race in which she finished fifth overall. "I knew she was going to execute an awesome race and there was just such an extreme level of comfort". Only one man, an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent named Horace Ashenfelter, has won a world title in the steeplechase (at the 1952 Olympics).
Coburn counts as one of her coaches Heather Burroughs, a renowned runner at the Pembroke Hill School and an All-America at the University of Colorado, where she now coaches.