2016 Pre Meet info



Latest info on the 2016 PRE-MEET.

The Prefontaine classic, for the last 5 years, has been one of the stops on the Elite 14 meet, track and field tour.
It has ranked the #1 or #2 meet in the world each year.
     

The Diamond Race Rules

The IAAF Diamond League encompasses 32 individual Event Disciplines, with a points scoring ‘Diamond Race’ which runs throughout the 14 meeting series. Winners of each Diamond Race will get a Diamond Trophy, a cash prize, a wild card for the IAAF World Championships (certain conditions apply) but more importantly, will have shown season long consistency to earn the unchallenged honour of being the World Number 1.
Each of the disciplines is staged seven times with the top three Athletes being awarded the same amount of points at each meeting with the exception of the Final where the points are doubled. 

1st  place: 10 points (Final: 20 points)  2nd place: 6 points (Final: 12 points)  3rd  place: 4 points (Final: 8 points)  4th  place: 3 points (Final: 6 points)  5th  place: 2 points (Final: 4 points)

6th  place: 1 point (Final: 2 points)

The Athlete with the highest number of points in each discipline at the end of the IAAF Diamond League season wins "The Diamond Race”. In case of equality on points, the number of victories decides, if there still is a tie, the better result at the Final decides. For an athlete to win a Diamond race and its associated prize, he / she must compete in a bona fide way in the final (Zurich or Brussels) of their event discipline.

DOHA
06.05.2016
 
SHANGHAI
14.05.2016
 
RABAT
22.05.2016
 
EUGENE
27.05.2016
 
ROME
02.06.2016
 
BIRMINGHAM
05.06.2016
 
OSLO
09.06.2016
 
STOCKHOLM
16.06.2016
MONACO
15.07.2016
 
LONDON
22.07.2016
 
LAUSANNE
25.08.2016
 
PARIS
27.08.2016
 
ZÜRICH
01.09.2016
 
BRUSSELS
09.09.201                   2016 PREFONTAINE CLASSIC A DIAMOND LEAGUE EVENT
                                                                http://www.diamondleague.com/home/


The 42nd Prefontaine Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 27-28 at historic Hayward Field.)

2016 DATE: May 27-28

2016 EVENTS: 
*Listed are the IAAF Diamond League events to be held at the Prefontaine Classic on May 27 & 28, 2016.  

FRIDAY – 8:00 PM START

MEN
200 METERS HIGH SCHOOL* 
NATIONAL MILE* 
10,000 METERS*
IDL SHOT PUT  
HAMMER THROW*

WOMEN
200 METERS HIGH SCHOOL*  
USATF HIGH PERFORMANCE 800 METERS*
5000 METERS*
IDL LONG JUMP
IDL DISCUS THROW

SATURDAY - 12:15 PM START

MEN
IDL 100 METERS
400 METERS*  
IDL 800 METERS
BOWERMAN MILE*
IDL 5000 METERS
110 HURDLES
IDL 400 HURDLES
IDL POLE VAULT 

IDL TRIPLE JUMP
IDL JAVELIN THROW

WOMEN
100 METERS*
IDL 200 METERS
IDL 400 METERS 
IDL 1500 METERS
IDL STEEPLECHASE
IDL 100 HURDLES
IDL HIGH JUMP


  The Prefontaine Classic is the longest-running outdoor invitational track & field meet in America and is part of the elite IAAF Diamond League of meets held worldwide annually.  The Pre Classic’s results score has rated No. 1 or No. 2 in the world in each of the last five years by All-Athletics.com, the official data partner of the Diamond League.  Sponsored by NIKE continuously since 1984, the Prefontaine Classic will be shown live to an international audience and by NBC and NBC Sports Network.

Pre Classic Inaugurates Free Shuttle Service  

            Eugene, Oregon—In response to the increasing popularity and sold-out crowds at the annual Prefontaine Classic, organizers have arranged for free shuttles from  the Autzen Stadium parking lot to Hayward Field and return for both Friday's “Distance Night in Eugene” (May 27)  and Saturday's Main Event (May 28).  Parking in the area around Hayward Field is extremely limited.

            Last year, Friday's free Distance Night attracted a crowd of approximately 10,000, and an even larger attendance is anticipated in 2016.  Saturday's attendance was 13,278, the 12th consecutive sell-out at the IAAF Diamond League Prefontaine Classic. 

           This year's Friday events begin with the men's Hammer Throw at 7 p.m. and will end at approximately 9:45 p.m.  The Autzen-Hayward shuttles will begin at 5 p.m. and the last return to Autzen Stadium will be at 11 p.m.  

           Saturday's competition begins at 12 noon and concludes with the iconic Bowerman Mile at 2:50 p.m.  Shuttles will run from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

            Spectators are encouraged to park for free at  Autzen Stadium and take the shuttles,  which will drop off and pick up at Hayward Field right outside the Agate Street gate.


British Legend Mo Farah Seeks Fast Time in Pre Classic 10k 

             
            Eugene, Oregon – Mo Farah will add to his incredible legacy as one of the all-time distance greats by headlining a loaded 10,000-meter field at the Prefontaine Classic.

            For the sixth-straight year there will be no admission charge as fans can enjoy the best deal in sports – the Friday night portion of the Pre Classic known as Distance Night in Eugene.  It is a collection of world-class events provided for free by Nike, a gift to the best and most passionate fans anywhere.

            The 10k has always been the cornerstone of Distance Night in Eugene.  In 2011 a record nine runners ran sub-27 (no other race has more than six) and last year all 19 finishers ran sub-28 – the only race with more was the 2008 Olympics in Beijing with 20.
 
            Mo Farah, 33, of Great Britain proved to the world he is still the world’s dominant long-distance track runner, sweeping the 5k and 10k at last summer’s World Championships in Beijing, matching sweeps at the 2012 London Olympics and 2013 World Championships in Moscow.  He has not lost a 5k race anywhere since his 2nd in the 2012 Pre Classic 5k and a 10k race since his silver medal in the 2011 World Championships.

            At the Pre Classic, Farah also has a golden touch.  He is the only two-time 10k winner in meet history – the 2011 and ’15 races with his only sub-27 clockings, including his best of 26:46.57 in ’11, which at the time was the fastest in the world dating back to the 2008 Pre Classic (Kenenisa Bekele’s U.S. all-comers record 26:25.97).

            He is the fastest British runner in history at every championship distance from 1500 meters (3:28.81) to the marathon (2:08:21).
 
            Zersenay Tadese, 34, of Eritrea is the fastest in the field at 26:37.25 and has amassed six World gold medals – four in the half-marathon, where he is the world record holder at 58:23.  The 2004 Olympic bronze medalist in the 10k, he was a high finisher in every major 10k final from 2003-12, topped by a silver in the 2009 Berlin World Championships.  Since the London Olympics he has run almost exclusively on the roads, where he also owns the 20k world record at 55:21. 

            Ibrahim Jeilan, 26, of Ethiopia is the last runner to defeat Farah in a 10k, winning the gold medal in the 2011 World Championships in Daegu over Farah’s silver in a last-lap thriller between two incredible kickers. Jeilan also claimed the silver at the 2013 Moscow World Championships and but is looking to finish his first 10k since.  Incredibly, his PR is almost 10 years old – 27:02.81 set as a 17-year-old that still rates as the World Youth record.

            Ethiopian teammate Tariku Bekele, 29, is yet another major medalist in the field, earning bronze in the 2012 London Olympics 10k and gold in the 2008 World Indoor 3k.  He won the 2010 Pre Classic 5k in 12:58.93, the meet’s first sub-13 and lasted as the Hayward Field record until 2012, when Farah ran 12:56.98 at the Pre Classic.  Bekele, the young brother of legendary Kenenisa Bekele, owns a PR of 27:03.24.

            Imane Merga, 27, is also a medalist from Ethiopia with a silver in the 2011 Daegu World Championships.  He is the third-fastest in the field at 26:48.35, finishing second to Farah in the 2011 Pre Classic, and was also runner-up in the 2013 Pre Classic (to Kenenisa Bekele).  Merga won the 2011 World Cross Country title and was second in 2013.
 
            Josphat Kipkoech Bett, 25, of Kenya has run three of his four fastest 10k races at Hayward Field, topped by 26:48.99 in 2011.  The only non-Pre in his top 4 came in winning the 2008 World Junior Championships.  Bett was ranked No. 3 in the world in 2014 by Track & Field News after a summer that included the Kenyan national title, a silver at the Commonwealth Games, and a bronze at the African Championships.

            Kenya’s Emmanuel Kipkemei Bett, 33, is the highest-finishing returner from another famous Pre Classic 10k – in 2012, when Kenya’s 15 best were the only entrants to decide its Olympic team.  There were no pacers, no lapped runners, and no one dropped out in a fast, thrilling race.  Bett finished 4th, missing the Olympics by 2 seconds.  Later that summer, he ran his PR 26:51.16, the world’s fastest that year.  This will be his sixth Pre Classic, 5th in the 10k and all of his previous were sub-27:30.

            Stephen Sambu, 27, of Kenya is a former NCAA runner-up while at Arizona who set his PR 26:54.61 in the 2014 Pre Classic.

            Leonard Barsoton, 21, of Kenya will be running his first race in U.S.  He was 5th in last year’s World Cross Country Championships and won the 2014 African cross country title.  In 2013 he was Junior silver medalist at the World Cross Country Championships.  His 10k best is 27:20.74.
 
            American Chris Derrick, 25, is one of just six cross country runners with four Top-10 NCAA finishes (the first was Steve Prefontaine).  He is a two-time U.S. cross country champion.  In 2009, Derrick broke a 44-year-old American Junior 5k best held by the amazing Gerry Lindgren.  The Stanford grad is the fastest American collegian ever in the 10k at 27:31.38, set in 2012 and still his PR.

            Eric Jenkins, 24, of the U.S. won two NCAA titles for Oregon last year.  His 10k PR of 28:59.13 was set as the runner-up in last year’s NCAA.  With a 5k best of 13:07.33, Jenkins is eager for a fast 10k.
 

America’s Best Women Seek to Break 2 Minutes in USATF 800 Meters

 
            A loaded field of Americans is looking to record the year’s first sub-2:00 in the USATF Hi-Performance women’s 800 meters.  While 7 in the field of 9 are knocking on the 2-minute door, five have lifetime bests under that barrier.  The fastest is Alysia Montano, 30, at 1:57.34 and a five-time U.S. champ and finalist at the 2012 London Olympics and the 2013 and 2011 World Championships, where she finished in 4th place twice.  Chanelle Price, 25, was the 2014 World Indoor gold medalist and owns a best of 1:59.10.  Laura Roesler, 24, was a finalist at the World Indoor Championships in Portland and is a former NCAA champ for Oregon with a best of 1:59.04.

            Kate Grace, 27, is the fastest American this year at 2:00.05 and has a PR of 1:59.47; last week she lowered her 1500 best to 4:05.65.  Molly Ludlow, 25, has the second-fastest PR of the field at 1:58.68.  Others scheduled to toe the line are Crishuna Williams (2:00.58), Charlene Lipsey (2:00.60), McKayla Fricker (2:00.81), and Stephanie Brown (2:02.88).
 

Slagowski and Tamagno Spice Up National Mile

 
            Two more high school stars are looking to run a sub-4 mile at the Pre Classic, joining Drew Hunter, who will compete in the Bowerman Mile.  Earlier Saturday afternoon two more prep stars will compete in the National Mile alongside a superb field that includes Olympians Leo Manzano and Andrew Wheating

            Michael Slagowski, a senior from Idaho, joined Hunter as the only sub-4 preps this year (and two of nine ever) with a 3:59.53 in Portland in late April.  He is also the fastest prep 800 runner this year at 1:48.36.  Austin Tamagno, a senior from southern California, decided to bypass defending his state title, instead jumping into the 1500 meters at last week in Eagle Rock, Calif., running a 3:44.44 that is roughly equivalent to a 4:02 mile.


Schippers Anchors Incredible Pre Classic Women's 200 

             
            Eugene, Oregon – The Prefontaine Classic has one of its best catches in the women’s 200 meters – the World Champion--and its best and most unique half-lap field in history.

            It is a dream matchup that a year ago would never have made world headlines.  But now a medal-winning heptathlete will race a first-time Jamaican world ranker and an American whose fastest time came in lane 1 at Hayward Field.  It will be their first collective meeting at any Olympic distance, as each is prime double material in the 100 meters in Rio as well.  Can it but help that all three have already clocked world-leading times?
 
            The world has rarely seen an athlete quite like Dafne Schippers, 23, of the Netherlands.  A blossoming world-class sprinter and bronze-medal heptathlete at the 2013 World Championships, she struggled to choose between the two event areas. Last year she finally made a choice that affected both events – to the delight of heptathletes and the horror to her sprint competitors.

            It was a magical decision.  Last August in Beijing, Schippers scorched the tracks in a manner rarely seen, winning gold in the 200 meters at the World Championships after a silver in the 100 with eye-opening times of 21.63 and 10.81.  The half-lap mark has only been bettered at low altitude by world record holder Florence Griffith Joyner – in 1988, four years before Schippers was born.  This year Schippers has the early world 200 lead at 22.02 (her second-fastest ever) and a near-PR 10.83 in the 100.
 
            Jamaican Elaine Thompson, 23, had her first world-class season last year, earning the silver medal at Beijing a few eyelashes behind Schippers.  Her time of 21.66 was nearly a half-second PR and rocketed her to the No. 2 Jamaican ever, 0.02 seconds behind legendary Merlene Ottey.  Last year at the Pre Classic, she lost by a literal eyelash in the International 100 in 10.84 (her only loss of the year at the distance).  Thompson has the fastest all-conditions 100 this year with a wind-aided 10.71 and this will be her 2016 debut in the 200.
 
            Tori Bowie, 25, has been the highest-ranking American in the 100 the last two years and has the early 2016 world lead at 10.80, winning the Doha Diamond League meet over Schippers.  She is undefeated outdoors in all distances, her only 200 race in early April at 22.26.  Bowie shocked the world with a world-leading 22.18 to win the 2014 Pre Classic 200 out of lane 1 in the meet’s fastest time since 1999.  Bowie is also a former NCAA indoor and outdoor long jump champion from Southern Mississippi.  Her last long jump also came at the 2014 Pre Classic, and she owns a best of 22-9¾ (6.95).
 
            Jenna Prandini, 23, will return to Hayward Field for the first time since winning last year’s U.S. title with her PR 22.20.  She will be welcomed to the track that was her home while winning three individual NCAA titles in the long jump and 100.  Prandini was a prime member of three national championship teams at Oregon, and her lifetime bests in the 100 (10.92) and long jump (22-3¾/6.80) were also set at Hayward Field.

            American Candyce McGrone, 27, nearly joined the sub-22 club with her 22.01 at last summer’s World Championships, finishing 4th in her first major final.  She is a former NCAA champion from Oklahoma who ran her fastest last year in the U.S. Championships at Hayward Field – 11.00 in the heats before a wind-aided 10.91 in the semifinals.

            Kaylin Whitney is just 18 and returning to the site where she ran her fastest in the 200 and 100.  The Florida prodigy won the World Junior Championships in 2014 a few weeks after a national high school record in the 100 at the U.S. Junior Championships.  She lowered her 200 best to 22.47 last year at the U.S. Championships, just 0.03 seconds from making the World Championships team.  Whitney won the Pan-American Games gold in Toronto last summer.

            Kimberlyn Duncan, 24, is the field’s most prolific world ranker, making the Track & Field News top 10 in 2012-14.  The 2013 U.S. champion won The Bowerman Award as the nation’s top collegian in 2012 while at LSU.

            American Joanna Atkins, 27, has the best range in the field as a former NCAA 400-meter champion while at Auburn, running 50.39.  She is also nearly a member of the sub-11 club with a 100 best of 11.02 in 2014, the same year she ran her best 200s of 22.27 and a wind-aided 22.19.

Women’s 200 MetersPersonal Best
Dafne Schippers (Netherlands)21.63 
Elaine Thompson (Jamaica)21.66 
Candyce McGrone (USA)22.01 
Torie Bowie (USA)22.18 
Kimberlyn Duncan (USA)22.19 
Jenna Prandini (USA)22.20 
Joanna Atkins (USA)22.27 
Kaylin Whitney (USA)22.47 

18-year old Kejelcha to Defend Pre Classic 5K Title  

           Eugene, Oregon – Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha will return to the Prefontaine Classic as the youngest winner by far of the men’s 5000 meters, the favorite racing distance of Steve Prefontaine.  And like Pre, Kejelcha is aiming for Olympic gold.


            The Pre Classic 5K will once again feature a clash of the best from Ethiopia, Kenya, and the U.S. dominating a road to the Rio Olympics where only three from any country can qualify.
 
            At 18, Yomif Kejelcha has already raced to unprecedented history.  At 16, he was the youngest winner ever in this event at the World Junior Championships in 2014, held at Hayward Field.  Last year’s victory made him the Pre Classic’s youngest 5K winner by four years and foreshadowed two more victories at IAAF Diamond League meets as he won the overall Diamond Race, once again the youngest ever.

            Kejelcha was 4th in last year’s World Championships in Beijing, the only time yet he has lost to more than one person in a race.  He ended the year with the world’s fastest time at 12:53.98 and this year already has a major gold medal, winning the 3K at the World Indoor Championships in Portland.

            Hagos Gebrhiwet, 21, is also at the top of Ethiopia’s incredibly deep list of the world’s best.  He edged ahead of Kejelcha in a back-and-forth duel on the homestretch to capture bronze in last year’s World Championships.  Two years earlier, Gebrhiwet displayed another memorable homestretch to earn silver in the 2013 World Championships, the best finish by an Ethiopian since world record holder Kenenisa Bekele won his last gold in 2009.

            Prior to Kejelcha, Yenew Alamirew, 25, was Ethiopia’s top-ranked runner, earning No. 2 in the world by Track & Field News in 2014 and 2013.  He finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively, at the Pre Classic those years.  In 2013, Alamirew won the Diamond  Race in this event.
 
            Kenyan runners have won the Pre Classic 5K more times (10) than any other country has in the last 20 years, and two of those Kenyans are the most recent champions preceding Kejelcha.

            Caleb Ndiku, 23, earned the silver medal in last summer’s World Championships in Beijing.  He won the Pre Classic 5K in 2014, the year he also won the IAAF Diamond League title.  In his first Pre Classic appearance in 2011, Ndiku joined the sub-3:50 club with a 3:49.77 in the Bowerman Mile.  It is still his fastest mile ever.

            Edwin Soi, 30, has the best set of finishes of anyone in the last three Pre Classic 5Ks – 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.  He is the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist seeking a third berth on the Kenyan Olympic team, having also made the 2012 squad.  Soi was a finalist in the last two World Championships and has been world ranked by T&FN among the world's top 10 eight times since 2006.

            Thomas Longosiwa, 34, matched Soi’s Olympic bronze in this event in a wild finish at London and then just missed a medal in a similar sprint at the 2013 Moscow World Championships, taking 4th in a 3-4-5 Kenyan finish.  He did not earn a spot on the Kenyan World Championships team for Beijing, but finished as the top Kenyan in last year’s T&FN world rankings – at No. 4, matching his highest.

            Isiah Koech, 22, is the only Kenyan 5K runner on the last three Olympic/World Championships Kenyan teams, topped by a bronze medal finish as a 20-year-old in the 2013 Moscow World Championships.  At age 19 in 2012, Koech was the youngest before Kejelcha last year to win the Diamond League title in this event.

            Geoffrey Kamworor, 23, will make his Pre Classic debut at 5K a major event.  He is best known for two gold medals at the World Half-Marathon Championships (this year and in ’14) as well as another at last year’s World Cross Country Championships.  On the track, he is the silver medalist in the 10K from last year’s Beijing World Championships.  Kamworor has displayed incredible range – PRing in last year’s Pre Classic 10K at 26:52.65, then two weeks later running a lifetime best in the 1500 of 3:40.7 at an altitude of some 5500+ feet (over 1700 meters).
 
            American Ben True, 30, is a Dartmouth grad who was world ranked last year No. 6 by T&FN.  That ranking matched his finish at last year’s World Championships as well as in the 2013 World Cross Country Championships.  True completed a difficult double at last year’s U.S. championships, finishing 2nd in both the 5K and 10K.

            Ryan Hill, 26, earned the silver medal in the 3k at the recent World Indoor Championships at Portland.  He has won every U.S. title he’s run since last year indoors, collecting three in total.  Hill has made the final of the last two 5K World Championships, both with fellow Americans Rupp and Bernard Lagat.
 
            Bernard Lagat, 41, will be competing in his 16th (yes, sixteenth) Prefontaine Classic.  He has carved a major slice of Pre Classic history. Lagat owns more Pre Classic titles at men’s distances above 1500 meters (5) than anyone except steeplechase Hall of Famer Henry Marsh (7).  He is the only American to win major world golds in the 1500 and 5k in the same year (2007).  Lagat won his seventh U.S. 5k crown in 2014, giving him the most in history.  His Masters recordbook contains references to some of the sport’s most iconic personalities:

  • Mile indoor WR 3:54.91 (breaking Eamonn Coghlan’s 20-year-old mark by over 3 seconds).
  • 5K WR 13:14.97 (breaking previous best by over 30 seconds, accomplished at the 2015 Prefontaine Classic).
  • 10km road WR 27:48 (breaking Haile Gebrselassie’s 2013 best by 12 seconds).           
            The incredibly deep field also includes Kenyan Paul Tanui, a two-time 10k World Championships silver medalist from 2015 & ’13, whose three fastest 10k performances have come at Hayward Field.

            Others prepared to challenge include Canadian Cameron Levins,  Americans Chris Derrick (3-time U.S. cross crounty champ), Eric Jenkins (2-time NCAA champ at Oregon), Hassan Mead (multiple Big 10 champ), and Paul Chelimo (2-time NCAA runner-up at North Carolina Greensboro).

            It’s possible the field will also have local favorite Galen Rupp, the American Olympic 10K silver medalist from London.  Rupp, who won the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in February, is committed to running at the Pre Classic, but the distance has yet to be decided.

Men’s 5000 MetersPersonal Best
Hagos Gebrhiwet (Ethiopia)12:47.53 
Isiah Koech (Kenya)12:48.64 
Yenew Alamirew (Ethiopia)12:48.77 
Thomas Longosiwa (Kenya)12:49.04 
Edwin Soi (Kenya)12:51.34 
Albert Rop (Bahrain)12:51.96 
Bernard Lagat (USA)12:53.60 
Yomif Kejelcha (Ethiopia)12:53.98 
Paul Tanui (Kenya)12:58.69 
Caleb Ndiku (Kenya)12:59.17 
Ali Kaya (Turkey)13:00.31 
Ben True (USA)13:02.74 
Hassan Mead (USA)13:02.80 
Ryan Hill (USA)13:05.69 
Eric Jenkins (USA)13:07.33 
Chris Derrick (USA)13:08.04 
Yasin Haji (Ethiopia)13:10.67 
Geoffrey Kamworor (Kenya)13:12.23 
Othmane El Goumri (Morocco)13:13.72 
Cameron Levins (Canada)13:15.19 
Paul Chelimo (USA)13:21.89 
Joshua Cheptagei (Uganda)13:28.50 


Genzebe Dibaba Leads Stunning Pre Classic Women's 5K  
 

            Eugene, Oregon – Genzebe Dibaba will defend her Prefontaine Classic women’s 5000-meter title in an incredible field that may be the meet’s best ever – in any event.

            Dibaba, the reigning Woman of the Year by Track & Field News, will be joined by the last distance runner to hold that title, Vivian Cheruiyot in 2011.  Both won gold last year in Beijing, and they are among eight in the field who have won gold medals at distances ranging from the 1500 to 10k.  It is a race featuring deep contingents from Ethiopia and Kenya, who are set to battle again for world distance supremacy at the Rio Olympics.

            And those fortunate to find a seat for Friday’s Distance Night in Eugene at Hayward Field will witness it for free, thanks to title sponsor Nike.
 
            Genzebe Dibaba, 25, of Ethiopia rocks every race she runs.  She often leaves pacesetters outdistanced, as she did last year on a perfectly warm afternoon in last year’s Pre Classic 5k, running by herself to set an outdoor PR and meet record 14:19.76, more than 10 seconds faster than her nearest pursuer and the fastest ever seen at Hayward Field.  It was just one of many gems in her racing career that includes setting the world 1500-meter record last July at 3:50.07, breaking an “unbreakable” mark that had stood for 35 years.

            Dibaba enters the Pre Classic undefeated for the second straight year.  She also has a perfect record in the state of Oregon, after winning gold in Portland at the World Indoor 3k in March.  It was her fourth career major gold, adding to titles begun in 2012 at the World Indoor 1500 at age 21.  She won her first world title in cross-country at age 17 in the first of two World Junior crowns in 2008.

            Genzebe is not the only Dibaba family member to be T&FN Woman of the Year or to appear at the Pre Classic.  Her older sister, Tirunesh, earned the same title in 2008.  Tirunesh also has a magical history at the Pre Classic, never losing in three races – twice in the 5k and once in the only women’s 10k held, in 2012.  Neither Dibaba sister has ever lost at Pre.
 
            Vivian Cheruiyot, 32, of Kenya refuses to give up.  The 2011 T&FN Woman of the Year won gold for the first time since that miraculous season in last year’s 10k at the Beijing World Championships, matching her title in 2011 when she also captured the 5k gold.  After taking silver (5k) and bronze (10k) at the 2012 London Olympics, the only interruption in her progress came in 2013 & ‘14, when she sat out (the latter year due to maternity).  Cheruiyot has more major golds (5) than anyone in the field, even Genzebe Dibaba (4).

            Cheruiyot is the Kenyan record holder and the only runner with more than one IAAF Diamond League title in this event (winning the first three in 2010-12).  She is the most recent woman with a world cross-country title and a World or Olympic title, as she claimed the 2011 global harrier crown.  Her first glory was in cross-country, winning the World Junior title in 2000 – later that year she made her first Olympic team at age 16.  Cheruiyot has won twice in four races at the Pre Classic.
 
            Gelete Burka, 30, of Ethiopia made a major leap in distance last year, taking on the 10k for the first time.  It was a huge success as she twice ran world-leading marks before finally losing with the silver medal to Cheruyiot at Beijing last August.  For Burka, it was her first track medal at any distance above 1500 meters, in which she has a gold medal (2008) and a pair of bronzes (2010 & ’12) at the World Indoor.  She can claim the most Pre Classic titles of anyone in the field with four in the 1500, including the meet’s first sub-4:00 effort in 2009.
 
            Kenya’s Viola Kibiwot, 32, has made her country’s Olympic or World Outdoor team every time since she was 23 in 2007, all in the 1500 until 2012 when her focus shifted to the 5k.  Her success since the move has resulted in three straight finals, always in the thick of races dominated by Kenya and Ethiopia and with the last two finishing just out of the medals (4th in Beijing last year after a 4th in 2013 at Moscow).  Kibiwot is a former World Junior 1500 champ (2002) and also twice won gold in the World Junior cross-country (2001-02).
 
            Mercy Cherono, 25, is Kenya’s last woman to medal in a major 5k, earning silver as a 22-year-old at the 2013 Moscow World Championships.  She was 5th in her other major 5k races (last year’s Beijing Worlds and the 2011 Worlds in Daegu).  She is the only runner to make the T&FN world rankings in the 5k in each of the last five years (and no lower than No. 7).  Cherono is a two-time World Junior 3k champ who last year broke a four-year-old PR to take second in the Pre Classic 1500 to American Jenny Simpson.

            Switching from the 1500 is Hellen Obiri, 26, the Hayward Field recordholder at that distance in 3:57.05, courtesy of her second straight Pre Classic meet record in 2014.  After taking last year off for maternity, Obiri ran a lifetime best in the 5k of 15:28.5 at some 6000 feet (almost 2000 meters) above sea-level.  She has since improved that to 15:21.8, again at high altitude, winning by almost 20 seconds. A gold and silver medalist indoors at 3k, Obiri has stamped herself as the darkhorse pick in this race, running 3:59.34 in the Shanghai Diamond League meet last Saturday.

            Molly Huddle, 31, is the best American in the field.  She owns the two fastest times ever by an American and has ranked as the top U.S. runner in three of the last four years by T&FN (the other year she was No. 2).  Huddle has shown much evidence of moving up, including her 4th-place finish in the Beijing World Championships 10k where another American, Emily Infeld, outleaned her at the finish for the bronze.  She is the second fastest American ever on the track in the 10k (behind only Shalane Flanagan) and in March also became the second fastest ever in the half-marathon (behind just Deena Kastor), winning her second New York Half-Marathon at 67:41.

            Nicole Tully, 29, won her first U.S. titles last year, taking the 5k outdoors after the 2-mile indoors in her first finals since 2012, then in the 1500.  In her first year in the 5k, Tully made the Beijing World final and ranked as the No. 2 American last year byT&FN.  She has already lowered her 5k PR this year.

            Marielle Hall, 24, was the third U.S. member of the 5k team in last year’s Beijing World Championships in her first year after winning the NCAA 5k title for Texas.  This year, she has run faster than her runner-up finish in last year’s U.S. Championships and has added a new event with a 31:37.45 10k debut at Stanford’s Jordan Invitational, making her the early U.S. leader.

            Kim Conley, 30, was a member of the U.S. team in the 2012 London Olympics and 2013 Moscow World Championships in the 5k, but her only U.S. titles are in the 10k (2014) and the half-marathon (2015).  She missed most of last year’s track season but in December clocked a 31:58.54 track 10k and this year has two of her four fastest 5k times.
 
            Sally Kipyego, 30, of Kenya has trained for more than the last half-decade in Eugene.  During that time the Kenyan native has earned Olympic (2012) and World (2011) silver medals in the 10k and ranked all but one year by T&FN in the 5k or 10k (or both).  Prior to her move to the Pacific northwest, Kipyego won eight NCAA titles in track and cross-country for Texas Tech.  She is Kenya’s second fastest ever at 5k and 10k and owns the Pre Classic 3k meet record.

            Alemitu Haroye of Ethiopia is just 21 but has already twice ranked among the world’s top 10 in this event by T&FN, earning No. 7 last year after a debut at No. 10 in 2014.  In her first year in the 10k, she finished 7th  at the Beijing World Championships, earning a No. 9 T&FN ranking in that event as well last year.  Earlier in 2015, at age 19, she finished 4th in the World Cross-Country Championships.  In 2014, she won gold at the World Junior Championships 5k in Eugene.

            Irene Cheptai, 24, of Kenya was 7th in last year’s Beijing World Championships 5k as well as last year’s World cross-country championships.  Earlier this month, she won the 10k at Stanford’s Jordan Invitational in 31:15.38, her first attempt at the distance.

            Betsy Saina, 27, is another Kenyan who trains in Oregon.  Like Kipyego, she amassed a complete collection of NCAA titles, winning three while at Iowa State, one each indoors, outdoors, and in cross-country.  She had her best-ever international finishes in last year’s Beijing World Championships 10k (8th) and March’s World Indoor 3k at Portland (7th).

            Mimi Belete, 27, and Betlhem Desalegn, 24, are Olympians who were born in Ethiopia but after 2008 began competing for new countries.  Belete’s best year in the 5k was last year, when she made the Beijing Worlds final for Bahrain.  In 2011, she made the final in the 1500 at Daegu, finishing 7th.  Desalegn now represents the United Arab Emirates and has twice made the final of the World Indoor 3k (8th in Portland after 6th in 2014).

            Newly-minted Greek Alexi Pappas, 26, has set personal bests at the 3k indoors and 10k outdoors, and will try to add the 5k to that list. The former Oregon runner has also had success on the roads in 2016, at distances from 5k to 15k.

            Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh, 25, ran the 10k for her country at the Moscow World Championships and most recently won the Adana Half Marathon in Turkey.

            That makes eight gold medalists and six in the field (Dibaba, Cheruiyot, Burka, Cherono, Kipyego, and Obiri) have set Pre Classic meet records, which in itself must be a record!
 

Women’s 5000 MetersPersonal Best
Genzebe Dibaba (Ethiopia)14:15.41 
Vivian Cheruiyot (Kenya)14:20.87 
Sally Kipyego (Kenya)14:30.42 
Gelete Burka (Ethiopia)14:31.20 
Viola Kibiwot (Kenya)14:33.48 
Mercy Cherono (Kenya)14:34.10 
Betsy Saina (Kenya)14:39.49 
Molly Huddle (USA)14:42.64 
Alemitu Haroye (Ethiopia)14:43.28 
Irene Cheptai (Kenya)14:50.99 
Mimi Belete (Bahrain)14:54.71 
Nicole Tully (USA)15:04.08 
Marielle Hall (USA)15:06.05 
Kim Conley (USA)15:08.61 
Betlhem Desalegn (United Arab Emirates)15:12.84 
Ababel Yeshaneh (Ethiopia)15:17.05 
Hellen Obiri (Kenya)15:21.8h 
Alexi Pappas (Greece)15:28.38


Big-Time Women's Steeple Talent Set for Pre Classic 

             
            Eugene, Oregon – The Prefontaine Classic women’s steeplechase is a major stop on the road to the Rio Olympics, even for talented Kenyans, Ethiopians and the fastest American in history.

            This year’s Pre Classic race will be its deepest ever, as both the reigning world champion and IAAF Diamond League winner are among 7 of the top 9 runners in the Track & Field News world rankings.  All nine will run together for the first time anywhere since 2014, when one of them served as a pacesetter.

            History has shown the Pre Classic women’s steeple is always a fast race, especially the last two editions in 2014 and 2012, when the winner ran the fastest time ever recorded on U.S. soil, now at 9:11.39.  Depending upon race strategies, the field is more than deep enough to surpass the three sub-9:20 times accomplished in 2012 and 2014.
 
            Reigning world champion Hyvin Kiyeng, 24, of Kenya started this year faster than she has ever run, winning the Shanghai Diamond League meet in a personal best 9:07.42, nearly a national record and the fastest ever run before June.  The Kenyan record of 9:07.14 is held by Milcah Chemos, winner of the first two Pre Classic women’s steeples in 2010 and ’12, as well as the first four Diamond League titles (2010-14).

            Kiyeng, who is better known internationally by the last name Jepkemoi, will be running in the U.S. for the first time. She first gained global notice in 2012 when she came out of nowhere to compile an impressive season and rank No. 9 in the world byT&FN.  She has improved every year since and is one of four of Kenya’s nine fastest all-time racing in the Pre Classic.
 
            Virginia Nyambura, 22, is by far the youngest Diamond League winner in this event, taking the title last year at age 21 in dramatic fashion.  The Kenyan had much study material.  The 2010 Youth Olympic gold medalist in the 2000-meter steeple caught the eye of many meet directors and became the pacesetter of choice during the 2013 and 2014 seasons, pacing half the Diamond League meets to eventual sub-9:20 winners.

            In 2015, the pacesetter vest came off and Nyambura fired an immediate 35-second PR 9:21.51 in the Doha Diamond League meet, beating many she had paced the two seasons before.  In the summer she lowered her best to 9:13.85, then lost a thrilling Kenyan World Championships Trials to Kiyeng as both ran 9:33 at high altitude.  She finished the year at No. 3 in the T&FNworld rankings – her first ever world ranking.  This will be Niyambura’s first race in the U.S.
 
            Defending Pre Classic winner Sofia Assefa, 28, is the Ethiopian record holder and the only runner to make the T&FN Top 10 world rankings in each year since 2009, all but once as the top Ethiopian and all but once in the top 5.  She was the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist in London and repeated that honor in Moscow at the 2013 World Championships.  Assefa is the only runner to compete in all three Pre Classic women’s steeples, and her record is pretty stout – two 2nd-place finishes (2010, 2012) and a still-standing meet and U.S. All-Comers record in 2014.
 
            Emma Coburn, 25, is the dominant American steepler, owning 9 of the fastest 10 times by an American topped by 9:11.42.  She displayed dominance last year at Hayward Field in winning her record fourth U.S. title, running a world-class 9:15.59 to win by over 7 seconds.  Coburn has PRed in all three of her previous appearances at the Pre Classic, last year in the 1500 (4:05.10) after the steeple in 2014 and 2012.

            Coburn ranked No. 2 in the world in 2014 and last year was in the lead on the bell lap in the World Championships in Beijing.  In a frantic finish and despite appearing to be cut off, she finished 5th, equaling the best by an American since her training partner, Jenny Simpson, was 5th in 2009.  She ranked No. 7 in the world last year by T&FN.
 
            Gesa-Felicitas Krause, 23, of Germany was bronze medalist in last year’s World Championships, setting her PR of 9:19.25.  She won her first national title last year and ranked No. 6 in the world by T&FN.  Krause has made every Olympic or World Championships final since 2011, when she was 19.
 
            Lidya Chepkurui, 31, of Kenya is the silver medalist from the 2013 Moscow World Championships and ranked No. 2 in the world that year by T&FN.  She is the third runner in the field to rank that high, joining Kiyeng (2015) and Coburn (2014).

            Purity Kirui, 24, of Kenya won the All-Africa Games last year and in 2010 was World Junior gold medalist.  She has world ranked in each of the last three years.
            The fifth Kenyan in the field is Beatrice Chepkoech, 24.  Last year she won the All-Africa Games 1500 after earlier setting a PR of 4:03.28, fastest in this field.  In early April she ran her first 3k steeple in five years, clocking 9:41.1 at high altitude.
 
            Two runners who represent Bahrain are the youngest in the field.  Tigest Getent, 18, was born in Ethiopia and won Ethiopian titles in 2014 and 2015 at ages 16 and 17.  Ruth Jebet, 19, was born in Kenya.  She won the 2014 World Junior Championships in Eugene and was a finalist in the World Championships in Beijing last summer.
 
            American Ashley Higginson, 27, is a former All-American from Princeton who won the Pan-American Games last summer in Toronto.  She is a two-time U.S. runner-up who made the U.S. team for the 2013 Moscow World Championships.

            Leah O’Connor, 23, is a former NCAA champion while at Michigan State in the steeple and indoor mile.  She ran her fastest in her first U.S. Championships at Hayward Field.

            Genevieve Lalonde, 24, was the Pan-American Games bronze medalist for Canada in Toronto last summer.
 

Women’s 3000m SteeplechasePersonal Best
Hyvin Kiyeng (Kenya)9:07.42 
Sofia Assefa (Ethiopia)9:09.00 
Emma Coburn (USA)9:11.42 
Lidya Chepkurui (Kenya)9:12.55 
Virginia Nyambura (Kenya)9:13.85 
Ruth Jebet (Bahrain)9:15.98 
Purity Kirui (Kenya)9:17.74 
Gesa-Felicitas Krause (Germany)9:19.25 
Tigest Getent (Bahrain)9:20.65 
Ashley Higginson (USA)9:27.59 
Leah O’Connor (USA)9:31.03 
Genevieve Lalonde (Canada)9:35.69 
Beatrice Chepkoech (Kenya)9:41.1h 


Perkovic Ready for Long Throws in Pre Classic Women's Discus 

             
            Eugene, Oregon – Sandra Perkovic, the world’s best women’s discus thrower this century, will return to the Prefontaine Classic on the verge of Olympic history.

            Hayward Field has seen few with the dominance of Perkovic, the reigning Olympic gold medalist returning to a ring where she has thrown more than 10 feet (almost 4 meters) farther than anyone else.

            The Pre Classic has an imposing world-class field that includes the three best Germans and two best Americans, all hoping to challenge Perkovic.

Sandra Perkovic is 25 and a member of Croatia’s Parliament, but globally she is known for throwing the discus better than anyone.  She was ranked No. 1 in the world last year by Track & Field News for the fourth straight time. A win in the Rio Olympics will make Perkovic only the second woman with two gold medals in the discus, matching East Germany’s Evelin Jahl, who won in 1976 and 1980.

Perkovic is well on her way, already this year recording the second and third best meets of her life, including an IAAF Diamond League record of 232-6 (70.88) last week at Shanghai.  A two-time Pre Classic winner, Perkovic has the four longest efforts ever recorded at Hayward Field from her victories in 2012 and ’14.  She has won the last four IAAF Diamond League titles.
 
The best trio of Germans seen at the Pre Classic also represents every German national title since the 2008 Olympics.  Each competed at the 2014 Pre Classic, but since then two have made the T&FN world rankings for the first time.

Nadine Muller, 30, is the farthest throwing German at 226-0 (68.89).  She was the bronze medalist in last summer’s World Championships and has a silver from 2011.  Muller has been the top-ranked German by T&FN in all but one of the last seven years and is a five-time German champ.

Julia Fischer (2015) and Shanice Craft (2014) are the last two German champions.  Fischer, 26, is a former World Youth gold medalist (2007), while Craft, 23, won the 2010 Youth Olympic Games as well as the shot put in the 2012 World Junior Championships.
 
American record holder Gia Lewis-Smallwood, 37, has ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in the world two of the last three years by T&FN.  She is the only American with more than one throw over 220 feet (67.06) and has three. Lewis-Smallwood is the three-time defending national champion seeking her second Olympic team.

Whitney Ashley, 27, is looking for her first U.S. Olympic team.  She won the NCAA title for San Diego State in 2012 and at 9th was the highest-finishing American at the World Championships in Beijing last year.

Melina Robert-Michon, 36, of France is seeking her fifth Olympic team.  She won silver at the 2013 World Championships and has French national titles dating to 2000, 14 in all.  Great Britain’s Jade Lally, 29, is a four-time British champ who won the 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medal.

Women’s DiscusPersonal Best
Sandra Perkovic (Croatia)233-2(71.08)
Gia Lewis-Smallwood (USA)226-11(69.17)
Nadine Muller (Germany)226-0(68.89)
Julia Fischer (Germany)218-5(66.59)
Melina Robert-Michon (France)217-5(66.28)
Shanice Craft (Germany)216-2(65.88)
Jade Lally (Great Britain)213-7(65.10)
Whitney Ashley (USA)212-7(64.80)

Pre Classic Men's 110 Hurdles Ready to Cook Again 

             
            Eugene, Oregon – The men’s 110-meter hurdle field gives the Prefontaine Classic all the ingredients needed for another thrilling race as the heat is turning up in preparation for the Rio Olympics.

            The world record holder, reigning Olympic gold medalist, and five of the six IAAF Diamond League winners are included, and a newcomer adds a dash of excitement sure to spice things up.
 
            Omar McLeod, 22, of Jamaica is the hottest men’s hurdler on the planet.  He won his first gold medal at the World Indoor Championships in March, then opened up his outdoor campaign with a 9.99 100-meter win – the first known race of his career at the distance, making him history's only man under both the 10-second and 13-second barriers.  The former Arkansas star has won all of his three starts this outdoor season – Drake Relays and the Diamond League meets at Doha and Shanghai, the latter just a tick from his 12.97 PR.

            The amazing Aries Merritt, 30, is returning from a kidney transplant surgery just days after winning a bronze medal at last year’s World Championships in Beijing.  In 2012, he ended a 16-year U.S. Olympic gold medal drought by winning the London Olympics, and a month later became the first American since Roger Kingdom in 1989 to claim the world record, clocking 12.80 to win the IAAF Diamond League title.

            France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, 24, has won the last two Pre Classic titles in this event.  He was the toast of the world in 2014, winning the Diamond League title at age 22.  Martinot-Lagarde’s 12.95 in 2014 made France just the second nation with more than one sub-13 high hurdler.  Martinot-Lagarde finished just out of the medals in last year’s Beijing World Championships.

            American David Oliver, 34, is a three-time winner of the Diamond League – 2010, 2013, and 2015.  He was ranked No. 2 in the world last year by T&FN, his 11th straight year in the top 10.  Oliver is a two-time Pre Classic winner, and his 2010 victory in 12.90 is still the meet record.

            Hansle Parchment, 25, is the Jamaican record holder and the first from his nation to run sub-13.  He was second to Martinot-Lagarde in 2014 after posting a stunning 2013 Pre Classic victory.  He was 22 when he earned the Olympic bronze medal in 2012, the first Olympic medal for Jamaica in this event.

            American Jarret Eaton, 26, is in the midst of his best year ever.  A former NCAA Indoor champion while at Syracuse, Eaton won his first U.S. title indoors in Portland in March, then missed a medal by 0.02 seconds at the World Indoor Championships, also in Portland.  Last week he lowered his PR to 13.25, scoring victory at the Golden Spikes meet in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

            Jeff Porter, 30, runnerup to Eaton in the Ostrava race, has proven to be one of the most consistent American hurdlers, ranking in the U.S. top 10 by Track & Field News the past 5 years. A 2012 Olympian, Porter hopes to catch lightning in a bottle once again for Rio.

            Johnathan Cabral, 23, is well known in Eugene, runner-up for Oregon in the NCAA last year in a wind-aided 13.22.  He ran a legal best 13.37 in the semis at at the World Championships in Beijing last summer, nearly making the final.  This year he improved to 13.35 with a win at the Mt. SAC Relays in April.
           
 
 

Men’s 110-Meter HurdlesPersonal Best
Aries Merritt (USA)12.80 
David Oliver (USA)12.89 
Hansle Parchment (Jamaica)12.94 
Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (France)12.95 
Omar McLeod (Jamaica)12.97 
Jeff Porter (USA)13.08 
Jarret Eaton (USA)13.25 
Johnathan Cabral (Canada)13.35 


New Stars to Battle Experience in Dynamic Pre Classic 400 Hurdles 

 

            Eugene, Oregon – Two athletes who came out of nowhere to earn their first major medals will be surrounded by four multiple medalists in the Prefontaine Classic men's 400-meter hurdles.

            The race features athletes who collectively are five of the six IAAF Diamond League winners and own at least one individual medal from each Olympics and World Championships for the last decade, as well as eight No. 1 world rankings from Track & Field News.
 
            Kenya’s Nicholas Bett and Jeffery Gibson of the Bahamas will be the focus of many curious eyes, coming in as the gold and bronze medalists from last summer’s World Championships in Beijing.  Before last year, the best each had accomplished was a bronze medal:  Bett at the African Championships, Gibson at the Commonwealth Games.

            Bett, 26, was among the most unlikely of gold medalists.  He rocketed out of the blocks in lane 9 and held on for the win, lowering his PR by half a second to 47.79 with the victory.

            Gibson, 25, was third in Beijing, edging American Kerron Clement by 0.01 seconds. He had already collected gold last summer by winning the Pan-American Games.  While Bett will be making his debut on U.S. soil, Gibson has experienced success already at Hayward Field, running PRs twice in the NCAA Championships while at Oral Roberts (2011 regionals and 2013 final, taking 5th).
 
            Bershawn Jackson, 33, ran his best in 2015 in five years to rank No. 1 in the world by T&FN.  It was his third such ranking, matching 2010 and 2005.  Jackson – known also by his nickname Batman – won his fifth U.S. title last summer, matching Edwin Moses for the most in this event in the post-World War II era.  Jackson was not only fast enough in this event to win World gold (2005), but also to make gold medal-winning teams for the traditionally powerful U.S. 4x400 (2007 & 2011 Worlds, 2010 World Indoors).  He is the Pre Classic’s only two-time winner in this event (2005 & ’09) and won the overall Diamond League last year as well as in the 2010 inaugural year.
 
            Kerron Clement, 30, also ran his best last year since 2010, missing a medal at last summer’s World Championships by 0.01 seconds to Gibson.  His collection of three major medals is the best in the field, with golds in the 2007 and ’09 Worlds separated by Olympic silver in 2008.  Those came during a three-year stretch where Clement was ranked No. 1 in the world by T&FN – the longest by an American except for Edwin Moses, who had six from 1976-81.  In terms of pure speed, no one is faster than Clement – literally indoors, where his 44.57 set as a 19-year-old sophomore at Florida in 2005 remains the world record.  Outdoors he has run 44.48 and twice won gold medals on the U.S. 4x4 team (2007 & ’09 Worlds).
 
            American Michael Tinsley, 32, is another Diamond League winner, taking the 2014 title.  He was a tick away from having a gold of his own, being outleaned by Jehue Gordon at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow.  He also owns silver from the 2012 Olympics, where he first broke the 48-second barrier.  Tinsley was ranked No. 2 in the world by T&FN  in 2013 and ’14 and won his first national championship at Hayward Field in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.
 
            Javier Culson, 31, of Puerto Rico ranked No. 1 in the world in 2014 by T&FN as well as in 2012, the year he earned Olympic bronze – the first Olympic track medal for Puerto Rico.  Along with Jackson, Culson is a two-time Diamond League winner in this event (2012 & ’13) and is seeking his first major gold – he owns World silvers in 2009 & ’11.  He is the only one in the field to have run in the last two Olympics.
 
            Yasmani Copello, 29, was born in Cuba and is in his second full year of competing for Turkey, coincidentally the two best years of his career.  In 2015, he made the World Championships final, finishing 6th after setting his fourth national record of the year in the semifinals.  He opened this year’s campaign a second faster than last year.
 
            Kariem Hussein, 27, of Switzerland is the reigning European Championships gold medalist, winning in 2014 and ranking No. 4 in the world by T&FN.  Last year he ran his fastest yet, 48.45, winning the Swiss national championship for the fifth straight year.
 

Men’s 400-Meter HurdlesPersonal Best
Kerron Clement (USA)47.24 
Bershawn Jackson (USA)47.30 
Michael Tinsley (USA)47.70 
Javier Culson (Puerto Rico)47.72 
Nicholas Bett (Kenya)47.79 
Jeffery Gibson (Bahamas)48.17 
Kariem Hussein (Switzerland)48.45 
Yasmani Copello (Turkey)48.64 


3 preps running Pre miles

 Prefontaine Classic meet director Tom Jordan has always had a soft spot for high school milers on the cusp of glory and eager to take on the the sport's ultimate test. Fifteen years ago, Alan Webb of South Lakes VA got a chance to run in the Bowerman Mile against the world's best and delivered one of the touchstone moments in the history of high school track and field -- and the Prefontaine Classic."That particular event is my favorite of every event I've seen in my 33 years as the meet director," Jordan said. 

In 2016, two high school boys have broken four minutes for the mile and a third -- Austin Tamagno -- is on the verge of becoming the 10th all-time. This weekend at Hayward Field in Eugene, Andrew Hunter of Loudoun Valley VA is going to get the same opportunity that Webb had -- to run in the Bowerman mile against an Olympic final caliber field.A couple of hours earlier, in a secondary mile called the National Mile, Michael Slagowski of Rocky Mountain ID and Austin Tamagno of Brea Olinda CA will get a chance to go against a high quality group of pros that includes some of the top milers in the country, including Olympians Leo Manzano and Andrew Wheating.  "Weeks ago, Andrew set himself apart and earned entry into the Bowerman Mile," Jordan said. "The chance to race against Slagowski and Tamagno, we had offered him that option to run in the National mile. But he wanted to stay in the Bowerman."Hunter, it is believed, is preparing to chase Webb's all-time high school record of 3:53.43. He has run sub-four twice indoors in New York City. 

Slagowski became the ninth prep to go sub-four at the Jesuit Twilight Relays in Portland on April 29, going 3:59.53. In the past two days, he led his team to the Idaho Class 5A title by sweeping the 800, the 1,600 and the 3,200 in addition to running a leg on his team's 4x400 relay."I'm really excited for that," Slagowski said of the Pre Classsic. "I really haven't run a race with a lot of competition this year, other than indoor. I'm really looking forward to going and racing pros.""Obviously a PR would be nice, I know I'm in a little better shape than when I ran at Twilight Relays, so I think I should PR." 

Tamagno opted out of the CIF section and state finals in order to race at the Prefontaine Classic. His mile best is 4:03.21 but he ran 3:44.14 last Friday at the HOKA ONE ONE Middle Distance Classic at Occidental College in California.In 2015, Nike put on a high school boys and girls elite mile at Pre. Those races aren't happening this time, but three high school boys have the chance to do something special."Our rule of thumb is, we don't consider any prep who isn't capable of running four minutes," Jordan said. "With Drew it was a no-brainer. The guy is really talented. I don't know about 3:53, but he's certainly capable of running 3:55. My understanding is that he's going to the back of the pack and hug the rail and if he's that shrewd and that heady that gives him a chance to do something special."




Newcomers Challenge Gatlin, Veterans in Pre Classic 100  

(The 42nd Prefontaine Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 27-28 at historic Hayward Field.)
 

            Eugene, Oregon – Four former winners of the Prefontaine Classic 100 meters will be challenged by four relative newcomers to the world stage as all prepare for the most famous century race of them all – the Olympics!

            The four previous Pre Classic champions collectively have won five of the six IAAF Diamond League titles and 17 individual major medals, including seven golds, while the newcomers have but one medal, a bronze, and just one previous appearance at the Pre Classic.

            Still, the Pre Classic 100 figures to be a thriller as all but one has run sub-10 and the field includes the two fastest of the early season.
 
            Justin Gatlin, 34, had his fastest season ever in 2015, earning the No. 1 world ranking by Track & Field News for the second straight year – the first American to do so since Maurice Greene took four in a row in 1998-2001.  He narrowly lost the gold in Beijing at the World Championships in August in his only loss of the year at this distance.  Gatlin ran 9.78 or faster five times last year – the most by anyone in one season.

            Gatlin is the last American to win Olympic gold in this event, winning the 2004 Games in Athens and then the 100/200 double in the 2005 World Championships.  He has won the IAAF Diamond League each of the last three years.  Gatlin is a five-time Pre Classic winner – four in this event (including the meet’s fastest with a wind-aided 9.76w in 2014) and one in the 200 (last year with a meet record 19.68).
 
            Asafa Powell, 33, of Jamaica is the king of sub-10 clockings, amassing 100 of them (93 wind-allowable, 7 wind-aided).  He has had at least one every year beginning in 2004 (all sub-9.90, in fact) and is looking for his first of 2016 after an impressive 10.04 season-opener.  Along with Carl Lewis, Powell’s name appears the most on the world record progression, setting or tieing the WR four times.  A two-time former No. 1 by T&FN, he was ranked No. 4 last year – his highest since a No. 4 in 2012, the year he made his third-straight Olympic final.

            Powell is coming off his best individual performance in a major, earning silver at the World Indoor Championships in Portland in March, where he twice ran a Jamaican record 6.44 in the 60 meters.  He is the Pre Classic winner from 2006 and won the Diamond League trophy in 2011.
 
            Tyson Gay, 33, is the American record holder at 9.69 in 2009 and owns the fastest time ever seen at Hayward Field, a wind-aided 9.68 at the 2008 Olympic Trials.  He also holds the Hayward Field record, having run 9.77 in '08. He has set the American record three times, the most since Carl Lewis’ four in 1987-91.

            Gay won last year’s Pre Classic 100 and U.S. title in a season that saw him end up No. 3 in the T&FN world rankings – his only appearance since 2010, when he was No. 1 (matching 2007).  Winner of the first Diamond League title in 2010, Gay was inches behind Gatlin for the bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympics.  In 2007, Gay won World Championships gold medals in the 100 and 200.
 
            Mike Rodgers, 32, extended his streak of T&FN world rankings to seven last year – the most by an American since Maurice Greene’s eight in 1997-2004.  Rodgers is aiming for his first Olympics, missing joining Gatlin and Gay on the U.S. 2012 team by just 0.01 seconds.  He did, however, make the last two World Championships finals and in 2010 earned silver in the 60 at the World Indoor Championships.  Rodgers is the only American to run sub-10 in each year since 2009.
 
            Andre De Grasse, 21, of Canada moved to world class last year, winning the 100/200 double at the NCAA Championships for USC at Hayward Field with wind-aided times of 9.75 and 19.58.  He won double golds last July at the Pan-American Games, then delivered a jewel in August with a PR 9.92 to earn bronze in Beijing at the World Championships.  He finished the season with his first T&FN world rankings, No. 5 in the 100 and No. 6 in the 200 – the only other Canadian man to rank in both events in the same year was Oregon alum Harry Jerome, who did it three times in the 1960s.
 
            China’s Bingtian Su, 26, finished 3rd in last year’s Pre Classic, becoming the first from China to run sub-10 at 9.99.  It was a time he equaled in August in the semfinals at the World Championships in Beijing, qualifying him for the final to the crowd’s obvious delight.  He later ran on the silver medal 4x100 team.  This year indoors he set an Asian record 6.50 in the 60, making the final of the World Indoor Championships in Portland.
 
            Qatar’s Femi Ogunode, 25 is the world’s fastest this year at 9.91, equaling the Asian record he set last year when he ranked No. 9 in the world by T&FN.  He won the 100/200 double at last year’s Asian Championships after Asian Games doubles in 2010 (100/200) and 2014 (200/400).  His range includes PRs of 19.97 in the 200 and 45.12 in the 400.
 
            American Ameer Webb, 25, is a former NCAA 200 champ indoors and outdoors while at Texas A&M who has been the find of the early season.  He has run sub-20 twice with the fastest at 19.85 to win the Doha Diamond League meet.  In the 100, he has lowered his PR to 10.03, plus cracked the 10-second barrier at the Mt. SAC Relays with a wind-aided 9.90, equaling Gatlin for the fastest time of 2016 under any conditions.
 

Men’s 100 MetersPersonal Best
Tyson Gay (USA)9.69 
Asafa Powell (Jamaica)9.72 
Justin Gatlin (USA)9.74 
Mike Rodgers (USA)9.85 
Femi Ogunode (Qatar)9.91 
Andre De Grasse (Canada)9.92 
Bingtian Su (China)9.99 
Ameer Webb (USA)9.90w 

Venerable 400 Meet Record Under Threat at Pre Classic  

(The 42nd Prefontaine Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 27-28 at historic Hayward Field.)

            Eugene, Oregon – The men’s 400-meter rivalry between Kirani James and LaShawn Merritt will return to the Prefontaine Classic for a record fifth time, and after  sub-44 races the last two years, it’s possible one of the oldest records in meet history could take a tumble.

            The record in question is a venerable one, the 43.92 set by Michael Johnson in 2000 in his final race at Hayward Field in winning his second Pre Classic 400. The mark, made less than a year after he set the World Record of 43.18, stands as the second oldest men’s meet record.

            Both James and Merritt join Johnson as the only multiple Pre Classic winners in this event.  The field is its fastest ever, bolstered by a record five runners who have run sub-44.
 
            Kirani James, still only 23, is the two-time defending Pre Classic champion and is the only runner with more than one sub-44 clocking at the Pre Classic.  He won last year’s race at 43.95 after taking the 2014 title in 43.97, both over Merritt.  At the recent Drake Relays, James took the early world lead at 44.08 with a victory over Merritt to increase his career head-to-head lead to 11-7.

            The 2014 finish was the meet’s most exciting ever, as both James and Merritt finished with the same time of 43.97, then the fastest same-time finish in the event.  James had won their first matchup as an 18-year-old at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, defeating the then-reigning Olympic and World Championships gold medalist Merritt in a stirring homestretch battle.  The victory (by just 0.03 seconds) made James a national hero in his native Grenada.  A year later in London, James became the tiny island’s first Olympic gold medalist in any event.
 
            LaShawn Merritt, 29, owns as many Pre Classic 400 wins (4) as James and Johnson combined.  He also has four runner-up finishes – the lowest position he has ever placed at the Pre Classic.  Merritt is running faster than ever, clocking 19.78 in the 200 in Nassau last month to break an almost 9-year-old PR.  He lowered his 400 best to 43.65 in taking the silver at the Beijing World Championships last summer.

            Merritt is among America’s greatest 400-meter runners, as only Johnson has more major outdoor gold medals (six) than Merritt’s three (2008 Olympics, 2009 & 2013 Worlds).  He adds six more golds as part of U.S.4x400 teams.  Merritt’s four U.S. outdoor titles match Johnson for the most since Lee Evans’ five (1966-69, ‘72) and Lon Myers’ six (1879-84).

             Isaac Makwala, 29, made his first major final last year, taking 5th in the Beijing World Championships about a month after lowering his PR to 43.72 in the Swiss mountain town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, where a year earlier he set the world’s fastest-ever one-day double for 200 and 400 meters (19.96 and 44.01).  He is Botswana’s national record holder in the 100, 200 and 400 and set his low-altitude 400 best of 44.11 in last year’s semis at Beijing.  He won the All-Africa Games 400 last year, following two straight titles in the African Championships (2012 & ’14).
 
            At 19, Abdalleleh Haroun, of Qatar is the youngest runner in the race.  In March in Portland he became the youngest medalist in this event at the World Indoor Championships, earning silver.  A month earlier he became the first sub-minute man in the indoor 500 meters, running a world record 59.83 in Stockholm.

            Machel Cedenio, 20, of Trinidad was the youngest finalist in last year’s World Championships in Beijing, finishing 7th.  He also anchored his country’s 4x400 team to a silver medal, matching the finish by the 2001 4x100 team.  In 2014, he won gold at Hayward Field in the World Junior Championships.

            Steven Gardiner, 20, of the Bahamas is only in his second year of serious 400-meter running.  In his first year, he set the national record of 44.27 at age 19 to win his first national title.
 
            Until last year, the 43.97 same-time finish by James and Merritt in the 2014 Pre Classic was the fastest close finish anywhere in the world.  That changed in the first-round heats at Beijing in last summer’s World Championships.  Saudi Arabia’s Youssef Ahmed Masrahi and Jamaica’s Rusheen McDonald both ran 43.93 to finish 1-2 in the same heat.  It was a PR by a half-second or more for each.  Masrahi eventually made the final, taking 8th.

            Masrahi, 28, is the only runner in the field besides James and Merritt to have been ranked among the world’s top 10 more than twice by Track & Field News, topping out at No. 4 in 2014.  He won the Asian Games in 2014 as well as the last two Asian Championships in 2011 & ‘13.

            McDonald, 23, is Jamaica’s only sub-44 runner and a three time national runner-up.  He has run on his country’s most successful 4x400 teams, including leadoff as a 20-year-old in 2013 at the Moscow World Championships, where Jamaica earned silver.
 

Men’s 400 MetersPersonal Best
LaShawn Merritt (USA)43.65 
Isaac Makwala (Botswana)43.72 
Kirani James (Grenada)43.74 
Youssef Ahmed Masrahi (Saudi Arabia)43.93 
Rusheen McDonald (Jamaica)43.93 
Steven Gardiner (Bahamas)44.27 
Abdalleleh Haroun (Qatar)44.27 
Machel Cedenio (Trinidad)44.36 


More Gold than Ever in Pre Classic's Bowerman Mile  


   The best mile race in the world is set for the Prefontaine Classic, as the Bowerman Mile will feature a record five Olympic or World gold medalists in its best field in history.

            The Bowerman Mile will also reunite for the first time the top 5 from last year’s wild finish in Beijing at the World Championships, when just 0.41 seconds separated 1-5.  Mile fans will also be eager to see an exciting 18-year-old American chasing a prep record that generated perhaps the loudest crowd roar ever heard at the Pre Classic.
 
            Asbel Kiprop of Kenya is the world’s dominant miler and coming off his best year.  At 26, he has already won four major gold medals, the first as a 19-year-old in the 2008 Beijing Olympics 1500 meters.  His victory in last year’s Beijing World Championships was his third straight, equaling the streak set by world record holder Hicham El Guerrouj in 1997-2001.

            Kiprop won the IAAF Diamond League in its first (2010) and most recent (2015) years.  He has won the Bowerman Mile three times and has run sub-3:50 at the Pre Classic five times, both the most in meet history.  Kiprop has run the Bowerman Mile seven straight years, and a sub-4 this year will make him equal with Bernard Lagat for the most in meet history.  This summer in Rio, Kiprop hopes to become the first Kenyan to win two Olympic 1500-meter golds.  His campaign kicked off with a great start, winning the Doha 1500 by over 1.5 seconds in a world-leading 3:32.15.

            The closest anyone has come to Kiprop’s dominance is his 26-year-old countrymate Silas Kiplagat, also a two-time Diamond League winner (2012 & ’14) and the only runner to rank No. 1 in the world (again ’12 & ’14) by T&FN since Kiprop’s run of five No.1s began in 2009.  Kiplagat and Kiprop have faced each other 35 times in the 1500/mile, and Kiprop owns an 18-17 edge.  In the Bowerman Mile, however, Kiplagat has a 3-2 lead.  Kiplagat’s homestretch 100 was the fastest in Beijing last year, but relegated him to 5th in the close finish.

            It was another Kenyan, Elijah Manangoi, who came out of nowhere last year to give Kiprop his most recent challenge.  Now 23, Manangoi is a former 400-meter runner who ran 46.5 as a 20-year-old in 2013, then suddenly jumped to the 1500 and ran a PR 3:35.0 at high altitude in 2014.  Last year he won the Kenyan national championship, then was just a step behind Kiprop to collect silver at the Beijing World Championships.  His appearance in the Bowerman Mile will be his first in the U.S., and his 1500 PR of 3:29.67 is equivalent to a 3:46.5 mile.

            Ayanleh Souleiman, 23, of Djibouti is the two-time reigning winner of the Bowerman Mile, including the 2014 victory in a meet record 3:47.32 – the fastest in the world since 2007 as a record six ran sub-3:50.  He has ranked among the top 3 the last three years by Track & Field News in this event and among T&FN’s top 10 in the 800 the last three years – the last man to rank three straight years in the 800 & 1500/mile was Seb Coe, who did it twice (1979-81 and 1984-86).  Souleiman won the 2014 World Indoor Championships 1500 and earned bronze in the 800 at the 2013 World Championships.

            American Matthew Centrowitz, 26, won the gold medal at the World Indoor Championships in Portland in March.  It was the first Olympic or World gold by an American-born man in this event since 1908 (Mel Sheppard in the first London Olympics).  The former NCAA champion for Oregon has made every Olympic or World final since finishing his collegiate career, including a silver medal and bronze medal at the World Championships (2013 & ’11, respectively).  He won his third Wanamaker Mile this indoor season and was runner-up to Souleiman in last year’s Bowerman Mile by just 0.10 seconds.           

            Abdelaati Iguider, 29, was bronze medalist in last summer’s fantastic Beijing World Championships.  He is Morocco’s third-fastest miler in history, trailing only world record holder Hicham El Guerrouj and Said Aouita, former WR holder in the 1500 meters.  Iguider was the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist after earlier winning the World Indoor Championships.  His No. 5 world ranking by T&FN  last year was his highest yet.

            Taoufik Makhloufi, 28, of Algeria is the reigning Olympic gold medalist and last year saw his best racing since 2012 as he was ranked No. 4 in the world by T&FN.  Leading after three laps, Makhloufi was 4th in the Beijing World Championships, just 0.09 seconds from a medal.  Like Souleiman, he is also world class in the 800, ranking among the world’s top 10 by T&FN  the last two years.  He was third in a close Pre Classic 800 last year behind Mohammed Aman and Nijel Amos.
           
            Many fans will be following 18-year-old Drew Hunter, the national high school cross-country champ who broke Alan Webb’s indoor prep mile record in New York, then ran even faster at 3:57.81 in the “B” section of the Wanamaker Mile while ill.  He added another page in history at the recent Penn Relays, taking the baton some 50 yards behind on the anchor leg of the distance medley relay.  Hunter clocked a Penn Relays prep record split of 4:00.73 1600 to bring his Loudoun Valley (Va.) High School team to a thrilling photo-finish victory.

            Only Webb (3:53.43) and Jim Ryun (3:55.3) are faster on the U.S. high school all-time mile list.  Webb set his record at the 2001 Pre Classic, improving his PR by over 6 seconds as the Hayward Field crowd roared on his last lap.  Webb, the American record holder in the mile at 3:46.91, is also from Virginia and his coaches as a prep freshman were Hunter’s parents.

            Evan Jager, 27, obliterated his own steeplechase American record last year with a time of 8:00.45, despite falling during the race.  His No. 4 world ranking by T&FN  was his fourth-straight in the top 10 since first taking up the event in 2012, when he set his first American record and made the Olympic final.  In the 1500, he was the second fastest American last year (3:32.97), and his mile PR of 3:53.33 was set in the 2014 Pre Classic International Mile.

            Jakub Holusa, 28, of the Czech Republic earned the silver medal at the World Indoor Championships 1500 in Portland in March.  It matched the silver he earned in the 800 at the 2012 World Indoor.

            Ben Blankenship, 26, won last year’s Pre Classic International Mile.  He is a former 2-time Big Ten indoor mile champ while at Minnesota.

            Ronald Kwemoi, 20, of Kenya is the world junior record holder at 3:28.81 for 1500 meters.  He is already a Kenyan champion.  In 2014 at age 18, he claimed bronze at the African Championships behind Souleiman and Kiprop in a close finish.

            James Magut, 25, is a former two-time winner of the Pre Classic International Mile (2012 & ’13).  He also won the 2014 Commonwealth Games.  He is a sub-3:50 miler, courtesy of a 3:49.43 finish in the 2014 Bowerman Mile.
 
            The Bowerman Mile is named for Bill Bowerman, a legendary figure in track & field history who co-founded Nike while coaching national championship teams four times at the University of Oregon (1962-70).  Among his famous pupils was Steve Prefontaine.  Bowerman passed away at age 88 on December 24, 1999, and the Pre Classic mile has been known as the Bowerman Mile ever since.  A compilation of all Pre Classic sub-4 miles and other mile statistics is available at PreClassicMiles.  Since 2009, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association has awarded its highest honor, The Bowerman, to the top male and female collegiate track & field athlete.
 
Men’s Bowerman MilePersonal Best
Ayanleh Souleiman (Djibouti)3:47.32 
Silas Kiplagat (Kenya)3:47.88 
Asbel Kiprop (Kenya)3:48.50 
James Magut (Kenya)3:49.43 
Abdelaati Iguider (Morocco)3:49.09 
Matthew Centrowitz (USA)3:50.53 
Taoufik Makhloufi (Algeria)3:52.16 
Ronald Kwemoi (Kenya)3:52.57 
Ben Blankenship (USA)3:53.13 
Evan Jager (USA)3:53.33 
Jakub Holusa (Czech Republic)3:53.46 
Drew Hunter (USA)3:57.81 
Elijah Manangoi (Kenya)None (3:29.67 1500)




Youth Movement Leads Pre Classic Men's 800  



            Eugene, Oregon – Three athletes in their early 20s are expected to vie for the win in the IAAF Diamond League 800 meters at this year's Prefontaine Classic.

            Already a veteran at the age of 22, Botswana’s Nijel Amos improved by 5 ½ seconds in one year to earn the silver medal at the London Olympics at age 18. Amos soared to instant recognition by clocking an astounding time of 1:41.73 to earn Botswana’s first Olympic medal of any kind.

            His career has continued to flourish, winning the IAAF Diamond League the last two years.  Amos has raced in the U.S. twice, setting the Pre Classic 800 record of 1:43.63 in 2014 before finishing second last year.  He is the only racer in the field who can claim two wins over new American phenomenon Boris Berian.
 
            Relatively unknown a year ago, the 23-year-old Berian will be at the center of attention in the Pre 800.  That’s what a 5½-second improvement and world gold medal will do.  His progression from unknown to world class is the stuff no one even in Hollywood has dreamed of (at least not yet).  A year ago, his PR by over 2 seconds stood at 1:46.16 – that would end up as his slowest outdoor time of the year (excluding prelims) as he improved in practically every race.  During the summer, he waged tactics with the world’s best and finished at 1:43.34 – the world’s 4th fastest and best by an American since 2012.

            This year, Berian has yet to lose or be challenged.  In March, the Coloradan bolted to a lead in the World Indoor Championships and ran wire-to-wire to win the gold medal, and among the vanquished was the reigning two-time champion,  Mohammed Aman.
 
            Aman, still only 22, owns three such major medals, winning the 2013 World Championships in Moscow along with the 2012 and 2014 World Indoor Championships.  The Ethiopian record holder is the defending Pre Classic champ in a four-year stretch that has consistently seen him at or near the top, winning twice and finishing second twice.        Aman was first world ranked by Track & Field News as a 17-year-old in 2011.  He has made every international final he has run in, with the exception of last year’s World Championships due to a judgment disqualification.  Any Olympic medal this summer would make him Ethiopia’s first in an event less than 3000 meters.

            Collectively, these top 3 already own Olympic and World Championships medals, the last four IAAF Diamond League trophies, and the last three victories in the Pre Classic 800.
 
            That's not to say the rest of the field is ceding victory, however.

            Poland’s Adam Kszczot, 26, earned the silver medal in last summer’s World Championships in Beijing.  He recorded the world’s best indoor time this year at 1:45.63, but did not compete at the Portland World Indoors in order to prepare for the Rio Olympics.  He also owns World Indoor medals from 2014 (silver) and 2010 (bronze).

            Amel Tuka, 25, was the world’s fastest 800-meter runner last year at 1:42.51 and claimed the bronze medal at Beijing, becoming the first medalist for Bosnia and Herzegovina.  He is Europe’s fourth-fastest ever – two ahead of him are former world record holders Seb Coe and Wilson Kipketer.

            Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich, 26, finished just 0.05 seconds behind Tuka for the last medal at the Beijing World Championships.  He has been world ranked by T&FN in each of the last three years.

            Qatar’s Abdulrahman Balla, 27, is the only runner to make the final in last year’s Beijing World Championships (6th) and this year’s Portland World Indoors (5th),  while Antoine Gakeme of Burundi claimed the silver medal at the World Indoors.
 
            Seven of the confirmed entrants have run under 1:44-flat, and 4 under 1:43-flat!
 
Men’s 800 MetersPersonal Best
Nijel Amos (Botswana)1:41.73 
Mohammed Aman (Ethiopia)1:42.37 
Amel Tuka (Bosnia and Herzegovina)1:42.51 
Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich (Kenya)1:42.84 
Adam Kszczot (Poland)1:43.30 
Boris Berian (USA)1:43.34 
Abdulrahman Balla (Qatar)1:43.82 
Antoine Gakeme (Burundi)1:44.09 


Felix, Richards-Ross Lead Pre Classic's Best-Ever Women's 400m  



            Eugene, Oregon – Allyson Felix and Sanya Richards-Ross are among America’s most decorated athletes and their road to more Olympic gold begins at the Prefontaine Classic in the women’s 400 meters.

            The race will be the Pre Classic’s best ever in this event.  Seven of the confirmed runners have at least one major gold medal and seven have run sub-50.  Five comprised the top 5 in last year’s Track & Field News world rankings and two 22-year-olds are current world leaders, including another one-lap event.

            Much of the attention will include Felix and Richards-Ross, who have both been world ranked since they were teenagers in 2003.  One or the other has been the top American in this event in nine of the last 10 years.
 
            Allyson Felix, 30, owns 20 major medals, equal to Carl Lewis for the most in history by an American at the Olympics or World Championships.  She is aiming for a rare achievement this summer at the Rio Olympics – a 200/400 Olympic gold medal double.  It was last achieved in 1996 by Michael Johnson and Marie-Jose Perec, and the only other was by Valerie Brisco-Hooks in 1984.

            Felix is no stranger to Olympic history – in the 2012 London Games she became the first women’s triple gold medalist since Florence Griffith Joyner in 1988, scoring in the 200 and both relays.  Last year Felix ran her lifetime best of 49.26 to win the World Championships in Beijing and ranked No. 1 in the world by T&FN for the first time in the 400 since 2010.  In the 200, she clocked her eighth career sub-22 and finished No. 2 in the world, just missing a record eighth No. 1.

            Sanya Richards-Ross, 31, owns 14 major medals, the most by an American behind Lewis and Felix.  The American record holder in the 400, she is the only American woman with two major gold medals in this event (2012 Olympics, 2009 Worlds).  She has won twice as many U.S. outdoor titles (6) as any other woman and has been ranked No. 1 in the world five times by T&FN – only Felix has more than one.

            Richards-Ross has 49 career sub-50 efforts to date, the most in history.  Four of those were recorded at Hayward Field, where she is the only runner with more than one.  She has won this event five times at the Pre Classic, the only athlete with more than two.

            Shaunae Miller, 22, is this year's early world leader at 49.69, the fastest ever run in her home country of Bahamas.  The time was just 0.02 off her personal best, set winning the silver medal at last year’s Beijing World Championships.  The only faster Bahamians in this event have Olympic gold medals – Tonique Williams-Darling (2004) and Pauline Davis-Thompson (2000 in the 200).

            Francena McCorory, 27, won the IAAF Diamond League trophy last year in this event, the first by an American since Felix in 2010.  McCorory is the only American to rank among the top 10 in the world byT&FN in each of the last six years, topped by a No. 2 in 2014 and a No. 3 last year.  She owns four major golds, including the 2014 World Indoor.  McCorory won her first national title at Hayward Field for Hampton University in the 2010 NCAA Championships.

            Natasha Hastings, 29, has earned 11 major medals, seven of them gold.  In 2013, she was the top-ranked American by T&FN, the only time in the last 10 years that Felix or Richards-Ross were not.  For Hastings, it was the beginning of a resurgence that began in 2007, when she first broke sub-50.  She is a three-time U.S. champion.

            Jamaica’s Stephenie Ann McPherson, 27, was ranked No. 4 in the world for the second straight year by T&FN.  A member of last year’s gold-medal winning 4x400 team for Jamaica in the World Championships, she finished 4th in the recent World Indoor Championships.

            Quanera Hayes, 24, might be America’s least-known gold medalist.  She ran second leg on the U.S. team on the gold-medal 4x400 team at the World Indoor Championships in Portland after having already earned bronze in the 400 on her own.  She is a three-time NCAA Division II champ from Livingstone College in North Carolina.  Hayes ran a PR 49.91 behind Miller's world-leading mark.

            Ashley Spencer, 22, ran her PR 50.28 at Hayward Field in winning her second NCAA title while at Illinois in 2013.  She was silver medalist in the World Indoor Championships in Portland, then anchored the gold-medal U.S. 4x400 team.  Last weekend she lowered her PR in the 400-meter hurdles by 1.62 seconds with a world-leading 54.70.
 
Women’s 400 MetersPersonal Best
Sanya Richards-Ross (USA)48.70 
Allyson Felix (USA)49.26 
Francena McCorory (USA)49.48 
Shaunae Miller (Bahamas)49.67 
Natasha Hastings (USA)49.84 
Quanera Hayes (USA)49.91 
Stephenie Ann McPherson (Jamaica)49.92 
Ashley Spencer (USA)50.28 



Pre Classic Women's 100m Hurdles is Colossal!  

(The 42nd Prefontaine Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 27-28 at historic Hayward Field.)

            Eugene, Oregon – How good will the Prefontaine Classic women’s 100 hurdles be?  So good that because of the 3-per-nation restriction at the Olympics, it’ll be deeper than the Games final. That’s because five superstar Americans—including the world’s four fastest since the London Games, plus the world’s No. 1 ranker from the last two years—will be meeting for the first time in the same race on U.S. soil. Whew!
 
            Dawn Harper-Nelson has won the last four IAAF Diamond League titles, equaling the most for a woman in any event.  She is among America’s most successful hurdlers, winning Olympic gold in 2008 at Beijing, then silver at London in 2012.  She was ranked No. 1 in the world the last two years by Track & Field News.

            Three of Harper-Nelson’s four U.S. titles were achieved at Hayward Field, including last year when she ran 12.48, her best on U.S. soil.  Harper-Nelson, who will turn 32 in May, has been known to run best when it counts the most, and her Olympic gold and silver medals are the best ever won by an American in this event.  She spent much of the winter working on revamping her start.

            American record holder at 12.26, Brianna Rollins, 24, is the youngest gold medalist in this event at the World Championships, winning in 2013 at Moscow a day before turning 22.  Just outside of another medal at last year’s World Championships, she claimed silver in last month’s World Indoor 60-meter version after winning her first U.S. title since rating No. 1 in the world in 2013.  Coach Lawrence Johnson says, “This is the year that we get back to doing some of the things she was doing in '13, but doing them better.”

            Jasmin Stowers, 24, has run 12.40 or better more times than anyone in the last two years, setting her best of 12.35 in her Diamond League debut at Doha last year.  She won the most Diamond League titles last year (3) in a season in which all were claimed by Americans.  She was ranked No. 3 in the world rankings last year by T&FN.

            Sharika Nelvis, 25, owns the two fastest wind-legal times at Hayward Field, both recorded in last year’s U.S. championships at 12.34 and 12.37, making her the only hurdler with more than two under 12.40 at Hayward Field.  The Arkansas State grad is one of the few women who uses only 7 steps to the first hurdle. Her hard-charging  performances earned her the No. 2 ranking in the world last year fromT&FN.

            Kendra Harrison, 23, is the youngest in the field. She is also 2016’s fastest, firing a 12.36 for April’s best in history to lead this year’s world list.  Last year after winning the NCAA title, Keni rested some 45 minutes, then ran a PR 54.09 in the 400 hurdles, losing by just 0.35 seconds to eventual World Championships silver medalist Shamier Little.

            Nia Ali, 27, is already a two-time World Indoor gold medalist, winning her second straight 60-meter version at the last month’s World Indoor Championships in Portland.  The most versatile of the athletes in the field, she raised her heptathlon PR to 5870 in mid-April.

            Tiffany Porter, 28, earned the bronze medal at the 2013 Moscow World Championships.  Born in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Porter is a dual British and American citizen who competes for Great Britain.  She won five NCAA titles at Michigan. 

            Alina Talay, who will turn 27 on May 14, earned the bronze medal with her Belarusian record at last summer’s World Championships in Beijing.

            It's an epic collection of talent, most of it home-grown, in a race that will be a preview of the Olympic Trials and Olympic Games.
 
 
Women’s 100-Meter HurdlesPersonal Best
Brianna Rollins (USA)12.26 
Sharika Nelvis (USA)12.34 
Jasmin Stowers (USA)12.35 
Kendra Harrison (USA)12.36 
Dawn Harper Nelson (USA)12.37 
Nia Ali (USA)12.48 
Tiffany Porter (Great Britain)12.51 
Alina Talay (Belarus)12.66




  Simpson, Rowbury Begin a New Chapter in Pre Classic Women's 1500


           Eugene, Oregon – Jenny Simpson and Shannon Rowbury have one of America’s most intense rivalries and their record book writing will take on an Olympic theme in the women’s 1500 meters at the Prefontaine Classic.

            The fans will have an eye on the two Americans, each of whom is looking to become the first U.S. Olympic medalist ever in the event this summer in Rio.  Both sub-4 performers, they are the most dominant Americans over the last seven years, a stretch that has seen one or both rank among the world’s top 10 every year by Track & Field News (four times one has been in the top 3).  Head-to-head, Simpson has a commanding 17-7 edge over Rowbury, but they are 2-2 in Olympic/World finals.

            Overall, the event will showcase five sub-4:00 racers in a tremendous field that also includes the reigning World Indoor champion, Kenya’s two fastest ever, and an Ethiopian duo led by a 19-year-old who is already a World bronze medalist.  The field wants to run fast and can challenge the Hayward Field record of 3:57.05 as well as equaling the most sub-4 runners in one race on U.S. soil (5, from the 2014 Pre Classic).
 
            Jenny Simpson, 29, is the defending Pre Classic winner and fastest-ever American at Hayward Field, but her accomplishments go around the globe.  She is one of only two American gold medalists in this event, capturing the 2011 World Championships title (matching Mary Slaney, who won in 1983).

            Simpson’s total of six career sub-4 races is second among Americans only to Slaney (8), and she is the only American with more than one sub-4 performance at Hayward Field. Her first sub-4 came at the '09 Pre, where she established the still-standing Collegiate Record for Colorado. Simpson won that World Championships gold in 2011, though her best season came in 2014, when she won the IAAF Diamond League and was ranked No. 1 in the world by T&FN.  She was formcharted for a medal in Beijing last year, but lost a shoe midway through the race.

            Shannon Rowbury, 31, broke a 31-year-old American record last year, running 3:56.29 in Monaco to eclipse Mary Slaney’s AR of 3:57.12 set in 1983 (less than two months before Rowbury was born).  She owns the two best Olympic finishes by an American in this event with a 6th in 2012 and 7th in 2008.

            Rowbury has ranked among the world’s top 10 by T&FN in six of the last seven years, including four times as the top American.  Like last year, she won the Millrose Games’ Women’s Wanamaker Mile, but this year followed it with a bronze medal at the World Indoor Championships in Portland.

            Sifan Hassan, 23, of the Netherlands is the fastest in the field at 3:56.05 and won gold at last month’s World Indoor Championships in Portland.  Born in Ethiopia, she began competing for the Netherlands in 2014, world ranking No. 2 (2014) and No. 3 (2015) by T&FN.  Hassan was fifth in 2014’s fantastic Pre Classic, when five ran sub-4.  Last year, she improved to 3rd but finished the season as the Diamond League winner.

            Hellen Obiri, 26, of Kenya is the fastest to ever run at Hayward Field, setting her best in 2014 at 3:57.05 to win the Pre Classic.  Her prior best was the previous Hayward Field (and Pre Classic) record, 3:58.58, set in 2013.  Obiri took last year off for maternity, but again appears ready for world-class racing – last month she ran a lifetime best in the 5K of 15:28.5 at some 6000 feet (almost 2000 meters) above sea-level.  She owns a gold medal in the 2012 World Indoor Championships at 3000 meters.

            Faith Kipyegon, 22, has a rare collection of medals.  Silver medalist in last summer’s World Championships, she won the 2011 World Youth and 2012 World Junior titles in meet-record fashion.  Kipyegon also owns World Junior cross-country titles in 2011 and 2013.  In 2014 she set the World Junior record of 3:56.98, fastest by a Kenyan of any age.  She was runner-up in the 2013 Pre Classic 1500 as well as in last year’s Pre Classic 5K.

            Gudaf Tsegay is a 19-year-old from Ethiopia.  She has already won two championships medals in the state of Oregon, most recently at the Portland World Indoors, where Tsegay earned bronze.  She is still eligible for Junior records and her PR of 4:01.81 in February is the best by any Junior ever indoors.

            Axumawit Embaye, 21, is an Ethiopian who already has Pre Classic experience, finishing 5th in last year’s race.  She followed countrymate Tsegay at the Portland World Indoors, taking 4th.  In 2014, Embaye was silver medalist at the World Indoor Championships.

            Kerri Gallagher, 26, is an American who has lowered her lifetime best by over 15 seconds since graduating from Fordham University in 2011.  The third member of the U.S. team in Beijing last summer, she will be making her debut in the Pre Classic.  Her post-collegiate coach is Matt Centrowitz, a four-time winner of the Pre Classic 5K and father of world indoor 1500-meter gold medalist Matthew Centrowitz.

            American Brenda Martinez, 28, is known mostly as an 800-meter runner, earning a bronze medal at the 2013 World Championships with a best of 1:57.91.  But in 2013 and ’14, she was ranked No. 3 in the U.S. in this event by T&FN behind Simpson and Rowbury.  This year she won the U.S. Indoor title in the 1500 and finished 5th as the top American in the World Indoor Championships in Portland.

            Rababe Arafi, 25, of Morocco finished just outside of the medals in last summer’s Beijing World Championships, taking 4th in the 800.  She also was a finalist in the 1500.

            Great Britain’s Laura Weightman earned the bronze medal in the 2014 European Championships and then the silver in the Commonwealth Games later that summer.

            Renata Plis is a six-time Polish champion in distances ranging from 800 to 3000 meters.  She has been her country’s fastest 1500 runner in each of the last five years.
           
            In sum, this year's Prefontaine Classic women's 1500 features potentially the best field in the 41-year history of the meet.
 


Women’s 1500 MetersPersonal Best
Sifan Hassan (Netherlands)3:56.05 
Shannon Rowbury (USA)3:56.29 
Faith Kipyegon (Kenya)3:56.98 
Hellen Obiri (Kenya)3:57.05 
Jenny Simpson (USA)3:57.22 
Laura Weightman (Great Britain)4:00.17 
Brenda Martinez (USA)4:00.94 
Gudaf Tsegay (Ethiopia)4:01.81 
Axumawit Embaye (Ethiopia)4:02.35 
Rababe Arafi (Morocco)4:02.71 
Renata Plis (Poland)4:03.50 
Kerri Gallagher (USA)4:03.56
 
Gold Medalists Lead Hammer's Return to Pre Classic

           Eugene, Oregon – The men’s hammer throw returns to the Prefontaine Classic after a hiatus of 11 years in what will be the event’s best collection of talent on U.S. soil since the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

            The field includes the reigning Olympic and World Championships gold medalists, just part of the top 6 from last year’s world rankings by Track & Field News.  The Hayward Field record of 271-2 (82.65) set by Olympic champ Koji Murofushi in the 2004 Pre Classic could even be challenged, as two throwers have lifetime bests farther than that mark.
 
            Pawel Fajdek, 26, of Poland may be the field’s youngest but he's also the farthest.  He won his second World Championships gold medal last year in Beijing – his first made him the event’s youngest ever at 23 in the Moscow World Championships.  At 275-4 (83.93), Fajdek is the world’s farthest since 2008 and the youngest to throw this far besides Soviet legend Sergey Litvinov in the 1980s. He finished last season with an amazing 18-meet winning streak.

            Krisztian Pars, 34, of Hungary is the reigning Olympic gold medalist.  He has been among the world’s dominant hammer throwers since 2004, when he was only 22 years old.  Pars has been world ranked every year since by T&FN, never lower than No. 5, with four times each at No. 1 and No. 2.  He leads the career head-to-head meetings with Fajdek at 29-16, though Fajdek has won the last eight.

            Tajikstan’s Dilshod Nazarov, who will turn 34 on May 6, earned the silver medal in last summer’s World Championships and became his country’s second medalist in any event.  The only other was Andrey Abduvaliyev, who won the 1993 and ’95 World hammers.  Nazarov, who has ranked No. 3 in the world the last two years behind Fajdek and Pars, has won six Asian Championships or Games golds since 2006.

            Wojciech Nowicki, 27, of Poland was the bronze medalist in last year’s Beijing World Championships in his first major international meet.  He ranked No. 4 last year in his debut in the T&FNworld rankings.  Nowicki has improved every year of his career.

            Mostafa Al-Gamal, 27, of Egypt is Africa’s farthest thrower ever at 266-7 (81.27).  He was his continent’s first finalist in this event at last year’s World Championships, finishing 7th.  Al-Gamal’s season-long performances ranked him even higher, No. 4 (2014) and No. 5 (2015) in the world the last two years by T&FN.

            Marcel Lomnicky, 28, of the Slovak Republic was NCAA champion for Virginia Tech in 2009.  He has improved steadily each year since, ranking No. 6 in the world the last three years in a row by T&FN.

            American Kibwé Johnson, 34, owns the most success at Hayward Field, site of three of his four U.S. titles.  He is the No. 3 thrower in U.S. history behind only Lance Deal and Jud Logan, both American record holders.  Johnson’s best of 263-6 (80.31) puts him in rare company on the all-time Hayward Field list – the three ahead (Murofushi, Deal, and Balasz Kiss) have won Olympic gold or silver.

Men’s Hammer ThrowPersonal Best
Pawel Fajdek (Poland)275-4(83.93)
Krisztian Pars (Hungary)271-3(82.69)
Mostafa Al-Gamal (Egypt)266-7(81.27)
Dilshod Nazarov (Tajikstan)264-9(80.71)
Kibwé Johnson (USA)263-6(80.31)
Marcel Lomnicky (Slovak Republic)259-8(79.16)
Wojciech Nowicki (Poland)258-3(78.71)

 

Christian Taylor Leads a Florida Foursome in Pre Classic Triple Jump


            Eugene, Oregon – American record holder Christian Taylor’s road to a second Olympic gold medal in the triple jump faces a major test at the Prefontaine Classic, which features a unique clash of five gold medalists and a reunion with three college alumni.

            The Pre Classic’s triple jump runway will see four former University of Florida jumpers fuel an intense rivalry – all have been world ranked No. 3 or better by Track & Field News in the last two years.  It will also be the first meeting on U.S. soil of the four triple jumpers who own the nine longest efforts at Hayward Field, home of the upcoming U.S. Olympic Trials.

            Christian Taylor, 25, is at the top of all but one major triple jump list.  His best of 59-9 (18.21) earned a second World Championships gold medal in Beijing last summer and was just 3¼ inches from Jonathan Edwards’ 20-year-old world record of 60-¼ (18.29).  Taylor finished the season with his fourth T&FN No. 1 world ranking and fourth IAAF Diamond League trophy – all in the last five years.

            Omar Craddock, 24, led a 1-2-3 finish of Florida triple jumpers in last year’s U.S. championships at Hayward Field with a lifetime best of 57-6¼ (17.53).  It was his third U.S. triple jump title, the most by a Florida jumper.  He was in line for a bronze medal at last year’s World Championships until the final round, settling for 4th.  Craddock finished the season ranked No. 3 in the world by T&FN.

           Will Claye, 24, owns the Hayward Field record with his 57-11¼ (17.66) victory at the 2014 Pre Classic.  He already can claim the most Olympic medals of anyone in the field with his triple jump silver and long jump bronze from London in 2012.  Claye has the most wind-legal 57-foot jumps at Hayward Field (6) and has not finished lower than second (long jump or triple jump) on this runway since 2013.

            Marquis Dendy, 23, is set for his Pre Classic debut, but he already has had incredible success on this runway – winning all of his five outdoor NCAA or U.S. titles at Hayward Field, including his wind-legal best of 57-5 (17.50).  He was ranked No. 2 in the world in the long jump by T&FN last year and won The Bowerman Award as the nation’s top collegiate male athlete.  His 2016 campaign already includes a long jump gold medal at the World Indoor Championships with the year's longest jump.

          France’s Teddy Tamgho, 26, is the indoor World Record holder and won the 2013 World Championships gold medal at 59-2¼ (18.04), making him one of history’s five members of the 59-foot club.  Twice ranked No. 1 in the world by T&FN (2010 & ’13), he also won gold at the 2010 World Indoor Championships.

          Benjamin Compaore, 28, is also from France and preceded Tamgho as World Junior gold medalist in 2006 (Tamgho won in 2008).  Compaore is the reigning European champion and his best of 57-4¼ (17.48) to win the 2014 IAAF Continental Cup is his country’s best since Tamgho’s 2013 effort.

          China’s Bin Dong, 27, is the newly-crowned World Indoor champion and has a best of 57-1½ (17.41).  His gold-medal jump of 56-10¼ (17.33) at Portland is the best by a Chinese jumper outside of his homeland.

          Alexis Copello, 30, of Cuba is set to make his U.S. debut.  He earned bronze at the 2009 World Championships and has ranked as high as No. 2 in the world by T&FN (2010).

 

Men’s Triple Jump

Personal Best

Christian Taylor (USA)

59-9

(18.21)

Teddy Tamgho (France)

59-2¼

(18.04)

Will Claye (USA)

58-3

(17.75)

Alexis Copello (Cuba)

58-¼

(17.68)

Omar Craddock (USA)

57-6¼

(17.53)

Marquis Dendy (USA)

57-5

(17.50)

Benjamin Compaore (France)

57-4¼

(17.48)

Bin Dong (China)

57-1½

(17.41)


Vashti Cunningham Brings a New Age to High Jumping at Pre Classic

(The 42nd Prefontaine Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 27-28 at historic Hayward Field.)

            Eugene, Oregon – Vashti Cunningham has the world eager to see more of the youngest woman to ever win a gold medal at the World Indoor Championships.  The Prefontaine Classic is set to be her outdoor pro debut as she continues on the road to the Rio Olympics.

            Her competition at the Pre Classic looks like a preview of the Olympic Games,  as the field will include the top 4 high jumpers from the recent World Indoor in Portland, where all cleared the same height of 6-5 (1.96).  Cunningham earned the gold by virtue of having no misses.
 
            Vashti Cunningham, 18, has soared to records every year of her high school career, owning the best ever in all four prep classes.  Now a senior at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, Cunningham’s first-ever indoor season produced a world-leading 6-6¼ (1.99), merely the best in the world by an 18-year-old in more than 25 years and the best ever indoors.  Only three other Americans of any age have ever jumped higher indoors.

            Both Cunningham and her coach see higher heights, openly talking of 6-7 (2.01) and 6-8 (2.03) this year.  Her coach is her father, Randall Cunningham, known best as an all-pro NFL quarterback with dazzling athletic ability.  The dad was a 6-10 (2.08) jumper as a prep before concentrating solely on football.

            Vashti is part of one of the world’s best high jumping families.  Her brother, Randall II, is two years older and an All-American at the University of Southern California – he raised his PR to 7-5 (2.26) during the recent indoor season.  The siblings made history last summer by each winning gold medals in the high jump at the Pan-American Junior Championships in Edmonton, Canada.
 
            Ruth Beitia, 37, may be twice the age of Cunningham, but she is the closest at matching her this year – she earned her second silver at the recent World Indoor Championships.  Beitia is also the reigning Diamond League winner and will be seeking a third-straight European Championships gold in preparation for the Rio Olympics.  At the 2012 London Olympics, Beitia finished 4th, the best ever by a Spaniard in this event.

            Poland’s Kamila Licwinko, 30, is a former World Indoor gold medalist, winning the 2014 edition before settling for a bronze this year.  She equaled her outdoor national record of 6-6¼ (1.99) at last year’s World Championships in Beijing, finishing 4th.

            Airine Palsyte, 23, of Lithuania also cleared 6-5 (1.96) at the Portland World Indoors.  Due to earlier misses, she was the only one at 6-5 without a medal.  She won last summer’s World University Games in China.  Palsyte has held her country’s national record since she was 19, when she first jumped 6-5 to claim silver in the 2011 World University Games.

            Alessia Trost, 23, of Italy has won gold medals at both the World Youth Championships (2009) and World Junior Championships (2012).  Last year she won her second European Under-23 gold and was silver medalist in the European Indoor Championships, losing the gold in a jumpoff.

            Levern Spencer, 31, is from the small island of St. Lucia.  With a best of 6-6 (1.98), she is the highest jumper from the Caribbean outside of Cuba.  Twice her country’s flagbearer at the Olympics, she won St. Lucia’s first gold medal at last summer’s Pan-American Games.  Spencer is a former NCAA Division II champion while at Albany State College in Georgia.

            Germany’s Marie-Laurence Jungfleisch, 25, cleared her PR of 6-6¼ (1.99) last summer with her best finish to date in a major international, taking 6th in the World Championships at Beijing.

            Isobel Pooley, 23, is Great Britain’s best high jumper at 6-5½ (1.97) and has set a PR every year since she was 16.  When Pooley first set the national record in 2014, it broke a mark that had stood for 32 years. 
 

Women’s High JumpPersonal Best
Ruth Beitia (Spain)6-7½(2.02)
Kamila Licwinko (Poland)6-7½(2.02)
Alessia Trost (Italy)6-6¾(2.00)
Vashti Cunningham (USA)6-6¼(1.99)
Marie-Laurence Jungfleisch (Germany)6-6¼(1.99)
Airine Palsyte (Lithuania)6-6(1.98)
Levern Spencer (St. Lucia)6-6(1.98)

               

The Shot's Heavy Hitters to Meet at Pre Classic

            Eugene, Oregon – The planet’s two best men’s shot putters are ready for a new duel at the Prefontaine Classic.  For the first time, both are equipped with gold medals.

            Some might call it a rematch, but others see it as a Pre Classic tradition.  Seven of the world’s top 9 are prepared to enter the ring that has produced the most 70-foot throws in the world.
 
            Joe Kovacs, 26, is a bright light in the shot put event.  His most shining moment to date came in topping a stellar field at last year’s World Championships in Beijing – defeating a pair of two-time reigning Olympic or World Championships gold medalists, in what was the first major international competition of his young career.

            The Beijing victory was only one crowning moment for Kovacs, who earlier in the summer heaved 74-¼ (22.56) to become the farthest American putter since 1990, when an infant Joe was just learning to walk.  Kovacs went on to add the IAAF Diamond League Trophy and No. 1 world ranking from Track & Field News.

(Kovacs has an interesting training background. His high school coach was his mother, working in a circle they painted in a parking lot because his school didn’t have a shot ring.)

            David Storl, is already Germany’s third farthest ever at 72-10 (22.20), trailing only a pair of former world record holders in Udo Beyer and Ulf Timmermann, of what was then East Germany.

            Storl is a two-time gold medalist at the World Championships (2011 & ‘13).  He also has the most major medals in the field at six.  He has ranked five times already among the top 4 by T&FN – the last three at No. 2.  Storl debuted in the Pre Classic last year, finishing 2nd to Kovacs.
 
            The field has much more, as five current or past major gold medalists grace an incredible collection that includes the top 6 from last year’s World Championships.

            O’Dayne Richards, 27, produced the first medal for Jamaica in the shot put with a bronze at last year’s World Championships, equaling his national record 71-2 (21.69), set in winning the Pan-American Games gold.

            New Zealand’s Tom Walsh is the youngest in the field at 24 years old.  He won the gold medal at the recent World Indoor Championships in Portland with a national record 71-5½ (21.78).  Walsh was in medal contention in Beijing, until nudged to 4th by Richards.

            Tomasz Majewski, 34, has two Olympic gold medals, joining legendary Parry O’Brien in an exclusive club.  The Polish record holder at 72-¼ (21.95), Majewski’s best efforts on U.S. soil have come at Hayward Field, competing at the last six Pre Classics.  He has made every major championships final dating to 2004.

            Reese Hoffa, 38, could call the Pre Classic his second home, and it would be fitting for an athlete who has already competed 11 times with 4 victories.  Or maybe home could be the T&FN world rankings, where he has ranked 12 straight years in the top 6 (only Udo Beyer has more at 13).  Hoffa won gold at the World Championships in 2007 and also claimed a bronze at the London Olympics.  In 2014, he earned the No. 1 world ranking by T&FN (his fourth).  He is the only two-time Diamond League Trophy winner in this event (2012 & ’14).

            Two 25-year-olds are prepared for their first Pre Classic.  American Jordan Clarke, a four-time NCAA champion from Arizona State, ranked No. 8 in the world last year by T&FN.  Tim Nedow is a three-time Canadian champion who earned the silver medal at last summer’s Pan-American Games behind Richards.

            Interesting note—no non-American has ever won the Prefontaine Classic men's shot put! Hayward Field has the most 70 foot plus throws in the world
 

Men’s Shot PutPersonal Best
Joe Kovacs (USA)74-¼(22.56)
Reese Hoffa (USA)73-7¼(22.43)
David Storl (Germany)72-10(22.20)
Tomasz Majewski (Poland)72-¼(21.95)
Tom Walsh (New Zealand)71-5½(21.78)
O’Dayne Richards (Jamaica)71-2(21.69)
Jordan Clarke (USA)70-6¼(21.49)
Tim Nedow (Canada)69-11¾(21.33)


Gold Medalists Lining Up for Women’s Long Jump at Pre Classic

(

            Eugene, Oregon – Every major international championship gold medalist since 2009 is confirmed for the Prefontaine Classic’s women’s long jump, and the field includes three silver medalists looking to move up to the gold-medal club at the Rio Olympics.
           
            Tianna Bartoletta, 30, won gold last summer at the Beijing World Championships with a lifetime best 23-5½ (7.15).  She now has four major golds, and her collection is impressive, if not unique.  Her first came as a 20-year-old in the 2005 Helsinki World Championships, and her second in the 2006 Moscow World Indoor Championships. 

            Bartoletta earned her third major gold by leading off the world-record setting U.S. 4x100 team at the London Olympics.  It was just a part of her best season as a sprinter, as she finished 4th in the Olympic 100 in a PR 10.85.  Winner of last year’s Pre Classic long jump, Bartoletta has claimed the last two Diamond League titles in the event.

            Brittney Reese, 29, won her seventh major gold with a meet record at the recent World Indoor Championships in Portland.  It marked a return to the top for Reese, who struggled last year with a back injury.  Her best at Portland was just over an inch shy of her PR 23-9½ (7.25) – the farthest any woman has leapt since 2004.

            The London Olympic gold medalist, Reese (whose Twitter handle is, appropriately enough, DaLJBeast)  was the dominant jumper from 2009-13, earning five straight No. 1 world rankings by Track & Field News – the only one with that long a streak at the top.  Already the only American besides Jackie Joyner-Kersee with an Olympic gold medal, with a win at the Rio Olympics, Reese would join Heike Drechsler as the only two-time gold medalists.

            France’s Eloyse Lesueur, 27, is the only other jumper in the field besides Bartoletta and Reese with a major gold or a T&FN world No. 1 ranking.  She achieved both in 2014, the year she won the World Indoor Championships.  The two-time reigning European champion, Lesueur returns after missing the 2015 outdoor season with a knee injury.

            Shara Proctor, 27, became Great Britain’s first 7-meter jumper with her silver medal at last year’s Beijing World Championships, jumping 23-2½ (7.07).  It was her best medal yet, topping the bronze at the 2012 World Indoor Championships.  The 2013 Diamond League winner, Proctor is the only one in the field besides Reese to have been world ranked in each of the last four years by T&FN.

            Canada’s Christabel Nettey is the youngest in the field at 24.  She won the Pan-American Games gold last summer in Toronto, then finished an agonizing 4th at both last summer’s World Championships and this winter’s World Indoor Championships.  She was ranked No. 4 in the world last year by T&FN, becoming the first Canadian ever in this event.

            Ivana Spanovic of Serbia will turn 26 on May 10 and already owns four major medals, topped by her silver at the World Indoor Championships in Portland with a lifetime best 23-2½ (7.07).  She was bronze medalist in the last two outdoor World Championships, as well as the 2014 World Indoor.  Since 2013, Spanovic has been world ranked no lower than No. 4 by T&FN.

            Janay DeLoach, 30, is the third American in the field and looking at a strong start.  In the last Olympic year, DeLoach won silver at the World Indoor Championships and bronze at London, giving the U.S. its only two-medal showing in the Olympics along with Reese’s gold.  At the recent World Indoor Championships in Portland, DeLoach was less than two inches from a bronze medal, taking 4th.
 

Women’s Long JumpPersonal Best
Brittney Reese (USA)23-9½(7.25)
Tianna Bartoletta (USA)23-5¼(7.14)
Shara Proctor (Great Britain)23-2½(7.07)
Ivana Spanovic (Serbia)23-2½(7.07)
Janay DeLoach (USA)23-¾(7.03)
Christabel Nettey (Canada)22-11¼(6.99)
Eloyse Lesueur (France)22-8½(6.92)


Yego Tops Javelin Excitement for Pre Classic

(The 42nd Prefontaine Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 27-28 at historic Hayward Field.)

 
            Eugene, Oregon – World champion Julius Yego makes his U.S. debut at the Prefontaine Classic in the meet’s strongest-ever men’s javelin field.

            The reigning Olympic and World champions are set to compete for the first time on U.S. soil in this event, and the field includes 6 of the top 8 in the Track & Field Newsworld rankings.
 
            Julius Yego, 27, is one of the javelin’s most intriguing athletes. Born and raised in distance-rich Kenya, he studied using internet videos of javelin legendaries Jan Zelezny and Andreas Thorkildsen. Yego joined that exclusive club of gold medalists last year at the World Championships in Beijing, and his winning throw of 304-2 (92.72) was the farthest in the world since 2006.

            Yego has seen many sides of excitement – and contributed drama as well.  In his first major international meet, he threw a lifetime best to make the final of the 2012 Olympics, eventually finishing 12th.  A year later, he PRed by over 10 feet and was on the verge of a medal at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow until the last round kept him off the podium.  Even Yego’s best heave last year at Beijing came after he was on the brink of not making the final.

            Keshorn Walcott shocked the world with his Olympic gold medal in 2012, the crowning jewel in an undefeated season. He was only 19 then and his return to Trinidad on August 13 was declared a national holiday.  Since then, he has improved by more than 18 feet (5.5 meters) to 295-9 (90.16), and become the first thrower to exceed 90 meters (295-3) in a Diamond League meet.

            Vitezslav Vesely, 33, of the Czech Republic was the Moscow World Championships gold medalist in 2013, the second straight year he was ranked No. 1 in the world by T&FN.  He is the only thrower to have been ranked among the world’s top 5 by T&FN in each of the last five years.  Vesely, a two-time Diamond League winner (2012 & ’13), missed a medal in the London Olympics by less than a yard/meter.

            Egypt’s Ihab Abdelrahman, who will be 27 on May 1, joins Yego and Walcott as his country’s lone world-ranking javelin thrower.  He took the silver medal in Beijing last summer, helping him to a No. 5 world ranking by T&FN after a No. 3 in ’14.  Yego is the only African who has thrown farther.

            The German pair of Thomas Rohler, 24, and Johannes Vetter, 23, are still seeking their first major international medals, though Rohler was less than a foot away (0.23) in Beijing last year.  Rohler, the 2014 Diamond League winner, was ranked No. 2 in the world by T&FN  that year and No. 4 last year.  Vetter, who was seventh in last year’s World Championships, has the early 2016 world lead at 272-2 (82.96).

            No one in the field has as many major gold medals (3) or world No. 1 rankings (5) as Andreas Thorkildsen.  The Norwegian superstar, who will be 34 on April 1, has missed most of the last two years due to injuries.  He has pointed to making a strong comeback in 2016, with the goal of winning a third Olympic gold (having won in 2004 and 2008, as well as the World Championships in 2009).  Prior to being sidelined, Thorkildsen was ranked no lower than No. 6 by T&FN for eight straight years beginning in 2004, and his five No. 1s are behind only legends Janis Lusis (9) and Jan Zelezny (7).
 

Men’s JavelinPersonal Best
Julius Yego (Kenya)304-2(92.72)
Andreas Thorkildsen (Norway)300-6(91.59)
Keshorn Walcott (Trinidad)295-9(90.16)
Thomas Rohler (Germany)292-10(89.27)
Ihab Abdelrahman (Egypt)292-8(89.21)
Vitezslav Vesely (Czech Republic)289-10(88.34)
Johannes Vetter (Germany)280-2(85.40)

Scoring Athletes Shifts from Three Athletes to Six

By Scott Bush

The IAAF Diamond League announced a change in how points are awarded this year. Instead of the top three finishers in each scored event receiving points, six athletes will earn points this year. 

The change in point structure should add some additional drama in the Diamond League race. While a subtle change, the more scoring athletes should benefit the overall depth of competition from the first meet of the season to the final meeting.



Air Lavillenie Cleared for Pre Classic Takeoff

(The 42nd Prefontaine Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 27-28 at historic Hayward Field.)

 
            Eugene, Oregon – World record holder Renaud Lavillenie leads a star-studded pole vault field at the Prefontaine Classic, where all eight of the world’s best are lining up on the road to the Rio Olympics.
 
            Renaud Lavillenie has etched his name among the best-ever pole vaulters.  One of only two members of the 20-foot club (along with the legendary Sergey Bubka), he has dominated the event like few others with a 6th straight No. 1 world ranking byTrack & Field News.  Among contemporaries from all events, Lavillenie’s record shines  brightest as the only 6-time winner of the IAAF Diamond Race (no one else has won more than 4 in any event).

            Still, Lavillenie seeks history on another major level – the London Olympic gold medalist can become only the second two-time Olympic champion in this event with a victory in Rio in August. (American Bob Richards won 1952 and 1956 Olympic golds.)  The French star, 29, has won the last three Pre Classics, capped by last year’s clearance of 19-10¼ (6.05) – his best outdoor vault anywhere.
 
            Lavillenie’s competition at the Pre Classic will be as good as it gets.  The 8-man field consists of all of the top 8 from the 2015 T&FN world rankings, with each of Lavillenie’s opponents having at least one career win over him.

            The youngest is Shawn Barber, who won last year’s World Championships gold medal in Beijing at age 21.  That victory made him the youngest world champion in the event since Bubka, who won the inaugural feature in 1983 at age 19.  Barber kicked off 2016 by becoming the youngest-ever member of the elite 6-meter club (19-8¼).

            Barber turned pro last August after his World Championships gold in Beijing, with a year of collegiate eligibility remaining at the University of Akron.  He set four collegiate indoor records last year, swept the NCAA indoor and outdoor titles and was a finalist for The Bowerman Award.  Despite a short international season, he was ranked No. 2 in the world last year by T&FN.

            Born in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Barber is a dual Canadian and American citizen who competes for Canada.  He graduated from Kingwood Park High near Houston, Texas, where as a senior he set the still-standing national high school record of 18-3½ (5.57) in 2012.  Barber will turn 22 on May 27, the day before the Pre Classic vault is held.

            Sam Kendricks is rated as America’s best hope for an Olympic medal, a feat last seen in 2004 when the U.S. went 1-2.  Now 23, Kendricks has won the last three U.S. titles (two outdoor, one indoor) and at No. 7 last year is the youngest American to rank among the T&FN  world top 10 in this event since Joe Dial in 1985.  As a collegian, the Mississippi star had memorable battles with Barber, especially in 2014 when they twice went 1-2 at nationals (Barber winning the indoor, Kendricks the outdoor).

            Raphael Holzdeppe of Germany has won two major medals over Lavillenie.  His most important was to win the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, and he added a silver at Beijing last summer ahead of Lavillenie’s co-bronze.  Holzdeppe, 26, has ranked among the world’s top 5 by T&FN  three times, topped by a No. 3 in 2013.  He is a former World Junior champion and record holder.

            Poland’s Pavel Wojciechowski and Piotr Lisek shared bronze medals with Lavillenie at Beijing last summer.  Wojciechowski, 26, won the 2011 World Championships in Daegu as a 22-year-old and last year enjoyed his best vaulting since the ’11 season, when he became the highest-flying Pole at 19-4¾ (5.91) and was ranked No. 2 in the world by T&FN.  Lisek, 23, was ranked No. 3 in the world last year by T&FN.

            Konstantinos Filippidis of Greece is the reigning world indoor champion and was ranked No. 4 in the world by T&FN  last year.  The 29-year-old has ranked among world’s top 6 every year since 2011, led by a No. 2 in 2014.

            Brazil’s Thiago Braz is only 22 and will be an obvious crowd favorite at the Rio Olympics.  He won the 2012 World Junior championships and in 2014 – at age 20 – became Brazil’s best-ever in this event, reaching No. 6 in T&FN’s world rankings.  Last year he scaled 19-5¼ (5.92), a South American record.
 

Men’s Pole VaultPersonal Best
Renaud Lavillenie (France)20-2½(6.16)
Shawn Barber (Canada)19-8¼(6.00)
Raphael Holzdeppe (Germany)19-5¾(5.94)
Thiago Braz (Brazil)19-5¼(5.92)
Konstantinos Filippidis (Greece)19-4¾(5.91)
Pavel Wojciechowski (Poland)19-4¾(5.91)
Piotr Lisek (Poland)19-4¼(5.90)
Sam Kendricks (USA)19-2¾(5.86)