2018 Pre Meet Line up

2018 PREFONTAINE CLASSIC
A DIAMOND LEAGUE EVENT   

2018 DATE:  May 25-26
2018 PREFONTAINE CLASSIC EVENTS:

FRIDAY – 7:30 PM START
MEN
800 METERS*
2-MILE*
POLE VAULT*
JAVELIN THROW

WOMEN
800 METERS NATIONAL*
1500 METERS NATIONAL* 

SATURDAY - 12:30 PM START
MEN
100 METERS*
200 METERS
INTERNATIONAL MILE*
BOWERMAN MILE*
STEEPLECHASE
110 HURDLES
HIGH JUMP
TRIPLE JUMP
SHOT PUT

WOMEN
100 METERS
400 METERS
800 METERS
1500 METERS
5000 METERS
400 METER HURDLES
POLE VAULT

*Additional Event



May 20, 2018

For Immediate Release

History Has Pre Classic's International Mile Circled

(The 44th Pre Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 25-26 at historic Hayward Field.)

Eugene, Oregon – The Prefontaine Classic’s International Mile – born in 2010 after the meet became inundated by interest in its famous Bowerman Mile – is a world-class race featuring established milers as well as rising stars. This year, two of the finishers will be part of some fantastic mile history.

Whoever wins will record the 400th sub-4 mile in Pre Classic meet history.  And whoever finishes in 6th place will own the 500th sub-4 time ever achieved at Hayward Field. 

Even without historical milestones, the field was already tasty with a former two-time winner running for the first time in two years and a high schooler looking for his first sub-4 on the campus that is soon to be his new home.

James Magut, 27, is from Kenya and has only raced five times in the U.S. – all in a mile at the Pre Classic. But he hasn’t finished a race anywhere since he was 5th in the 2016 Kenyan Olympic Trials 1500. He is cautiously returning from injuries that prevented him from even trying to defend his Commonwealth Games 1500 title.

Magut won the 2012 and 2013 International Miles, then ran his PR 3:49.43 for 5th in the first of three Bowerman Miles. Earlier in 2014, he had teamed with three other Kenyans to obliterate the world record in the 4x1500 at the World Relays.

18-year-old Brodey Hasty is sure to capture attention. The high school senior from Brentwood, Tenn., has signed with Oregon and seeks his first sub-4 mile after missing by just 0.05 seconds at the Millrose Games this winter. In March he won his second indoor national high school 2-mile championship.

Kyle Merber, 27, is a Columbia grad who still owns school records in the outdoor 1500 and indoor mile. A four-time Ivy League individual champ for the Lions, Merber has been ranked among the U.S. Top 10 by T&FN every year of his post-collegiate running career. He was the second fastest American miler last year at 3:52.22.

Drew Hunter, 20, ran a PR in the 2016 Bowerman Mile as the local crowd got their first look at the Oregon signee; that summer, however, he changed his mind and turned professional. Hunter lowered his best to 3:56.79 last summer and made the U.S. top 10 list for the first time. In April he won the Boston AA road mile and was runner-up at the Drake Relays.

Four more Americans will be running their first Pre Classic mile.  Izaic Yorks, 24, is this year’s second-fastest miler with an indoor 3:53.40.  The 2016 NCAA 1500 runner-up from Washington is a two-time Pac-12 champion. Henry Wynne, 23, won the 2016 NCAA Indoor mile for Virginia and lowered his mile best this winter to 3:55.23. Riley Masters, 28, is a former NCAA  All-American from Oklahoma who started at Maine. He won the U.S. road mile title in April and PRed in the 5k at 13:16.97 in the Jordan Invitational earlier this month. Blake Haney, 22, is a redshirt junior at the University of Oregon. Haney has an outdoor best of 3:58.79 set last year, and the 7-time All American has already run 3:59.01 indoors in 2018.

Morocco’s Fouad El Kaam, 29, was a finalist in last year’s World Championships 1500 and won the 2016 African Championships. He was 5th in last year’s International Mile and set his mile PR of 3:54.21 at the 2014 Pre Classic. Right behind him in 2017 was Australia's Luke Mathews, 22, who like El Kaam, set his lifetime best in the race.

A note of interest for mile fans: Norway's wunderkindJakob Ingebrigtsen, has been added to the field in the Bowerman Mile after his 3:39.06 win at Stanford. Last year as a 16-year-old, the youngest of 3 brothers set a new age record for the mile of 3:56.29.

International MilePersonal Best 
James Magut (Kenya)3:49.43 
Kyle Merber (USA)3:52.22 
Izaic Yorks (USA)3:53.40 
Fouad El Kaam (Morocco)3:54.21 
Luke Mathews (AUS)3:54.53 
Henry Wynne (USA)3:55.23 
Riley Masters (USA)3:56.15 
Drew Hunter (USA)3:56.79 
Blake Haney (USA)3:58.79 
Brodey Hasty (USA)4:00.05


May 16, 2018

For Immediate Release

Gatlin & Coleman Lead an American 1-2 Punch in Pre Classic 100


Eugene, Oregon – Who will the world’s top sprinter be this year? With a track friendly to fast times and eight lanes filled with prime contenders, the Prefontaine Classic will go a long way towards deciding that honor.

Christian Coleman was last year’s fastest on the watch at 9.82 and this year obliterated the indoor world record at 60 meters. He was a whisker behind Justin Gatlin at last year’s World Championships, where legend Usain Bolt was just a bronze medalist in a dazzling finish.

Christian Coleman, 22, is lightning quick and ready to make his 2018 debut in the century after thrashing the 60 meters indoors with the three fastest times ever plus winning the World Indoor gold. The Georgia native won The Bowerman Award last year as the nation’s top collegian. He won a rare sprint double/double of NCAA titles – the 60/200 indoors and 100/200 outdoors. The only other man to do so was Gatlin, who saw Coleman break all of his Tennessee school records.

Justin Gatlin, 36, is a rarity in sprinting, racing with the best at an age when most are retired. He dialed a perfect race last year in London, winning the World Championships with his fastest of the year at 9.92 to become the oldest gold medalist in the event by two years. A year earlier in Rio he was silver medalist – the oldest medalist again by two years and the best by an American of any age since a 22-year-old Gatlin was gold medalist in the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Gatlin has both the most Pre Classic wins (five) and Diamond League Trophies (three) in this event. His career collection of major medals in all events totals 15. He has been the top-ranked American for the last six years by Track & Field News.

Great Britain’s Chijindu Ujah, 24, won last year’s Diamond League Trophy in Zürich and was ranked No. 4 in the world by T&FN – the highest by a Briton since Dwain Chambers was No. 1 in 2002. “CJ” missed making the London 100 final by one spot but a week later led off the British 4x100 with a lead they wouldn’t relinquish en route to a national record 37.47 that was just ahead of the American team featuring Gatlin and Coleman.

Reece Prescod, 22, didn’t even make the UK 4x100 quartet last year, but the national champion was the only Brit in the 100 final in London. He PRed in the heats at 10.03 and nearly matched it last week in Shanghai, winning the event’s first Diamond League race at 10.04 in the rain.

China’s Bingtian Su, 27, is the closest anyone has come to catching Coleman this year, earning his first individual medal with a silver in the World Indoor 60. In 2015, he finished 3rd in the Pre Classic, becoming the first from China to run sub-10 at 9.99. It was a time he equaled in the semifinals at the World Championships in Beijing, qualifying him for the final to the crowd’s obvious delight. He later ran the third leg on the silver medal-winning 4x100 team in Beijing as well as the 4tg place teams in Rio (China’s highest finish in the Olympics) and last year’s Worlds. He looked like a repeat winner in the Shanghai Diamond League 100 last week but was edged by Prescod.

Ben Youssef Meité, 31, was a finalist in the Rio Olympics, Côte d’Ivoire’s first in the 100. He was runner-up to Ujah in the Diamond League final last year as both ran 9.97. He was world ranked No. 8 last year by T&FN after being No. 7 in 2016, the year he set his national record of 9.96.

American Ronnie Baker, 24, won last year’s Pre Classic with a wind-aided 9.86. This year he is the world’s fastest with a PR 9.97 win at the Mt. SAC Relays a week after joining Gatlin and Coleman on the season’s best 4x100 team thus far at 38.08. Baker, a two-time NCAA Indoor 60 champ while at Texas Christian, won the U.S. Indoor 60 title last year and was bronze medalist in March behind Coleman at the World Indoor.

Isiah Young, 28, is better known in the 200, in which he made his first major final at last summer’s World Championships and his first U.S. national team for the 2012 Olympics, also in London. This year the former NCAA All-American at Mississippi has focused more on the 100, clocking a wind-aided 9.92 and winning the Drake Relays. He set his legal best of 9.97 in the heats of last year’s U.S. championships.
 
Men’s 100 MetersPersonal Best
Justin Gatlin (USA)9.74 
Christian Coleman (USA)9.82 
Chijindu (CJ) Ujah (Great Britain)9.96 
Ben Youssef Meité (Côte d’Ivoire)9.96 
Ronnie Baker (USA)9.97 
Isiah Young (USA)9.97 
Bingtian Su (China)9.99 
Reece Prescod (Great Britain)10.03


May 14, 2018

For Immediate Release

Phyllis Francis Leads Olympic-Sized Pre Classic Women's 400


Eugene, Oregon – World champion Phyllis Francis will recognize every other runner in the Prefontaine Classic women’s 400 – she’s been on the podium with each of them.

Francis is set for her 2018 outdoor debut on her former home track at Hayward Field. She will be joined by the meet’s best collection ever, as a field full of Olympians includes Rio gold medalist Shaunae Miller-Uibo and recent World Indoor Championships gold medalist Courtney Okolo.

The superb field will also include the most decorated athlete in combined Olympics and World Championships history – Allyson Felix – who owns 25 major medals, 17 of which are gold. Both she and No. 1-ranked Miller-Uibo are the only to have earned IAAF Diamond League Trophies in the 400 and 200 in the same year.

Francis is one of an impressive list of Oregon stars making triumphant returns to Hayward Field, joining Bowerman Award winner Raeyvn Rogers and Edward Cheserek, owner of a record 17 NCAA titles.

Phyllis Francis, 26, stunned the track world last August with a perfectly timed PR of 49.92 to win London’s World Championships over Felix and Miller-Uibo. It remains her only victory over either star who have combined to rank No. 1 in the Track & Field Newsworld rankings the last three years.

Francis was a two-time national Junior Olympic 800 champ from New York with an impressive 2:04.83 PR before stepping foot on the Oregon campus. A move to the one-lapper resulted in four straight NCAA outdoor finals, plus an indoor title as a senior in 2014 when she set an indoor American record. Before her super season last year, Francis was on the U.S. team in 2015 and 2016, making the World and Olympic finals both times and earning medals on the powerful U.S. 4x400 team.

Four-time Olympian Allyson Felix, 32, is welcome anywhere, but perhaps nowhere like Hayward Field. She has been part of more memories to count, but certainly all three of her U.S. 400 titles are on the list. Felix also owns the fastest 200 PR in the field at 21.69 – the fastest ever on U.S. soil winning the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials at Hayward Field.

At the 2012 London Games, Felix became the first women’s triple gold medalist since Florence Griffith Joyner in 1988, winning her first individual gold in her signature 200. Only a breathtaking finish by Miller-Uibo prevented Felix from a Rio 400 gold. Even with that Olympic silver, Felix has the most Olympic medals by a woman with nine along with Merlene Ottey. Including men, only Carl Lewis (10) has more Olympic medals in current events among Americans.

Shaunae Miller-Uibo, 24, was flag bearer for the Bahamas at the Rio Olympics and later won gold with a memorable finish over Felix in the 400. She continued carrying the torch last year, matching Felix as the only 200/400 winner of the Diamond League. Miller-Uibo won the 2016 Pre Classic 400, the last to include American record holder Sanya Richards-Ross. She preceded Francis as NCAA Indoor champion in 2013 for Georgia.

This year Miller-Uibo is untouchable, winning April’s Commonwealth Games and Friday’s Shanghai Diamond League 200s in meet records. In February, she equaled the 300 indoor world best of 35.45 at the Millrose Games in New York.

Courtney Okolo, 24, won her first U.S. title in February, then followed with her first individual gold medal at the World Indoors in England in an indoor PR 50.55, plus a gold-medal anchor in the 4x400. She led off the U.S. gold medal 4x400 team in Rio with a 50.2 split.

The Dallas native first world-ranked in 2014 as a Texas sophomore, but rocked the world in 2016 by setting a collegiate record 49.71 and sweeping the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor titles en route to winning The Bowerman Award.

Salwa Eid Naser
 of Bahrain will turn 20 on May 23 and was the silver medalist in last summer’s World Championships. She will be competing in the U.S. for the first time, but it’s not her first invitation to Eugene. Naser was one of five athletes selected by decathlon world record holder Ashton Eaton from the 2015 World Youth Championships to participate in an IAAF-sponsored special training camp in March 2016. Naser, a semifinalist at Rio, was unable to attend.

Shakima Wimbley, 23, earned silver at the recent World Indoors and was last year’s NCAA Indoor champ at Miami. She has PRed in the both the 400 and 200 this year and has gold medals for four U.S. teams, including the 2014 World Juniors at Hayward Field.

Jamaica’s Stephenie Ann McPherson, 29, earned the Commonwealth Games bronze last month after winning gold in 2014. She was ranked No. 3 in the world in 2016 by T&FN, the third time as the top-ranked Jamaican. A member of the 2015 gold-medal winning 4x400 team for Jamaica in the Beijing World Championships, she finished 4th in the recent World Indoor Championships.
 
Women’s 400 MetersPersonal Best
Allyson Felix (USA)49.26 
Shaunae Miller-Uibo (Bahamas)49.44 
Courtney Okolo (USA)49.71 
Salwa Eid Naser (Bahrain)49.88 
Phyllis Francis (USA)49.92 
Stephenie Ann McPherson (Jamaica)49.92 
Shakima Wimbley (USA)50.18 


May 9, 2018
For Immediate Release

Slugfest in the Bowerman Mile at Pre Classic


Eugene, Oregon – The world’s top two current milers will bring their rivalry back to the Prefontaine Classic as headliners for the Bowerman Mile, all set to be fast again.

Elijah Manangoi and Timothy Cheruiyot led a 1-2 Kenyan sweep in last year’s World Championships 1500 meters in London and again as recently as April’s Commonwealth Games in Australia, but they are far from the only great racers in the event that annually is the Pre Classic’s finale.

Also returning are the three fastest milers in Pre history, topped by two-time Bowerman Mile winner Ayanleh Souleiman – whose meet record of 3:47.32 is the fastest ever on U.S. soil.

Matthew Centrowitz is ready to return to Hayward Field for the first time since winning the Olympic gold medal in Rio. He is the fastest American miler ever on this track, where he trained for Oregon.

Two youngsters debuting in the Bowerman Mile— Samuel Tefera and Jakob Ingebrigsten—will certainly attract attention. Tefera, just 18, will be running his first race in the U.S. In March, he became the youngest gold medalist at the World Indoor Championships 1500 in England. In last year’s Pre Classic International Mile, Ingebrigsten became the youngest-ever sub-4 miler at age 16.

Elijah Manangoi, 25, was the fastest and best last year in the 1500, winning World Championships gold in London after a silver in 2015 at Beijing. He was world ranked No. 1 last year by Track & Field News and lowered his 1500 best to 3:28.80 to become 9th-fastest ever (and 5th-fastest Kenyan). He made the powerful Kenyan Olympic team in Rio, but was injured in the heats.

Manangoi was principle in one of the most exciting Bowerman Miles ever in last year’s Pre Classic. He and countryman Ronald Kwemoi battled to the closest finish in meet history, Manangoi just 0.04 seconds behind the year’s fastest mile with a PR 3:49.08 (Kwemoi is out of this year's meet due to a knee injury).

Timothy Cheruiyot, 22, has only three years of major racing, but he ended the last two seasons with victories in the IAAF Diamond League Final. Silver medalist in last year’s London Worlds, he was only 19 when he made the 2015 Beijing final, finishing 7th

Cheruiyot won his first Kenyan championship last summer, then ran 3:31.05 at Nairobi’s high altitude – a time faster than half the field has bettered at sea level. In last year’s Bowerman Mile he was third in a PR 3:49.64 – his second PR at Hayward Field after a 2015 3rd-place in the Pre Classic’s International Mile.

Ayanleh Souleiman, 25, of Djibouti was just 0.05 seconds from a medal in Rio. He’s gold at Hayward Field with two Bowerman Mile wins, including the fastest mile ever on U.S. soil at 3:47.32. He won gold at the 2014 World Indoors in the 1500 and he has impressive 800 talent, taking bronze in the 2013 Worlds and owning a PR of 1:42.97.

No. 2 on the all-time Bowerman list at 3:47.88 is Kenya’s Silas Kiplagat. At 28 he is running his best since winning Diamond League Trophies in 2012 & ’14. He was world ranked No. 3 by T&FN last year. Kiplagat won the 2013 Bowerman Mile and is the race’s veteran with seven Hayward Field appearances, including three under 3:50, topped by a 3:47.88 that is second only to Souleiman’s meet record.
 
Ethiopian record holder Aman Wote is the field’s oldest at 34 and trails only Souleiman and Kiplagat on the Bowerman list. He was world ranked No. 7 by T&FN last year – his first in the Top 10 since 2014 – and has raced in the Bowerman Mile five times, finishing 3rd three times including his best 3:48.60 in the epic 2014 race which saw 6 break 3:50. He just missed medaling at the World Indoor 1500 in March, taking 4th.

Matthew Centrowitz, 28, will have a homefield advantage like no other in the field.  His return to the Pre Classic has been delayed by illness and injury the last two years, and local fans are eagerly awaiting one of their own who in Rio became the first American Olympic gold medalist since 1908 in the men’s 1500 meters.

His success at Hayward Field includes his NCAA title for Oregon, three of his four outdoor U.S. titles, and the fastest mile by an American on the track where both his dad (Matt Centrowitz) and coach (Alberto Salazar) starred and won Pre Classic titles. Centrowitz’s mile PR of 3:50.53 from the 2014 Bowerman Mile is the fastest ever run by an American at Hayward Field. In 2016, his 3:50.63 to win the Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games was the world’s fastest that year and since 2013 he has recorded the three fastest miles anywhere by an American.

Clayton Murphy, 23, was last year’s fastest American miler but his best glory so far has come in the 800, where his Rio Olympic bronze was the first by an American since Johnny Gray in 1992. His 800 PR of 1:42.93 is best in the field and No. 3 ever by an American. Murphy won the NCAA 1500 at Hayward Field for Akron in 2016 with the fastest time since 1987.

Ben Blankenship, 29, was also a Rio Olympic finalist, finishing 8th in the 1500 on his first U.S. team. He improved to 5th in March’s World Indoor Championships. A former International Mile winner, he has PRed in both of his Bowerman Mile races. He was a two-time Big Ten indoor mile champ while at Minnesota.

Craig Engels, 24, will be making his Pre Classic debut.  He was 3rd in last year’s NCAA 1500 for Mississippi and made his first U.S. team this past indoor season, taking 7th at the World Indoors. He was the Pan-American Junior gold medalist in 2013 after his freshman season at North Carolina State. Engels now trains with the Nike Oregon Project and receives positive compliments on his mustache, which some say resembles Pre’s.

Ethiopia’s Samuel Tefera, 18, ran his first indoor race in January and set an indoor world Junior (U20) 1500 best of 3:36.05. In March he earned his first medal of any kind, gold at the World Indoor Championships in England. He has never run the mile distance, but clocked 3:33.78 at 1500 last summer as a 17-year-old before making the heats of the London World Championships. Last month he ran 3:36.1 in the high altitude of Addis Ababa, winning his first national title by over two seconds.

Even younger is 17-year-old Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway. He was 16 when he smashed the 4-minute barrier for the first time in last year’s International Mile, joining older brothers Henrik and Filip as sub-4 milers on the same day for the first time. He went on to win a special U20 Dream Mile at the Bislett Games in Oslo in 3:56.29, his current PR, and the European Junior 5k gold. Showing his versatility, Ingebrigsten also competed in the heats of the steeplechase at the London World Championships. Last week he won the Jordan Invitational 1500 at Stanford in a PR 3:39.06.

Thiago Do Rosario André, 22, was 7th in last year’s World Championships 800, where he has a best of 1:44.81. He torched the Pre Classic International Mile with a meet-record 3:51.99, winning by over a second with the second-fastest time ever by a Brazilian. In 2014, he was 4th in both the 800 and 1500 in the World Junior (U20) Championships at Hayward Field.

Vincent Kibet, 27, of Kenya was No. 6 in the T&FN world rankings last year. He was 4th in last year’s Bowerman Mile with a PR, but made more notice with his 4th in 2016 when he went from 7th to 4th in the wild homestretch finish. He was a finalist in the World Indoor in England in March and Portland in 2016.

Another Kenyan returning is Bethwell Birgen, 29, who PRed in his first two races in the Bowerman Mile.  Birgen earned his first major medal in March in the 3k at the World Indoors.

Sadik Mikhou, 27, of Bahrain will be making his U.S. and mile debuts. Born in Morocco, he was 6th in last year’s World Championships 1500 and owns a best of 3:31.34.
 
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, whom he recruited and guided to the Olympics. 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 related statistics is available at PreClassicMiles. Since 2009, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association has named its highest award, The Bowerman, to the top male and female track & field athlete.
 
Men’s Bowerman MilePersonal Best 
Ayanleh Souleiman (Djibouti)3:47.32
Silas Kiplagat (Kenya)3:47.88
Aman Wote (Ethiopia)3:48.60
Elijah Manangoi (Kenya)3:49.08
Timothy Cheruiyot (Kenya)3:49.64
Bethwell Birgen (Kenya)3:50.42
Matthew Centrowitz (USA)3:50.53
Vincent Kibet (Kenya)3:51.17
Clayton Murphy (USA)3:51.99
Thiago Do Rosario André (Brazil)3:51.99
Ben Blankenship (USA)3:53.04
Craig Engels (USA)3:53.93
Jakob Ingebrigtsen (Norway)3:56.29
Sadik Mikhou (Bahrain)None (3:31.34 1500)
Samuel Tefera (Ethiopia)None (3:33.78 1500)


May 7, 2018
For Immediate Release

Dibaba, Obiri Ready to Set Off Dynamite Pre Classic Women's 5K


Eugene, Oregon – Reigning world champions Genzebe Dibaba and Hellen Obiri headline a titanic matchup in the Prefontaine Classic women’s 5000 meters.

Obiri won last year’s World Championships and IAAF Diamond League Trophy in the 5000, but Dibaba has come back from an off year with an historic 1500/3000 double-gold performance at the World Indoor Championships in March. They are two of only five women to break 14:20 in the 5k and both have set multiple Pre Classic records.

Their clash of skills includes speed – Dibaba even owns the 1500 world record – and they will have unique company in Sifan Hassan, last year’s world leader in the 1500 who won gold at the 2016 Portland World Indoors and now trains in Oregon. This will be the first time all three will race together at the 5k distance.

Genzebe Dibaba, 27, owns seven world records or bests and her dominance is well known at Hayward Field, where last year she won the Pre Classic 5k for a second time by over 10 seconds. In 2015 – the year she was named Woman of the Year by Track & Field News – she outran the pacesetters and clocked 14:19.76, the fastest ever run in the U.S.

The Ethiopian has roared back to life after the 2017 season found her without a major medal for the first time since 2011. In March, she became the first 1500/3k double gold medalist at the World Indoors. She has yet to lose this year and even owns the world’s best 1500 time at 3:57.45 from the indoor season.

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, the year she set the still-standing 5k WR of 14:11.15. Both sisters are part of the Pre Classic magic – neither has lost in a combined five appearances.

Hellen Obiri, 28, is the Kenyan record holder in the 5k, an event she took up seriously only after childbirth in 2015. Her PR of 14:18.37 puts her at No. 5 on the all-time world list. A 1500 specialist with a bronze from the 2013 Moscow Worlds, she jumped to the 5k in 2016. She now has an Olympic silver from Rio and last year’s World Championships gold. Last month she won the Commonwealth Games 5k.

Obiri can tangle with the best – she owns a career 8-7 head-to-head record against Dibaba over all distances (dating back to 2011), and in the 3k her 8:20.68 PR is the Diamond League record and the fastest run in the new millennium.

Obiri's record at the Pre Classic is as good as it comes – in four races at Hayward Field she has three wins (all PRs) and her only loss was to last year’s 1500 world champ, Faith Kipyegon, who this year is on maternity leave.

Sifan Hassan, 25, has successfully entered new territory again. Born in Ethiopia, she has earned all five of her major medals as a Dutch citizen. After her first gold in the 2016 Portland World Indoor 1500, she later changed her training address to be with the Nike Oregon Project – with room for a new event.

The 5k may never be the same. She PRed in last year’s Pre Classic and earned bronze at the World Championships. Hassan’s range is impressive – she was world ranked by T&FN at No. 2 in the 1500 and No. 5 in the 800 last year (plus No. 3 in her 5k debut). Three weeks before her World 5k bronze, she lowered her 800 PR to 1:56.81. Three weeks after the London 5k bronze, she finished as runner-up in the Diamond League 1500 to Kipyegon. In March she joined Dibaba as a double medalist in the 1500 and 3k.

As usual, the Pre Classic women’s 5k also brings an exciting cross-section of talent from around the world, some making their debut at the distance and/or at Hayward Field and some returning to a place of past success.

Two who have won NCAA titles at Hayward Field include 26-year-old Marielle Hall and South Africa’s Dominique Scott, 25.  Hall – the lone American in the field – won the NCAA 5k in 2014 as a senior at Texas. She twice made the U.S. team at Hayward Field – in 2015 in the 5k and in 2016 for the Rio 10k. Scott last appeared at Hayward Field with a 5k/10k double championship in her final races for Arkansas at the 2016 NCAA. She has set PRs this year in the 1500 and 3k, where she was a finalist in the World Indoor.

Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi, 25, of Kenya was 5th in last year’s World Championships and debuted at No. 6 in the T&FN world rankings. She was silver medalist earlier this year in the African cross-country championships and the Commonwealth Games 5k.

Letesenbet Gidey, 20, made the powerful Ethiopian team as a teenager last year, finishing 11th in London and world ranking No. 8 by T&FN. She lowered her 3k PR to 8:30.96 for 5th in Friday’s Doha Diamond League meet. This will be her first race in the U.S.

Kenya’s Lilian Kasait Rengeruk, 21, was runner-up in last year’s Pre Classic 5k – chopping almost a minute off her PR – and won her first Kenyan 5k track title, ending the season No. 9 in the T&FN world rankings. She was bronze medalist in the World Cross Country Championships last year. The World Youth gold medalist at 3k in 2013, Rengeruk was 3k silver medalist behind American Mary Cain at the 2014 World Junior Championships at Hayward Field.

Alice Aprot Nawowuna, 24, of Kenya just missed medaling in Rio and last year’s World Championships, finishing 4th each time in the 10k, where her best of 29:53.51 is the 5th-fastest time ever. She was silver medalist in last year’s World Cross Country Championships. This will be her first race in the U.S.

Sweden’s Meraf Bahta, 28, was also a finalist in Rio and last year’s World Championships – in the 1500, where she has run 4:00.49. In the 5k, the Eritrean-born Bahta won the 2014 European Championships and took silver in 2016. A double finalist at the World Indoor Championships, she won last week’s Payton Jordan Invitational 5k at Stanford after taking the 10k title last year.

21-year-old Konstanze Klosterhalfen is Germany’s 2nd-fastest-ever 1500 runner with a best of 3:58.92 and will be running her first race in the U.S. A finalist in the World Indoor 3k, she was silver medalist in last year’s European Indoor 1500 and bronze medalist in the 2016 World Junior 3k.

Gudaf Tsegay, 21, was announced earlier as part of the Pre 1500 field, but the Ethiopian has switched to the 5k for her track debut at the distance. She was silver medalist in the 2014 World Juniors at Hayward Field and earned bronze at the 2016 World Indoors in Portland, both in the 1500. She has a 1500 PR of 3:59.55 and has been world ranked No. 6 by T&FN the last two years.

Rina Nabeshima, 24, is Japan’s 10th-fastest-ever 5k runner and ran her PR 15:11.83 in the London heats in her first major world appearance. She has raced the last two years in the Payton Jordan Invitational 5k at Stanford and will be racing for the first time at Hayward Field.

Youngest in the field is 19-year-old Fantu Worku of Ethiopia who will be debuting in the 5k in her first U.S. race. The 2016 World Junior silver medalist at 1500 was the Ethiopian 1500 champ last year and ran her PR 4:05.81 in the London heats. She was 6th in the World Indoor 3k in March.

Women’s 5000 MetersPersonal Best
Genzebe Dibaba (Ethiopia)14:15.41 
Hellen Obiri (Kenya)14:18.37 
Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi (Kenya)14:32.82 
Letesenbet Gidey (Ethiopia)14:33.32 
Lilian Kasait Rengeruk (Kenya)14:36.80 
Alice Aprot Nawowuna (Kenya)14:39.56 
Sifan Hassan (Netherlands)14:41.24 
Meraf Bahta (Sweden)14:49.95 
Konstanze Klosterhalfen (Germany)14:51.38 
Marielle Hall (USA)15:06.05 
Rina Nabeshima (Japan)15:11.83 
Dominique Scott (South Africa)15:20.10 
Gudaf Tsegay (Ethiopia)None (15:37 road) 
Fantu Worku (Ethiopia)None (8:39.55 3k) 


April 25, 2018
For Immediate Release

Simpson Takes Center Stage in Pre Classic Women's 1500


Eugene, Oregon – Jenny Simpson leads the Prefontaine Classic women’s 1500 meters at Hayward Field, a track where she and legendary Mary Slaney are the only Americans ever to crack the 4-minute barrier.

Simpson, the silver medalist from last year’s World Championships, will have no trouble recognizing this year’s Pre Classic field as every other entrant competed in Rio, where she became the first-ever American to medal in this event, capturing the bronze.

Simpson, 31, has been a world-ranking force since 2011, when she won gold at the Daegu World Championships. It began an amazing 1500-meter career after giving up the steeplechase, where she crafted a dominant stretch as American record holder while winning three NCAA titles at Colorado.

In the 1500 she has few rivals among Americans. Her eight sub-4 races matches Slaney for the most by an American and she remains the only U.S. athlete to have run sub-4 twice at Hayward Field – her 3:58.28 in 2014 still the fastest by an American on U.S. soil.

Simpson’s championship career includes a second World silver medal from 2013 in Moscow, giving her four major medals (only Regina Jacobs can claim as many as two among Americans). She added the 2014 Diamond League Trophy and last year became the second-fastest U.S. miler at 4:19.98 behind Slaney’s 4:16.71 in 1983.

Laura Muir, who will turn 25 on May 9, is the fastest in the field with a British record 3:55.22. She made two finals last year in London, taking 4th in a wild 1500 finish (just .07 seconds short of a medal) before a 6th in the 5k. The 2016 Diamond League 1500 winner is coming off a double-medal performance at the World Indoor Championships in March, earning the 1500 silver and 3k bronze.

Winny Chebet is one of the most exciting athletes in the field. The 27-year-old Kenyan only took up 1500 racing at the international level in 2016, when the former 800-meter specialist lowered her best from a 4:14.4 at altitude to 4:02.66. Last year she joined the sub-4 club at 3:59.16 and made her first Track & Field News world rankings at No. 3. A former World Junior 800 silver medalist in 2006, she was 5th in the World Indoor 1500 in March.

Dawit Seyaum of Ethiopia is no stranger to Oregon fans. The 21-year-old won gold at the 2014 World Junior Championships held at Hayward Field. In 2016, she was the silver medalist at the World Indoor Championships in Portland. Runner-up in the 2016 Pre Classic, Seyaum was a finalist in Rio and the 2015 Beijing World Championships, where she was 4th, and is Ethiopia’s third-fastest ever at 3:58.09.

Poland’s Angelika Cichocka, 30, was silver medalist at the 2014 World Indoor Championships in the 800. Last year she made both the 800 and 1500 finals in the London World Championships and her first T&FN world rankings at No. 9 in the 1500. She is the reigning European champion in the 1500 and Polish mile record holder at 4:19.58.

Rababe Arafi, 27, of Morocco is also experienced at both the 800 and 1500. She made both finals at the 2015 World Championships, just missing a medal in the 800 at 4th. She set her 1500 PR of 4:01.75 in last year’s Pre Classic and was ranked No. 10 in the world by T&FN, the same position she earned in 2015.

Laura Weightman, 26, is about as close to sub-4 as one can get at 4:00.17.  The Briton was 6th in last year’s crazy finish at the World Championships for her best major finish after also making the Rio and London Olympic finals. Earlier this month she took bronze in the Commonwealth Games in the 5k.

Brenda Martinez, 28, was last year’s top ranker in the U.S. behind Simpson, a year after joining her on the U.S. Olympic team in the 1500. She finished 5th in the 2016 Portland World Indoor 1500 and is a former NCAA runner-up while at UC Riverside. But the 10th-fastest American 1500 runner ever at 4:00.94 has had more success in the 800. In fact, the bronze medal Martinez earned in the 800 at the 2013 World Championships was recently elevated to silver – the best by an American in the two-lapper. Her 800 PR of 1:57.91 is fastest in the field.

Kate Grace, 29, was on the last two U.S. major teams, the World 1500 last year and as a finalist in the Olympic 800 in 2016 after winning her first national title at the U.S. Olympic trials. She was a six-time Heptagonals champ while at Yale and last year lowered her 1500 PR to 4:03.59 in the Pre Classic.

Shelby Houlihan, 25, is a former NCAA 1500 champ from Arizona State who set her 4:03.39 PR in the 2016 Pre Classic. Last year’s U.S. 5k champ made her second-straight major final and nearly cracked the 15-minute mark in the London heats. In March, she made two finals at the World Indoors, finishing 5th in the 3k before coming back for 4th in the 1500. She had qualified for the Worlds by winning both races at the USATF Indoor Championships.

Australian Linden Hall, 26, was 4th in the Commonwealth Games after winning her first national title in February. The three-time NCAA finalist for Florida State finished as high as 3rd at Hayward Field and she set her 1500 PR of 4:01.78 in the 2016 Pre Classic.

Women’s 1500 MetersPersonal Best
Laura Muir (Great Britain)3:55.22 
Jenny Simpson (USA)3:57.22 
Dawit Seyaum (Ethiopia)3:58.09 
Winny Chebet (Kenya)3:59.16 
Laura Weightman (Great Britain)4:00.17 
Brenda Martinez (USA)4:00.94 
Angelika Cichocka (Poland)4:01.61 
Rababe Arafi (Morocco)4:01.75 
Linden Hall (Australia)4:01.78 
Shelby Houlihan (USA)4:03.39 
Kate Grace (USA)4:03.59 


April 23, 2018

For Immediate Release

Kipruto, Jager Ready to Rock Again in Pre Classic Steeplechase


Eugene, Oregon – The world’s two fastest steeplechasers since the Rio Olympics top a dazzling field at the Prefontaine Classic.

Conseslus Kipruto and American record holder Evan Jager will duel once again, joined by a stacked list that includes 8 of the top 10 from the Track & Field News world rankings, including the top 6.

The event traditionally dominated by Kenya will feature two other No. 1 rankers to give the Pre Classic every IAAF Diamond Trophy winner since its 2010 inception.

Conseslus Kipruto, 23, owns gold medals from Rio and last year’s World Championships and has medaled in every international championships he’s started dating back to the 2011 World Youth Championships.  He kicked off the year earlier this month with a world-leading 8:10.08 from his first Commonwealth Games – the fastest ever achieved before the month of May.

Kipruto – a three-time Diamond Trophy winner – was only 18 when he won his first Pre Classic race in 2013 in a dramatic finish with two-time Olympic gold medalist Ezekiel Kemboi.  Kemboi crossed the finish line first but was disqualified for shoving, giving Kipruto the win.

Evan Jager, 29, is America’s best steeplechaser and has been since first taking up the event in 2012.  The Illinois native who trains in Oregon with the Bowerman Track Club recorded last year’s world-leading time of 8:01.29 – his fastest since his third American record of 8:00.45 in 2015.

Jager’s Rio silver was the best Olympic finish in this event by an American since Horace Ashenfelter won gold in 1952, and his bronze in London at last year’s World Championships was the best yet by an American.  His current streak of 6 U.S. titles is the longest since Henry Marsh won 7 in 1981-87.

Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali, 22, was the silver medalist in last year’s World Championships after just missing a medal in Rio with a 4th-place finish. He was the closest last year to beating Kipruto. El Bakkali will be racing in the U.S. for the first time since a 4th-place finish at the 2014 World Junior Championships at Hayward Field.

Jairus Birech won the first of his two Diamond League trophies as a 21-year-old in 2014. Now 25, the Kenyan has twice broken the 8-minute barrier and is the field’s second fastest at 7:58.41. Birech – world-ranked every year by T&FN since he was 19 – owns Hayward Field’s second-fastest time ever with his 8:01.83 from the 2015 Pre Classic.

Paul Kipsiele Koech is history’s third-fastest ever at 7:54.31 and no one has cracked the 8-minute barrier more times than his 9 such clockings. After a season of marathoning, the 36-year-old is returning to the steeplechase, where he was ranked No. 1 in the world four times by T&FN and No. 6 in 2016, the last of his 15-straight appearances in the top 10. Koech won the Diamond League’s first three trophies and is a two-time Pre Classic winner.

Stanley Kebenei gained U.S. citizenship while he forged an All-American career at Arkansas. The 28-year-old was born in Kenya and made his first U.S. national team last year, finishing 5th at the World Championships as part of an impressive season that found him No. 4 in the T&FN world rankings. Kebenei is No. 2 on the all-time U.S. list at 8:08.30 and was third in February’s U.S. cross-country championships.

Kenya will have four more exciting runners, each a T&FN world ranker, set to make a U.S. debut. Abraham Kibiwott and Amos Kirui followed Kipruto for a Kenyan sweep of the Commonwealth Games medals and are also sub-8:10 runners. Kibiwot, 21, won the 2016 Kenyan nationals and Kirui, 20, was the 2016 World Junior gold medalist. Kibiwot was No. 5 in the 2016 T&FN world rankings, Kirui No. 8 last year.

Benjamin Kigen, 24, is a 3:36 1500-meter runner who debuted in the steeple last year, good enough for No. 6 in the T&FN world rankings but only 4th in the loaded Kenyan World trials. Nicholas Bett, 21, has already made the world rankings twice, both times at No. 9.  Bett was silver medalist at the 2013 World Youth Championships.

Hillary Bor, 28, set six PRs in 2016 and made the Rio Olympic final. The Iowa State grad continued his improvement last year with another national team and becoming No. 6 time in U.S. history at 8:11.82.

Andy Bayer, 28, won the 2012 NCAA 1500 title as a senior at Indiana and almost made the U.S. Olympic team, finishing 4th. Two weeks later he ran his first steeplechase race. The 3:52.90 miler has trained with Jager and has just missed joining him on the U.S. team, finishing 4th at the last three U.S. championships.

Canadian record holder Matt Hughes, 28, won the first of his two NCAA titles for Louisville at Hayward Field. The four-time Canadian champion has made every major final since 2013 and finished 4th in the Commonwealth Games ten days ago.

Rounding out the field are two Ethiopian teenagers, who might well be the future face of the event. Tesfaye Deriba, 19, was 7th in last year’s World Championships and recorded a best of 8:13.33.

Younger still at just 17, Getnet Wale set an Ethiopian Junior (under 20) record of 8:12.28 last year, and won the Ethiopian National Championships steeple this past Sunday. The Pre Classic will be the first race in the U.S. for both athletes.

Men’s 3000-meter SteeplechasePersonal Best
Paul Kipsiele Koech (Kenya)7:54.31 
Jairus Birech (Kenya)7:58.41 
Evan Jager (USA)8:00.45 
Conseslus Kipruto (Kenya)8:01.12 
Soufiane El Bakkali (Morocco)8:04.83 
Stanley Kebenei (USA)8:08.30 
Amos Kirui (Kenya)8:08.37 
Abraham Kibiwott (Kenya)8:09.25 
Nicholas Bett (Kenya)8:10.07 
Benjamin Kigen (Kenya)8:11.38 
Matt Hughes (Canada)8:11.64 
Hillary Bor (USA)8:11.82 
Getnet Wale (Ethiopia)8:12.28. 
Tesfaye Deriba (Ethiopia)8:13.33 
Andy Bayer (USA)8:14.46 

April 19, 2018

For Immediate Release

Dominant Field Set for Pre Classic Women's 800


Eugene, Oregon – The women who swept every medal at the Rio Olympics and last year’s World Championships top a dominant 800 meters for the Prefontaine Classic.

While the top-end world rankers – including American record holder Ajee’ Wilson – will rightly attract the most attention, Hayward Field fans will welcome the return of Raevyn Rogers, who capped her Oregon career in thrilling fashion last June and won The Bowerman Award as the nation’s top female collegian.

No one is more dominating than Caster Semenya. The 27-year-old from South Africa has a 22-meet winning streak that stretches back to late 2015. At Rio she became the event’s first two-time Olympic gold medalist and last summer in London joined Maria Mutola as the only three-time winner of the Worlds.

A two-time IAAF Diamond League winner, Semenya owns impressive range as she added a bronze in the 1500 at London and last week lowered her national record to 4:00.71 as part of a successful Commonwealth Games double. Her 400 PR of 50.40 came while winning the 2016 Diamond League final and last year she set the 600 world best of 1:21.77. Last year she also lowered her 800 PR to 1:55.16 and moved to No. 6 on the all-time world list.

Semenya won last year’s Pre Classic over a similarly loaded field.

Francine Niyonsaba, who will turn 25 on May 5, won the World Indoor title in England last month, matching the gold she earned in Portland two years earlier. Ranked No. 2 in the world the last two years by Track & Field News, she is as close as anyone has come to Semenya, taking silver in Rio and London.

The first woman from Burundi to earn an Olympic medal, Niyonsaba was only 20 when she won the 2013 Pre Classic with a still-standing Hayward Field record of 1:56.72. She first captured attention as a 19-year-old, finishing 5th in the 2012 London Olympics.

Ajee’ Wilson, who will turn 24 on May 8, had the best season by an American since a 20-year-old Wilson ranked No. 2 in the world in 2014 (only Madeline Manning in the 1960s has ever been a higher-ranked American). Wilson’s 2017 campaign was also historic. Not only did she shatter the American record by almost a second at 1:55.61, her bronze medal in London matched the best by an American at the Worlds (Brenda Martinez also took bronze in 2013).

A New Jersey native, Wilson swept the 2014 U.S. indoor and outdoor titles, the youngest to do so since a 15-year-old Mary Decker in 1974. As a 19-year-old, she was a finalist in the 2013 World Championships, setting an American Junior record of 1:58.21. Her international experience includes gold medals at the 2012 World Juniors and 2011 World Youth Championships – she is the only American to win either title.

Last month Wilson was silver medalist behind Niyonsaba at the World Indoor Championships as the duo repeated their finish from Portland in 2016.

Raevyn Rogers, 21, is in her first season as a post-collegian, but few ever finished their collegiate career like Rogers did.  An hour after winning her third NCAA Outdoor 800 title, Rogers took the baton on anchor leg for the Oregon 4x400 team as the Ducks needed a victory to win the team title to complete history’s first triple crown for women.  She delivered victory (and a collegiate record) with a 49.77 split as the Hayward Field faithful went delirious.

It wasn’t the first or last time the Houston native stepped down for relay work normally left for 400 specialists. Last month Rogers made the World Indoor 800 final, taking 5th a day after running in the 4x400 heats for the gold-medal winning U.S. team. In 2015 she anchored the U.S. to gold in the Pan-American Juniors after winning the 800. But her specialty remains the 800, where she carved a dominant career with a collegiate record 1:59.10 and three of the top six times ever.

Margaret Nyairera Wambui, 22, finished just out of the medals in last year’s World Championships, but her bronze in Rio was Kenya’s first Olympic medal in this event since 2008, when Pamela Jelimo struck gold. Earlier in 2016, Wambui was bronze medalist at the Portland World Indoors. She won the World Junior gold medal at Hayward Field in 2014.

Habitam Alemu is the youngest in the field at 20.  The Ethiopian record holder ranked No. 7 in the world last year by T&FN. A semifinalist in both the Rio Olympics and London Worlds, she was a finalist in the last two World Indoors, topped by a 4th last month.

Switzerland’s Selina Buchel, 26, has also made two World Indoor finals with a best of 4th, hers coming in 2014. The Swiss record holder won gold in the last two European Indoor Championships and was a semifinalist in Rio as well as the last two Worlds.
 
Women’s 800 MetersPersonal Best
Caster Semenya (South Africa)1:55.16 
Francine Niyonsaba (Burundi)1:55.57 
Ajee’ Wilson (USA)1:55.61 
Margaret Nyairera Wambui (Kenya)1:56.87 
Habitam Alemu (Ethiopia)1:57.05 
Selina Buchel (Switzerland)1:57.95 
Raevyn Rogers (USA)1:59.10 


April 17, 2018
For Immediate Release

5K No. 1 Edris Tops Sizzling Pre Classic 2-Mile Field


Eugene, Oregon – Muktar Edris is the world’s top-ranked 5000-meter runner and the world’s elite will join him in a rare 2-mile race at the Prefontaine Classic.

The event will re-unite five of the top six from last year’s thrilling World Championships 5k. It also will be a homecoming for Edward Cheserek, an Oregon legend who won five of his record 17 NCAA titles at Hayward Field. Cheserek – the year’s fastest miler at 3:49.44 indoors – will be joined by reigning Bowerman Mile winner Ronald Kwemoi in a race that has all the makings of a classic.

The 2-mile distance comes in a year with no major championship 5k except the annual IAAF Diamond League, which incorporates the 2-mile and 3k in its point standings for the 5k. The Pre Classic 2-mile record of 8:03.50 – set in 2007 by Australian Craig Mottram – remains the fastest run on U.S. soil.

Muktar Edris, 24, ended the reign of Mo Farah last summer at the London World Championships, winning the global 5k title that Farah had owned since 2011. The Ethiopian beat Farah, always a fast finisher, at his own game with a ferocious 52.4 last lap. For Edris, the gold was his first track major medal of any color – his only other medal being the bronze he earned at the 2015 World Cross Country Championships in China.

Edris won the 2012 World Junior (U20) 5k and entered the Track & Field News world rankings for the first time as a 19-year-old in 2013 at No. 10. He rocketed up to No. 3 in 2014 when he set his 5k PR of 12:54.83. In 2016 he won the Pre Classic and world ranked No. 4 – the same place he finished in Rio before being disqualified for running inside the rail for a few steps.

Ethiopian teammate Yomif Kejelcha, 20, has already raced to unprecedented history, and twice it was at Hayward Field. At 16, he was the youngest winner ever in the 5k at the World Junior Championships in 2014, held at Hayward Field. In 2015 he made his biggest splash, winning the Pre Classic and becoming the youngest 5K winner by four years. A fantastic season saw him winning the Diamond League as well with his PR 12:53.98.

In the 3k, Kejelcha’s best of 7:28.19 is not only the fastest in the field but also the World Junior record. Last month he won 3k gold at the World Indoor Championships, matching the title he won in 2016 at Portland, where he now trains with the Nike Oregon Project. In January he joined the sub-4 mile club with a 3:56.95 win in Seattle.

The youth fountain from Ethiopia continues with 18-year-old Selemon Barega, who became the 3k’s youngest medalist last month at the World Indoor Championships with the silver behind Kejelcha. Last summer as a 17-year-old he PRed by 25 seconds in his first 5k Diamond League race and ended the season No. 5 in the T&FN world rankings. Barega joins Edris and Kejelcha as a 5k World Junior champ, winning in 2016. This will be his first race in the U.S.

Paul Chelimo, 27, is the only racer in the field with medals from Rio and last summer’s World Championships. Both came with thrilling finishes and are among the best ever by an American. His Olympic 5k silver was the first by an American since Bob Schul won the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. In London, Chelimo matched the blazing final lap of Edris for a bronze.

Chelimo joined the sub-4 mile club in a unique way this winter. Less than an hour after winning the 3k, he toed the line for the Camel City Mile in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and lowered his best by almost 5 seconds to 3:58.59 behind the year’s hottest miler.

Edward Cheserek, 24, is on fire as the world’s fastest miler this year, but his incredible racing stretches to the long distances and among the best ever seen in the U.S. His speed is no secret to the Hayward Field faithful who have seen him kick 53.1 for the first of a record three NCAA 10k titles.

Cheserek, born in Kenya, came to the U.S. in 2010 as a 16-year-old in New Jersey and forged legendary accomplishments. He broke Gerry Lindgren’s almost 50-year-old high school indoor 2-mile record, then became Oregon’s most successful distance runner since Steve Prefontaine, even matching Pre as a 3-time NCAA cross-country champ.

Reigning Bowerman Mile winner Ronald Kwemoi adds wonderful excitement. The 22-year-old Kenyan with a 3:49.04 mile best has the second-best 3k best in the field at 7:28.73. His 10k best is 27:33.94.

Joshua Cheptegei, 21, of Uganda brings impressive 5k and 10k gold medals from the recent Commonwealth Games. In the 10k, he earned silver at last year’s World Championships and was only 19 when he finished 6th in the Rio 10k and 5th in the 5k. He won the World Junior 10k gold in 2014 at Hayward Field.

Mohammed Ahmed, 27, claimed a pair of silver medals behind Cheptagei at last week’s Commonwealth Games. The Canadian was 4th in the Rio 5k for his country’s best finish in the event. He was third in the 2016 Pre Classic 5k.

Albert Rop, 25, has the fastest 5k PR in the field at 12:51.96. He will be running in his seventh Pre Classic. Born in Kenya, his 7th-place finish in the Rio 5k is best ever for Bahrain in this event.

Ryan Hill, 28, earned a silver medal behind Kejelcha in the 2016 Portland World Indoor Championships after winning his second U.S. title at the 3k/2-mile. He is the fastest American in the field with a 7:30.93 3k PR, equivalent to a 2M time a shade faster than the American Record of 8:07.07. The North Carolina State grad was runner-up in the 2013 NCAA Indoor mile.

Eric Jenkins, 26, won NCAA titles for Oregon in 2015 indoors in the 3k and 5k and last year won the famous Wanamaker Mile in the Millrose Games in 3:53.23. A former teammate of Cheserek, the New England native this weekend ran his first race in eight months, taking 4th in the BAA 5-miler in Boston.

Hassan Mead, 26, won his first U.S. title last year in the 10k with a strong 55.2 last lap. The Minnesota grad who trains in Eugene was 11th in the Rio 5k and also a finalist in the 2015 World Championships as well as last year in the London 10k.

Shadrack Kipchirchir, 29, won his first U.S. title last fall in the New York road 5k. Born in Kenya, the NCAA 10k runner-up for Oklahoma State in 2014 has made every U.S. team he has attempted since 2015 in distances from 3k to 10k. In January he joined the sub-4 mile club in Boston with a 3:55.52 a day after setting his 3k best of 7:42.71.

Ben True, 32, has finished as high as sixth in the World Championships 5k (2015) and World Cross Country Championships (2013). He won the New York City half-marathon title earlier this year in his debut. The Dartmouth grad was runner-up in both the 5k and 10k at the 2015 US Championships.

Australian Patrick Tiernan, 23, won the 2016 NCAA cross-country title for Villanova, squelching Cheserek’s bid to become the first four-time winner. He set his 5k PR of 13:13.55 at last year’s Pre Classic.

Paul Kipngetich Tanui, 27, earned Olympic silver in Rio at the 10k and took a third-straight World Championships bronze last summer in London. The Kenyan can boast more than 100 laps of Pre Classic racing and his three sub-27 10ks have all come at Hayward Field.

Men’s 2-Mile3k and 2-Mile PRs (+=converted)
Yomif Kejelcha (Ethiopia)7:28.198:04.05+
Ronald Kwemoi (Kenya)7:28.738:04.63+
Ryan Hill (USA)7:30.938:07.01+
Paul Chelimo (USA)7:31.978:08.13+
Albert Rop (Bahrain)7:32.028:08.19+
Muktar Edris (Ethiopia)7:32.318:08.50+
Ben True (USA)7:34.94+8:11.33
Joshua Cheptegei (Uganda)7:34.968:11.36+
Mohammed Ahmed (Canada)7:36.63+8:13.16
Selemon Barega (Ethiopia)7:36.648:13.18+
Patrick Tiernan (Australia)7:37.768:14.39+
Hassan Mead (USA)7:38.518:15.20+
Edward Cheserek (Kenya)7:38.748:15.44+
Eric Jenkins (USA)7:39.438:16.19+
Shadrack Kipchichir (USA)7:42.718:19.73+
Paul Kipngetich Tanui (Kenya)7:46.618:23.94+

April 11, 2018

For Immediate Release

Amos Now at Home Against a New Wave in Pre Classic 800

Eugene, Oregon – Nijel Amos is the world’s top-ranked 800-meter runner, but the Prefontaine Classic record holder who now calls Eugene home will face a formidable field in the Diamond League two-lapper in May. It’s a lineup that includes two undefeated runners owning the world’s fastest time and the World Indoor Championships gold medal, along with a young American who has the fastest Hayward Field personal best among the world-class group assembled.

Nijel Amos
, 24, last year won his third IAAF Diamond League trophy – the most by anyone in this event – and earned his second No. 1 world ranking by Track & Field News. Still, he is likely remembered best for a non-winning effort. At the London Olympics he was the closest pursuer to world record setter David Rudisha as the 18-year-old Amos earned a silver – the first Olympic medal for Botswana of any kind – and destroyed the World Junior (U20) record by almost a second at 1:41.73.

Amos now trains in Eugene with Oregon Track Club Elite at Hayward Field, where his first race in 2014 was a Pre Classic record of 1:43.63. Two weeks ago he cruised 1:44.65 at Stanford, winning by over three seconds.

Donavan Brazier will turn 21 on April 15 and the Michigan native has annually challenged – or broken – records set before he was even born. Two of his most stunning came in his only collegiate season of 2016. His first 800 in a Texas A&M uniform wound up as a 4-second victory, breaking a 33-year-old indoor American Junior record.  Brazier’s final collegiate race was one for the ages, running 1:43.55 at Hayward Field to  break both the collegiate record and the Hayward record.

Last year Brazier won his first U.S. title at age 20, the youngest since Mark Everett in 1988. At the Penn Relays he anchored Team USA’s  sprint medley in 3:11.45, the fastest since Hall-of-Famer Johnny Gray anchored the world best of 3:10.76 in 1985. This recent indoor season, he came close three times to Gray’s American record of 1:45.00, set in 1992, ending just 0.1 seconds short.

Emmanuel Korir, 22, has been cautious this year, but the Kenyan’s only race – winning the Millrose Games in 1:44.21 – is still the year’s fastest in the world, outdoor included.

Korir, as a freshman at UTEP in 2017, came out of the gates blazing with a world-best 1:14.97 600 meters in January. Then in April, he torched an almost 3-second PR in 1:43.73, just short of Brazier’s CR. That spring he added a pair of altitude-aided mid-44 400s in El Paso, plus a jaw-dropping 400 relay split of 43.34 at sea level that few at any level have achieved. His only loss of the year came at the London Worlds, when he couldn’t advance out of the semis due to a hip flexor injury.

Poland’s Adam Kszczot, 28, rode an undefeated indoor campaign to his first major gold, winning last month’s World Indoor Championships. Outdoors, he’s also riding high with his best-ever No. 2 T&FN world ranking last year after a second-straight World Championships silver medal. This summer he will be looking for a third European Championships gold, which no 800-meter runner has ever won.

Kipyegon Bett, 20, earned the bronze medal at last year’s World Championships and compiled a season also impressive enough to rank No. 3 in T&FN’s  world rankings. The Kenyan’s 2016 season was also world-class, winning the World Junior (U20) gold before setting his still-standing PR of 1:43.76 as an 18-year-old. This will be Bett’s first race in the U.S.

American Erik Sowinski, 28, stepped on the world podium for the first time in Portland by earning a bronze medal in the 2016 World Indoor. A three-time U.S. indoor champ, the Wisconsin native is a former indoor American record holder in the 600 meters and was also part of indoor AR-setting 4x8 and distance medley relay teams.

Kyle Langford
, 22, narrowly missed a medal at last summer’s World Championships in his British homeland and reached his first T&FN world ranking of No. 7. He will return to Hayward Field, where he was a finalist in the 2014 World Junior Championships a year before winning the European Junior title. He was bronze medalist in the 2013 World Youth (U18) Championships.
           
Men’s 800 MetersPersonal Best
Nijel Amos (Botswana)1:41.73 
Emmanuel Korir (Kenya)1:43.10 
Adam Kszczot (Poland)1:43.30 
Donavan Brazier (USA)1:43.55 
Kipyegon Bett (Kenya)1:43.76 
Erik Sowinski (USA)1:44.58 
Kyle Langford (Great Britain)1:45.25 

April 9, 2018
For Immediate Release

Landslide of Medalists Set for Pre Classic Women's 400 Hurdles


Eugene, Oregon – All three of the Olympic medalists from Rio are just the beginning of a deep women’s 400-meter hurdles race at the Prefontaine Classic.

In fact, every confirmed entrant owns at least one major medal and collectively the field is already deeper than last year’s exceptional Pre Classic line-up.

The race will include at least three from a wildly talented American stable that last year saw six PR under 54 seconds in the national championships.

Dalilah Muhammad, 28, won that crazy U.S. championships race last summer, part of a season capped by her first IAAF Diamond League trophy.  The summer before, the New York native reached the top step of the Olympic podium in Rio to become America’s first gold medalist in an event the U.S. annually dominates.

Muhammad’s 52.64 in that historic U.S. race was her fastest since 2016, when she made her first Olympic team with a lifetime best of 52.88, a still-standing Hayward Field record.  It was nearly a full second better than when she won her first U.S. title in 2013, the year she earned the silver medal at Moscow in the World Championships.  She has the oldest Hayward Field victory among the entrants – in 2009 she won the U.S. Junior (U20) title as a freshman at USC.

Ashley Spencer, 24, won last year’s loaded Pre Classic in a PR 53.38 – nearly half a second faster than what she ran in Rio with a sensational homestretch finish to earn the bronze medal in her first full year devoted to the event. She lowered her PR again to 53.11 at the U.S. Championships, but the fastest 4th-place finish ever was only good enough to be the world’s best alternate for the World Championships. No one from another country ran faster than her 53.11 last year.

Spencer was formerly a 400-meter runner, winning the 2012 World Junior (U20) gold as well as NCAA titles as an Illinois freshman and sophomore, the latter with her still-standing PR of 50.28 at Hayward Field in 2013. In 2016, she earned silver at the World Indoor Championships in Portland.

In late March, Spencer won her 3rd-straight Texas Relays in 56.43, her fastest  opener yet.

Shamier Little, 23, has won at Hayward Field more often than anyone else in the field, almost always with a lifetime best. She captured the 2014 World Junior (U20) gold and 2015 U.S. title while carving a dominating collegiate career at Texas A&M, winning three NCAA crowns (2014-16) in Eugene. Last year she was 2nd to Spencer at  the Pre Classic and Muhammad at the U.S. championships, setting PRs both times.

As a 20-year-old, the Kentucky native who grew up in Chicago, was the fastest U.S. 400-meter hurdler of any age in 2015, winning every race except the Beijing World Championships, where she earned silver. She returned to the Track & Field News world rankings last year at No. 4. Her flat 400 PR of 50.40, set last year, is 2nd-fastest in the field behind Spencer’s 50.28. Both were part of a U.S. team that won the Texas Relays in 3:26.16, fastest in the world outdoors this year.

No one in the field can claim more major golds than Zuzana Hejnová, 31, of the Czech Republic. She won the 2015 and 2013 World Championships and repeated with Diamond League trophies in both seasons. The London Olympic bronze medalist, Hejnová was just inches from another medal in Rio and finished just behind Muhammad at last year’s Diamond League final.

Hejnová  won the 2013 Pre Classic. Her No. 3 T&FN world ranking in 2017 was her eighth Top 10 since 2008, and she has held her country’s national record since she was 19 years old, running 55.83 in 2006. She first made major international news in 2003 with a World Youth Championships (U18) gold.

Ristananna Tracey, who will turn 26 on May 9, is Jamaica’s fastest in this field, clocking 53.74 to earn bronze last summer at the London World Championships. She was already a three-time World Championships veteran before taking 5th at the Rio Olympics with her previous PR of 54.15.

Janieve Russell, 24, is Jamaica’s youngest Olympic finalist ever in this event with a 7th in Rio at 22. Last year she repeated her No. 7 T&FN world ranking after a No. 8 in 2015, when she made the World Championships final (5th) as a 21-year-old. Russell won the 2012 World Junior gold medal.

Sara Petersen earned the Olympic silver medal in Rio, the first by a Danish-born athlete in track & field. The reigning European champion, 31, set her best of 53.55 at Rio and has held the Danish record since 2007, when she ran 57.01 as a 20-year-old.

Women’s 400-Meter HurdlesPersonal Best
Dalilah Muhammad (USA)52.64 
Shamier Little (USA)52.75 
Zuzana Hejnova (Czech Republic)52.83 
Ashley Spencer (USA)53.11 
Sara Petersen (Denmark)53.55 
Ristananna Tracey (Jamaica)53.74 
Janieve Russell (Jamaica)53.96 


April 4, 2018

For Immediate Release

Taylor & Claye Ready to Rock Again at Pre Classic


Eugene, Oregon – Christian Taylor and Will Claye, who have combined to own seven major gold medals, are the headliners of the Prefontaine Classic’s triple jump.

They would be headliners anywhere, and the renewal of their 43-meet rivalry can make some fans overlook the fact that the loaded Pre Classic field includes a full sweep of medalists from last year’s World Championships and the Rio Olympics as well as seven of the world’s top 10 in 2017 as ranked by Track & Field News.

In the triple jump, Taylor vs. Claye is a matchup never to be missed – especially at Hayward Field, where the two have found uncanny ways to top each other at the last two Pre Classics. In those combined 12 rounds of competition, they achieved 7 lead changes and 8 world-leading marks.

Christian Taylor, 27, is one of the Diamond League’s main attractions with six  overall Trophies (only pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie, with seven, has more). In the triple jump, he has few peers – and those are legends. Only Viktor Saneyev can top  Taylor’s two Olympic gold medals, and only Saneyev and world record holder Jonathan Edwards can top his six times at the top of T&FN’s world rankings. No one can match Taylor’s three World Championships golds.

Taylor is history’s second-longest triple jumper at 59-9 (18.21) – the world record of 60-¼ (18.29) by Edwards was set in 1995 when Taylor was just 5. His hard-fought three Pre Classic wins – all over former University of Florida teammate Claye in thrilling competitions – matches Hall-of-Famer Willie Banks for the most in Pre Classic history in this event.

Will Claye
, 26, won the World Indoor Championships last month in England, repeating  gold at the 2012 World Indoor. He was only 20 then and later in the London Olympics claimed triple jump silver and long jump bronze that made him the first man since 1936 to win Olympic medals in both horizontal jumps.

Claye has battled Taylor since they were college freshmen in 2009, originally at different schools until Claye transferred from Oklahoma to Florida as the horizontal jumps world took a Gator flavoring in 2011. They finished 1-2 in the World Championships in Daegu that year, and every Olympics and outdoor Worlds since has seen both on the podium except 2013 (Taylor was only 4th). The head-to-head rivalry  had always been tied or in Claye’s favor until last year at the World Championships. Taylor now owns the slimmest of leads, 22-21.

Claye has clearly been a major part of the two best Pre Classic triple jumps. In 2016, he took the lead in round 6 at 57-7½ (17.56) only to be overtaken by Taylor’s 58-3¼ (17.76), breaking the Hayward Field record set by Claye at the 2014 Pre Classic.

Last year, both went over 59 feet (17.98) with Claye’s two best marks of his life (topped by a wind-aided 59-2¾/18.05) just short of Taylor’s 59-5/18.11, the best ever achieved on U.S. soil. Claye’s mark was merely the farthest ever achieved without winning.

Portugal’s Nelson Évora can match Taylor as an Olympic and World Championships gold medalist – back in 2007 and 2008. But he stood on the podium last summer in London as bronze medalist behind Taylor and Claye at the World Championships. Last month he was on the podium again as bronze medalist when Claye won the World Indoor Championships.

Évora will turn 34 later this month – generally old by world-class triple jump standards, but WR holder Edwards was 35 when he won his last gold medal in 2001. This will be Évora’s first Pre Classic – his only other U.S. competition came in 2016 at World Indoor Championships in Portland, where he was 4th.

China’s Bin Dong, 29, won the World Indoor gold at Portland in 2016. He saved his best performance for Rio, where he claimed Olympic bronze at 57-8¼ (17.58), just a centimeter away from the Asian record 57-8½ set by Li Yanxi, a previous holder of the Pre Classic meet record. His two medals are the only ones at the world level for China in this event.

Chris Benard, who will turn 29 later this month, enjoyed his best season last year, finishing 6th at the London World Championships final, his highest finish on an obviously loaded U.S. team. The 2016 Olympian won the inaugural Pac-12 title in 2012 at Hayward Field as an Arizona State senior.

Max Hess
 of Germany is the youngest in the field at 21. He scored his best medal with a silver at the 2016 World Indoor Championships in Portland. That silver has another Oregon companion, joining the one he claimed in 2014 at the World Junior Championships at Hayward Field. He has nifty gold also – winning the 2016 European Championships as a 19-year-old.

Jean-Marc Pontvianne
, 23, is the French champ who finished 6th in last year’s Pre Classic with just one effort. He made his only major final last summer in London and compiled a season good enough to rank No. 10 by T&FN .

Almir dos Santos
 of Brazil, 24, had a torrid indoor season in 2018.  He set personal bests in each of his first 3 meets, then his 4th PB in a row (57-1½/17.41) earned him the silver medal at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham last month.
 
Men’s Triple JumpPersonal Best
Christian Taylor (USA)59-9(18.21)
Will Claye (USA)58-9¼(17.91)
Nelson Evora (Portugal)58-¼(17.68)
Bin Dong (China)57-8¼(17.58)
Max Hess (Germany)57-5¾(17.52)
Chris Benard (USA)57-4¼(17.48)
Almir Dos Santos (Brazil)57-1 ¼.(17.41)
Jean-Marc Pontvianne (France)56-2½(17.13)


April 2, 2018

For Immediate Release

High Jump King Barshim Returns to The Pre Classic


Eugene, Oregon – Reigning World Champion Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar will bring his high-flying act back to Hayward Field to challenge a world-class field of high jumpers at the 2018 Prefontaine Classic.

Barshim, owner of the Hayward Field and Prefontaine Classic records, arrives as the reigning male athlete of the year as selected  by both the IAAF and Track & Field News after going undefeated in 2017. In a bid for a 3rd Pre Classic title, he’ll face the man who just beat him for the World Indoor title in March (Danil Lysenko) and the America’s most successful jumper of the last decade (Erik Kynard).

At age 26, Barshim, has dominated his event like few others.  His three IAAF Diamond League trophies are two more than anyone else has in this event, and his third-straight No. 1 world ranking by T&FN last year made him a rare 3-peater and the first since world record holder Javier Sotomayor completed four in a row in 1995.

The comparison to Sotomayor – history’s only 8-footer at 8-0½ (2.45) in 1993 – comes often for Barshim.  With a best of 7-11½ (2.43), Barshim has come the closest to joining the 8-foot (2.44) club. He also shares the record for the highest jump ever on U.S. soil, a 7-11¼ (2.42) made in New York City in ’14.

Barshim is Qatar’s most successful athlete for a nation set to host next year’s IAAF World Championships.
 
Danil Lysenko won the World Indoor title last month, becoming the first to defeat Barshim since 2016.  Just 20, he also won silver at last year’s World Championships as a 19-year-old.  Way back in 2014 he won the Youth Olympic Games for Russia in Beijing as a 17-year-old, just after his only Hayward Field appearance at the World Junior Championships.
 
Erik Kynard, 27, is the leading American entry and the 2016 Diamond League winner.  The 2012 Olympic silver medalist has earned a U.S. team berth in every trials since 2008, when he was 16.  Kynard, an Ohio native who twice won NCAA titles at Kansas State, is a 9-time U.S. champ and last month missed repeating as a second World Indoor Championships medalist only on misses.
 
Germany’s Mateusz Przybylko, 26, claimed his first major medal with a bronze last month in England at the World Indoor.  Last summer, Przybylko found an incredible streak and PRed three times in one day.  Six weeks later he joined another side of the wild world of high jumping, leaping just as high as the bronze medalist (7-6 / 2.29) but not as high as he did just to reach the final (7-7 / 2.31).
 
Great Britain’s Robbie Grabarz, 30, earned Olympic bronze in 2012 and added silver at the 2016 World Indoor in Portland.  He won the 2012 Diamond Trophy.
 
Jeron Robinson, 26, of the U.S., cleared a world-leading outdoor mark of 7-7/2.31 at the Texas Relays this past weekend, tying the lifetime best he set in winning his third NCAA Division II title for Texas A&M-Kingsville in 2015.
           
The remaining two spots will be filled by the athletes jumping the best outdoors in the coming weeks.

Men’s High JumpPersonal Best
Mutaz Essa Barshim (Qatar)7-11½(2.43)
Danil Lysenko (ANA)7-9¾(2.38)
Robbie Grabarz (Great Britain)7-9¼(2.37)
Erik Kynard (USA)7-9¼(2.37)
Mateusz Przybylko (Germany)7-8½(2.35)
Jeron Robinson (USA)7-7(2.31)

March 28, 2018
For Immediate Release

McLeod Seeks Three-Peat in Pre Classic 110 Hurdles

Eugene, Oregon – Jamaican Omar McLeod’s hopes for a third straight Prefontaine Classic victory this May will require him to beat the deepest field of 110 meter hurdlers ever assembled in meet history.

McLeod is the headliner of the first announced track event for the Pre Classic, the only U.S. stop on the IAAF Diamond League tour. He’ll be joined by the last hurdler other than the Jamaican to win a major global championship, a former University of Oregon two-sport star and the current World Record Holder.

All eight of the confirmed entrants have PRs of 13.14 or better, making this the Pre Classic’s deepest hurdles ever and ensuring McLeod’s bid for a three-peat will require him to be at his best.

Omar McLeod, 23, is the youngest ever to own both the Olympic and World Championships gold medals at the same time in the 110-meter hurdles. His victories in London last August and in Rio the year before were dominant, much like his Pre Classic victories earlier in the same year. His 2016 Pre Classic win – in 13.06 by a huge 0.32-second margin – is the most dominant the meet has ever witnessed.

He has given the world three straight seasons with a sub-13 clocking. That’s a rarity in the men’s high hurdles – only Allen Johnson can claim such a streak, and he started his at age 24.

McLeod will turn 24 on April 25.  The Jamaican’s speed is a unique weapon – with a 100 PR of 9.99, he remains the only one to break both the 10-second (100) and 13-second (110 hurdles) barriers.

Sergey Shubenkov
, 27, won last year’s Diamond Trophy and the World silver behind McLeod after a gold medal performance in 2015, completing a rare sweep of medals (he also earned bronze in 2013). The Russian native owns a PR of 12.98, the fastest from anyone in eastern Europe.

World record holder Aries Merritt, 32, is gradually regaining the form he showed in winning Olympic gold in London and subsequently setting his 12.80 WR that also clinched a Diamond Trophy. He was rated No. 3 by T&FN in last year’s world rankings, a Top 10 ranking he first made back in 2006. Earlier this month, he was inches away from a medal at the World Indoor 60-meter version he also won in 2012.

Merritt has hurdled other barriers. Days after a World Championships bronze in 2015, he underwent a kidney transplant from his sister. His shortened 2016 season saw him nearly make the always-strong U.S. Olympic team.

Devon Allen 
will need little introduction at Hayward Field. Now 23, the former favorite as a Duck on the football field twice swept the NCAA and U.S. titles in 2016 and 2014. His best of 13.03 – set in July at Hayward Field to win the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials – is the fastest by an American on U.S. soil since 2014. He lowered his rarely-run open 100 best to 10.26 in Australia last week.

Orlando Ortega
, 26, began his career in Cuba and now represents Spain, the country for which he earned a silver medal at Rio Olympics. He ran his PR 12.94 in 2015 and is the only man in this event with six straight years in the T&FN world rankings.

Andrew Pozzi, who will turn 26 on May 15, won the World Indoor 60m hurdles title in Birmingham earlier this month. Outdoors, the two-time Olympian has a best of 13.14.

Jamaican Ronald Levy, 25, is the No. 3 Jamaican ever with a best of 13.05. He was a surprise runner-up in last year’s Pre Classic, then with a PR 13.10.

Dimitri Bascou, 29, earned the Olympic bronze medal in Rio, the best by a Frenchman in this event since Guy Drut’s 1976 gold. He also earned bronze in the indoor 60-meter hurdles at the 2016 World Indoor Championships in Portland.
 
Men’s 110-Meter HurdlesPersonal Best
Aries Merritt (USA)12.80 
Omar McLeod (Jamaica)12.90 
Orlando Ortega (Spain)12.94 
Sergey Shubenkov (ANA)12.98 
Devon Allen (USA)13.03 
Ronald Levy (Jamaica)13.05 
Dimitri Bascou (France)13.12 

Andrew Pozzi (Great Britain)13.14









March 21, 2018
For Immediate Release 

Air Lavillenie & Kendricks (& Duplantis) Primed for Major Vault at Pre Classic

Eugene, Oregon – They can each claim to be a reigning World Champion…current World Record Holder and World Indoor champ Renaud Lavillenie will duel World Outdoor champ Sam Kendricks as part of an exceptional field during the “Friday Night at Pre” program at the 2018 Prefontaine Classic.

The duo have combined to claim every IAAF Diamond League title since the series began and lead a field which features every Olympic and World Championships medalist over the last two years. Even an 18-year-old, high school sensation Mondo Duplantis, has joined the field of world-class vaulters who successfully petitioned meet organizers to add the event to the program.

It’s a world-class freebie for fans, courtesy of long-time sponsor NIKE, as part of the always-loaded Friday evening events.
 
Renaud Lavillenie added a record third World Indoor Championships gold to his impressive war chest earlier this month in England. The world record holder at 20-2½ (6.16) battled multiple injuries last year and relinquished a crown he owned since the Diamond League was created in 2010. His 7 DL titles in 2010-16 matched his Track & Field News World Ranking No. 1s over the same period.

Lavillenie, now 31, enjoys vaulting in front of Hayward Field’s East Grandstand. He soared to 19-10¼ (6.05) at the 2015 Pre Classic, the best ever seen in America and the best he’s done anywhere outdoors. His appreciation for Eugene has never been hidden, even wearing a hometown University of Oregon singlet in 2016 as he won his fourth straight Pre Classic, a feat only achieved by Oregon’s Kory Tarppening (1988-91).
 
Sam Kendricks won everything last year, an undefeated season including the World Championships gold and the Diamond League trophy that no one could ever wrestle from Lavillenie. His U.S. jumping is many times golden – he has won every U.S. title he has entered. Before that, he won two NCAA Outdoor titles, both at Hayward Field, while at Mississippi.

Kendricks, 25, earned Olympic bronze in Rio – the first U.S. Olympic medal by an American since 2004. It also made him the youngest American Olympic medalist since Jan Johnson’s bronze in 1972 at age 21.
 
Mondo Duplantis is 18 years old and still in high school in Lafayette, Louisiana. As a 17-year-old, he turned the vault world upside down last spring with a Texas Relays victory of 19-4¼ (5.90) that gave him the World Junior (U20) Record, a mark he’s looking to increase this year. He subsequently became the youngest male vault finalist at the London World Championships, competing for mom Helena’s Sweden. His dad, Greg, won the 1992 Pre Classic.

Brazil’s Thiago Braz, 24, won the 2016 Olympic gold, becoming the first from his country to claim Olympic gold in this sport since 1984, when Joaquim Cruz – an Oregon Duck at the time – won the 800 at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Poland’s Piotr Lisek, 25, was ranked No. 2 in the world last year by T&FN and earned the 2017 World Championships silver medalist after a bronze in in 2015. Indoors, he added a World Indoor bronze to the one he earned in Portland.

Pawel Wojiechowski, 28, is also from Poland. He won the 2011 World Championships and last year earned a No. 4 T&FN world ranking.  He also won bronze at the 2015 World Championships.

Germany’s Raphael Holzdeppe, 28, won the 2013 World Championships and an Olympic bronze in 2012. He was silver medalist at the 2015 Worlds.

Men’s Pole VaultPersonal Best
Renaud Lavillenie (France)20-2½(6.16)
Thiago Braz (Brazil)19-9¼(6.03)
Sam Kendricks (USA)19-8¼(6.00)
Piotr Lisek (Poland)19-8¼(6.00)
Raphael Holzdeppe (Germany)19-5¾(5.94)
Pawel Wojciechowski (Poland)19-5½(5.93)
Mondo Duplantis (Sweden)19-4¼(5.90)

March 14, 2018
For Immediate Release

Vetter, Röhler Set to Rewrite Pre Classic Record

Eugene, Oregon – The two-year-old Prefontaine Classic and Hayward Field record in the men’s javelin is in serious jeopardy, as the two farthest throwers in the world lead the best field ever assembled in this event at the Pre meet.

The field is impressively deep with all three medalists from last year’s World Championships, three of the last four IAAF Diamond Trophy winners, and even the world Junior (Under 20) recordholder.

Most of the focus will be on German rivals Johannes Vetter and Thomas Röhler, who won the gold medals at the London World Championships and Rio Olympics, topped the Track & Field News world rankings the last two years and produced the three longest throws since the turn of the century.  The only man who has ever thrown farther than either is world record holder Jan Zelezny, whose 323-1 (98.48) dates back to 1996.
           
The current Hayward Field and Prefontaine Record of 286-7 (87.37) was set in 2016 by Ihab Abdelrahman of Egypt. Last year Vetter and Röhler threw farther than that mark a combined 38 times!         
           
Johannes Vetter, who will turn 25 on March 26, reached the pinnacle in August with his gold medal in the London World Championships.  A month earlier he launched the spear an amazing 309-10 (94.44), the farthest since Zelezny’s WR and an improvement of over 15 feet.  His ascension to the medal podium almost came in Rio, where after leading early he finished 4th, less than a foot (0.23m) away from a bronze.

Vetter’s victory in London placed him among Germany’s all-time best, which includes some familiar names.  The only other man from the re-unified Germany to earn a World Championships javelin medal was his coach, Boris Henry, with a bronze in 1995 and 2003.  The last World javelin gold medalist from Germany was Christina Obergföll in 2013 with the women’s spear.  Henry and Obergföll (also the Pre Classic women’s meet record holder) were married later in 2013 (Henry now uses the Obergföll surname).

Vetter has opened up the 2018 season on fire, recording the earliest 300-footer in history with a 304-1 (92.70) at the European Throwing Cup last weekend in Portugal.
 
Thomas Röhler, 26, made his own history in Rio, becoming the first German man to strike Olympic javelin gold since 1972.  Last year he opened up with his best-ever 308-1 (93.90) at Doha, still the Diamond League record.  A month later, he added a 300-3 (91.53) to become the first since Zelezny to have a pair of 300-footers in the same season (Vetter would match the feat by the end of the summer).

Röhler narrowly missed adding another medal last year in London, but he was edged by Petr Frydrych in the last round by 2 inches (6cm) for the bronze.  Röhler has been world-ranked No. 1 or No. 2 three of the last four years by T&FN, the only javelinist with as many top rankings.  He won the 2014 Diamond League trophy.
 
Jakub Vadlejch, 27, of the Czech Republic, won his second straight Diamond League trophy last year.  The only other two-time DL winner in this event was also from the Czech Republic – Vitezslav Vesely in 2012 and ’13.  Vadlejch was the closest  to Vetter at last year’s World Championships, claiming the silver with a massive PR of 294-4 (89.73) for his first major medal.

Petr Frydrych, 30, made his medal debut last in year in London, earning bronze with a PR 289-9 (88.32) at the World Championships. The closest he had ever come to a medal was in 2009, when he was 10th at the World Championships.  It was a special moment for the Czech Republic with two standing on the podium for the first time.  One of those smiling was Frydrych’s coach, Jan Zelezny, 3-time Olympic gold medalist.

Germany’s Andreas Hofmann, 26, is sometimes overlooked, coming from the powerful German group.  He has given Germany three finalists in both of the last two World Championships and last August just missed joining the 300-foot club with a PR 298-9 (91.07) to earn silver at the World University Games in Taipei.

India’s Neeraj Chopra, 20, set the world Junior (U20) record of 283-9 (86.48) as an 18-year-old winning the 2016 World Junior Championships in Poland.  He broke the old record by over 6 feet.  Last week, Chopra recorded his second-longest throw ever at 281-11 (85.94).

The final positions in the field will be filled later this spring with the best-performing throwers not already included.

Men’s JavelinPersonal Best
Johannes Vetter (Germany)309-10(94.44)
Thomas Röhler (Germany)308-1(93.90)
Andreas Hofmann (Germany)298-9(91.07)
Jakub Vadlejch (Czech Republic)294-4(89.73)
Petr Frydrych (Czech Republic)289-9(88.32)
Neeraj Chopra (India)283-9(86.48)


March 7, 2018

For Immediate Release

Crouser vs Walsh vs the World in Epic Pre Classic Shot Put

Eugene, Oregon – A field featuring every medalist from the last three global championships will set the stage for another epic shot put competition at the 2018 Prefontaine Classic. Heading the field are 2016 Olympic Champion and Oregon native Ryan Crouser and 2017 World Champion and 2018 World Indoor champion Tom Walsh. 


With those two testing the boundaries of the throwing sector, they will be joined by a stunning list of competitors so rich it also includes the last three Diamond Trophy winners as well as the farthest 20-year-old thrower ever. Every athlete in the field has a lifetime best over 70 feet, and Hayward Field's record number of 70-plus throws is sure to grow.

Ryan Crouser thrilled last year’s Pre Classic crowd with a Hayward Field record 73-7.25 (22.43m) in his first return since winning Olympic gold at Rio. He provided more fireworks a month later to win the U.S. championships, coming from behind with a lifetime best 74-3.75 (22.65m) – the farthest in the world since 2003.

The 25-year old was on target for the Diamond League title last summer until Darrell Hill one-upped him with his own final-round heroics. Still, Crouser’s season was dominant enough to earn a second-straight No. 1 world ranking by Track & Field News.

Crouser is from an Oregon family of throwers with numerous state prep titles, national high school records and collegiate championships (dad Mitch, uncles Dean and Brian, and cousins Sam and Haley). He won World Youth shot gold in 2009, set two still-standing prep records in 2011 in the discus (237-6/72.40m) and indoor shot (77-2.75/23.54m), and won four NCAA titles for Texas (indoor and outdoor shot).

New Zealand’s Tom Walsh, 26, has the most major gold medals in the field with three. He captured the top spot in last year’s World Championships, then last weekend improved his PR with a world-leading 73-2.50 (22.31m), defending the World Indoor gold he won in Portland two years ago. The Rio Olympic bronze medalist won the 2016 Diamond League and was runner-up in the last two Pre Classics, ranking No. 2 in the T&FN world rankings both years.

Joe Kovacs, 28, joins Crouser as the world’s only other 74-footer since 2003 and is the only man since 1990 with more than one such effort. After winning gold at the 2015 Worlds in Beijing, the American earned silver in the Rio Olympics as well at last year’s World Championships. The 2015 Diamond League winner is the only shot putter to rank among the world’s top three in each of the last four years. Kovacs won the Pre Classic in 2015 and 2016.

American Darrell Hill, 24, has made the difficult U.S. team three straight times and is still looking for his first major medal. But Hill is no stranger to this field loaded with medalists. At the Diamond League final last August in Brussels, he was in 5th place entering the final round and responded with a massive PR 73-7.50 (22.44m) to snatch victory from Crouser. The nearly 2-foot improvement reminded fans of another Hill achievement – at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials when he improved over 1½ feet with his first 70-foot effort.

David Storl, 26, is competing better than he has in two years.  He won his third World Indoor silver last weekend for his first medal since a silver at the 2015 Beijing World Championships. Storl, who won the World Championships in 2011 and 2013 at the ages of 21 and 23, is Germany’s third farthest ever at 72-10 (22.20m), trailing only a pair of former world record holders in Udo Beyer and Ulf Timmermann.

Tomas Stanek, 26, is the Czech Republic record holder at 72-9 (22.17m), set last month in Germany. He earned his first major medal last weekend at the World Indoor, taking the bronze he was just two inches from earning at last summer’s World Championships.

Once an All-American javelin thrower at Florida, Stipe Zunic switched to the shot put after 2013 elbow surgery, eventually becoming NCAA Indoor champion in 2015. The 27-year-old earned the first World Championships medal for a man from Croatia with a bronze last year in London.

The youngest in the field is Poland’s Konrad Bukowiecki, who will turn 21 on March 17. He won the European Indoor Championships last year and last month improved his best to 72-2.25 (22.00m) – merely farthest by any man younger than 21. This will be his second Pre Classic and third meet at Hayward Field, as he won the 2014 World Junior (now U20) Championships.

Also from Poland is Michal Haratyk, who will turn 26 in April.  He was 5th in last summer’s World Championships, just 2 inches away from the bronze medal.
 
Men’s Shot PutPersonal Best
Ryan Crouser (USA)74-3.75(22.65m)
Joe Kovacs (USA)74-0.75(22.57m)
Darrell Hill (USA)73-7.50(22.44m)
Tom Walsh (New Zealand)73-2.50(22.31m)
David Storl (Germany)72-10(22.20m)
Tomas Stanek (Czech Republic)72-9(22.17m)
Konrad Bukowiecki (Poland)72-2.25(22.00m)
Michal Haratyk (Poland)71-9.50(21.88m)
Stipe Zunic (Croatia)70-5.75(21.48m)
 

February 13, 2018
For Immediate Release

Stefanídi, Morris Bring Aerial Show to Pre Classic

Eugene, Oregon – The world’s two best women’s pole vaulters are bringing their high-flying rivalry from the Olympics and World Championships to the Prefontaine Classic. Katerína Stefanídi and Sandi Morris top a star-studded field in the Pre Classic’s first announced event of 2018.  The pole vault is a Hayward Field favorite, and vault lovers in the fabled East Grandstands are in for a treat as every confirmed entrant is among the world’s top 10 for 2017 as ranked by Track & Field News.

Katerína Stefanídi, 28, is the reigning Olympic and World Championships gold medalist, becoming the only Greek athlete with golds in both of track & field’s biggest meets.  She has dominated the vault scene the last two years, including a pair of IAAF Diamond League crowns and owning an undefeated streak that dates back just over a year.  Stefanídi last year became the most recent member of the exclusive 16-foot (4.88) club at the Millrose Games, a meet she won last week for the fourth straight year.

Local fans remember Stefanídi back to her college days.  She won the 2012 NCAA title as a Stanford senior just a month after she set her collegiate best of 14-8¼ (4.48) to win the Pac-12 in her most recent competition at Hayward Field. Continuing her affinity for vaulting in Oregon, she won her first major medal with a bronze at 2016 World Indoor at Portland.

Sandi Morris, 25, is America’s top vaulter with silver medals in the Rio Olympics and last year’s World Championships.  She is the last person to beat Stefanídi (early February last year indoors) and earned T&FN’s No. 1 world ranking in 2016.  After losing to Stefanídi on misses in Rio, Morris became the third member of the uber-exclusive 5-meter club, scaling the 16-4¾ (5.00) barrier at the IAAF Diamond League’s Van Damme Memorial in Brussels and she remains the IDL record holder.

Morris’s career took off in her senior year at Arkansas in 2015, winning the NCAA Indoor crown and outdoors qualifying for her first international team.  At the Beijing World Championships, she finished just out of the medals in a tie for 4th.  She has medaled every time since, first at the 2016 World Indoor (silver) followed by Rio and London last year.Head-to-head, Stefanídi owns a career 17-9 edge over Morris.

British record holder Holly Bradshaw, 26,  was 7th as a 19-year-old in the 2012 Pre Classic competition.  Bradshaw bettered that performance in London with a 6th-place tie in the Olympics, which she upped to 5th in Rio.  She was No. 4 in last year’s T&FN world rankings.

Two-time Olympian Lisa Ryzih, 29, of Germany, reached her highest T&FN ranking of No. 5 last year.  She was 5th in last year’s London Worlds, her third straight finals.  A former World Youth and World Junior gold medalist, she was silver medalist behind Stefanidi in last year’s European Indoor Championships and the 2016 European Championships.

Nichole Büchler of Switzerland is the oldest in the field at 34.  A three-time Olympian, she reached the world’s elite level in 2016 with a 4th-place finish at the World Indoor and 6th in Rio.  She ranked No. 4 in the 2016 T&FN world rankings and No. 8 last year.  Her PR 15-9 (4.80) came in the Portland World Indoor, where she matched the same height Stefanídi cleared to earn bronze.

Canadian record holder Alysha Newman is the youngest in the field at 23.  After taking 7th in the London World Championships, she saved her best for last with a 15-7 (4.75) PR for 3rd in the IAAF Diamond League final at Brussels behind Stefanídi and Morris, matching the same height as Morris.  Her No. 7 position in last year’s T&FN world rankings is the highest ever by a Canadian vaulter.  As a collegian, Newman was NCAA runner-up for Miami in 2016 at Hayward Field.

American Katie Nageotte, 26, came out of international nowhere to rate as the No. 6 vaulter in the world by T&FN.  She was NCAA Division II champion at Ohio’s Ashland University in 2013, first scaled 15 feet in 2016, and was runner-up to Morris at the U.S. Indoor last year.  At the recent Millrose Games, she lost to Stefanídi on the countback as both cleared 15-5½ (4.71).

Anzhelika Sidorova, 26, will be competing as an authorized neutral athlete. She is the 3rd-highest-ever Russian vaulter with her 15-11¼ (4.86) set earlier this month in Moscow. Sidorova is enjoying her best vaulting since earning silver at the 2014 World Indoor Championships as well as European gold at the 2014 outdoor and 2015 indoor Championships.

Women’s Pole Vault

Personal Best

Sandi Morris (USA)

16-4¾

(5.00)

Katerína Stefanídi (Greece)

16-1¼

(4.91)

Holly Bradshaw (Great Britain)

15-11¾

(4.87)

Anzhelika Sidorova (ANA)

15-11¼

(4.86)

Nicole Büchler (Switzerland)

15-9

(4.80)

Katie Nageotte (USA)

15-7¼

(4.76)

Lisa Ryzih (Germany)

15-7

(4.75)

Alysha Newman (Canada)

15-7

(4.75)






The final 2017 All-Athletics.com rankings:

 This year's finish for the Prefontaine Classic was the 4th highest score in history for an invitational, and the Eugene IDL meet has now recorded 5 of the top 10 scores of all-time.

  • In the Results Score category, which puts a value on the quality of the marks in the meet, Pre now has been No. 1 four times, more than all the other Diamond League meets combined.
  • The Pre Classic has the most consecutive top 3 finishes of any IDL meet, with 7.  The next longest is Zurich with 4.  
  • Pre has the highest average score of any meet during the Diamond League era (2010-present). 
  • Pre has 5 of the top 10 highest scores ever achieved; only Monaco has as many as 2


The final 2017 scores:

1. OTC Prefontaine ClassicUSA95523
2. Zürich WeltklasseSUI95078
3. Bruxelles Memorial Van DammeBEL94695
4. Lausanne AthletissimaSUI93614
5. Monaco HerculisMON93360
6. London Müller Anniversary GamesGBR93176
7. Roma Golden Gala - Pietro MenneaITA92912
8. Doha IAAF Diamond LeagueQAT92692
9. Shanghai IAAF Diamond LeagueCHN92686
10. Birmingham Müller Grand PrixGBR92574
11. Paris MeetingFRA92452
12. Rabat Meeting d'AthletismeMAR91523
13. Stockholm BAUHAUS GalanSWE90104
14. Székesfehérvár Gyulai István MemorialHUN90075
15. Oslo Bislett GamesNOR90017