Pre Meet 2015


2015 PREFONTAINE CLASSIC
A DIAMOND LEAGUE EVENT
 

The 2015 Pre Classic is scheduled for May 29-30. Tickets for the 2015 Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meet are on sale now and may be purchased online at www.goducks.com, from 1-800-WEBFOOT or in person at the Autzen Stadium ticket window.

FRIDAY – 7:00 PM START
 
MEN
200 METERS HIGH SCHOOL*
MILE RUN HIGH SCHOOL*
5000 METERS*
10,000 METERS*
IDL DISCUS THROW
IDL SHOT PUT
 
WOMEN
200 METERS HIGH SCHOOL*
800 METERS HIGH SCHOOL*
800 METERS* (NATIONAL) 
MILE RUN HIGH SCHOOL*
IDL LONG JUMP
 SATURDAY - 12:15 PM START
 
MEN
100 METERS*
IDL 200 METERS
IDL 400 METERS
800 METERS*
INTERNATIONAL MILE*
IDL BOWERMAN MILE
IDL STEEPLECHASE
IDL 110 HURDLES
IDL 400 HURDLES
IDL HIGH JUMP
IDL POLE VAULT 
 
 
WOMEN
IDL 100 METERS
INTERNATIONAL 100 METERS*
400 METERS*
IDL 800 METERS
1500 METERS*
IDL 5000 METERS
IDL TRIPLE JUMP
IDL JAVELIN THROW





EUGENE, Ore. — The 2015 Prefontaine Classic is in the books, and what a meet it was. We’ve covered several of the major storylines in other articles — great showings by Americans Matthew Centrowitz and Jenny Simpson in the mile/1500, a HS/U.S. Junior 1500 record by Alexa Efraimson and wins by world champs Mo Aman and Eunice Sum in the 800 — but there is still plenty of stuff to talk about, including a world record attempt by Genzebe Dibaba in the 5,000 (she fell eight seconds short, running 14:19.76) and a pulse-pounding men’s steeplechase that saw Ezekiel Kemboi hold off Jairus Birech and Evan Jager narrowly miss his American record. We recap all that and much more below.

Men’s 3000 Steeplechase: Ezekiel Kemboi Is Back

Kemboi and Birech were level as they hurdled the final barrier

Kemboi and Birech were level as they hurdled the final barrier

Kemboi struggled with injuries in 2014 but any questions about whether the 33-year-old was still a global force in the steeple were answered in the affirmative today as he ran a U.S. all-comers record of 8:01.71 to edge out Jairus Birech. Evan Jager ran his fastest opener ever, narrowly missing his American record by running 8:05.28 for fourth.

The pace was quick throughout with Birech sitting on rabbit Haron Lagat until Lagat dropped out with three laps to go (4:51). At that point, Biech and Kemboi had begun to separate from the field, and Jager was in just 9th, at the back of the main pack. Jager, sensing the race was getting away from him, knew he needed to pick it up and with two to go, he was up to fourth behind Conseslus Kipruto. Those two were still 15 meters down on Birech and Kemboi, however, who came through in 5:56.

The dance is back

The dance is back

Birech continued to drive the pace, leading Kemboi at the bell (7:01), and as they reached the end of the backstretch on the bell lap, Jager, now in third, was actually gaining on the leader and the deficit was down to fewer than 10 meters. That was the leaders’ cue to take off, and both Birech and Kemboi launched into their kicks with 200 to go. Both kicked furiously off the water jump and Kemboi swung wide on the final barrier in an attempt to pass Birech. He edged ahead only slightly however, as Birech was full of fight. The two battled stride for stride over the final 100 and in the end Kemboi was your winner by a narrow margin of just .12. Kemboi, who normally likes to drift into the outer lines to celebrate his victories, could only afford to make it to lane three in this one, though he did cap it off with a dance in front of the Hayward Field faithful. Kipruto wound up running Jager down for fourth place.

 

Pl.Athlete / TeamCnt.BirthResultScore
1.Ezekiel KEMBOIKEN828:01.711250WL
2.Jairus Kipchoge BIRECHKEN928:01.831250SB
3.Conseslus KIPRUTOKEN948:05.201234SB
4.Evan JAGERUSA898:05.281234SB
5.Paul Kipsiele KOECHKEN818:13.951194
6.Jonathan Muia NDIKUKEN918:18.381174
7.Hillary Kipsang YEGOKEN928:18.991171SB
8.Donald CABRALUSA898:19.241170SB
9.Roberto ALAIZESP908:19.851167PB
10.Matthew HUGHESCAN898:20.341165SB
11.Barnabas KIPYEGOKEN958:21.931158SB
12.Abel Kiprop MUTAIKEN888:25.641141
13.Daniel HULINGUSA838:25.751141
14.Bernard NGANGAKEN858:33.981105
Brahim TALEBMAR85DNF
Haron LAGATKEN83DNF

Quick Take #1: Birech-Kemboi is going to be a treat this year

Usually when Kemboi is at the top of his game, he’s untouchable, but Birech, who won six times on the Diamond League circuit last year, is a real threat to him and gave him all he could handle today. Kemboi traditionally peaks very well and if he can reach another level in Beijing, perhaps he will dominate once again. But Birech also ran his best at the end of the year in 2014 (a world-leading 7:58.41 at the DL final in Brussels on September 5). Watching these two training partners battle this season — the NBC Sports broadcast talked about a potential World Record attempt — and at Worlds in August will be special and a welcome change from last year, when Birech dominated almost every major race.

Quick Take #2: A fantastic opener for Evan Jager

Here are Jager’s season-openers since he took up the steeple in 2012:

2012: 8:26.14
2013: 8:08.60
2014: 8:06.97
2015: 8:05.28

He’s managed to get better every year so far and is on track to do so again in 2015, missing his PR by just .57 of a second today. Though Conseslus Kipruto came back on him over the final 200 today — a mistake that would have cost him a medal in a championship race — Jager usually get betters as the season goes on and today’s result, against most of the world’s top steeplers, is a sign that he will be a legitimate medal threat in Beijing.

Women’s 5,000: Genzebe Dibaba’s WR attempt falls short; but she runs fastest time in US history

Dibaba won by

Dibaba won by over 12 secondsWith a rabbit (or perhaps a race with Almaz Ayana), it’s possible Dibaba could have taken down sister Tirunesh’s 14:11.15 world record (or at least come closer to it),

Genzebe Dibaba came up short in her world record attempt here and its hard to blame her as as she was all alone after just 1800m into the race. Running a world record is hard, running most of the race all alone is almost impossible.

Dibaba ran admirably during the second mile, passing through 3200 in 9:07 (her first 1600 was 4:35), less than three seconds off WR pace. She couldn’t sustain the pace over the final mile, however, slipping to 69.7 on from 3200 to 3600, then 70.1 and 71.1. At the bell (13:13.4), it was clear the world record was off the table, though Dibaba still had a shot at a PR with a 65-second last lap. She couldn’t quite manage that, running 66.4 for her last lap to finish in 14:19.76, an outdoor PR (her indoor PR is 14:18.86).

A solo 14:19 — putting Dibaba fourth on the all-time outdoor list — is still an incredibly impressive performance and nothing for Dibaba to be ashamed of, though it was obviously a bit short of her goal.

Results and quick takes.

Pl.Athlete / TeamCnt.BirthResultScore
1.Genzebe DIBABAETH9114:19.761242PB
2.Faith Chepngetich KIPYEGONKEN9414:31.951218PB
3.Vivian Jepkemoi CHERUIYOTKEN8314:46.691189SB
4.Sally KIPYEGOKEN8514:47.751187SB
5.Alemitu HAROYEETH9514:48.521185
6.Irine Chebet CHEPTAIKEN9214:53.321176SB
7.Viola Jelagat KIBIWOTKEN8315:00.691162
8.Yelena KOROBKINARUS9015:18.801127SB
9.Marielle HALLUSA9215:23.331118
10.Meraf BAHTASWE8915:46.971074SB
Gabriele GRUNEWALDUSA86DNF
Betsy SAINAKEN88DNF
Katarzyna BRONIATOWSKAPOL90DNF
Alexi PAPPASUSA90DNF
Lauren JOHNSONUSA87DNF

Quick Take #1: Genzebe Dibaba’s strong season continues

Dibaba may not have gotten the WR but she shouldn’t be walking around with her head down after this one. She is three-for-three in 2015, breaking the world indoor record (14:18.86) in February, just missing the road 5k record in Carlsbad in March and setting an outdoor PR with her 14:19.76 today (previous best: 14:28.88). Countrywoman Almaz Ayana, who ran 14:14 in Shanghai two weeks ago, seems like the only woman in the world capable of hanging with Dibaba right now, though unfortunately we may have to wait until Worlds to see them square off.

Today’s time was the 5th fastest 5000 ever run outdoors (6th fastest ever counting Genzebe’s indoor 5000) and a time that her older sister, Tirunesh has only beaten once – when she ran the 14:11.15 WR.

Jenny Simpson fans, we do have some bad news for you. The 1500/5000 double is very much doable for Dibaba at Worlds. The 1500 finishes the day before the 5000 heats and then there are two days off before the 5000 final.

Quick Take #2: An impressive 5,000 debut by Faith Kipyegon

Kipyegon, a two-time world junior XC champ and the Kenyan record holder at 1500 (3:56.98) projected as a good 5,000 runner and she delivered in her debut, running 14:31.95 to put her #21 on the all-time list. Still only 21, Kipyegon, the Commonwealth Games 1500 champ, will now have to decide between the 1500 and 5,000 at Worlds.

Quick Take #3: Vivian Cheruiyot is making good progress

Cheruiyot isn’t back to the form that saw her win world titles at 5,000 and 10,000 in 2011, but she acquitted herself well in her first track race since 2012, running 14:46.69 for third. Cheruiyot took a long time to come back from giving birth in 2013. This was a sign that she is on the right path, but she’ll need to keep improving if she wants to medal at Worlds again.

Men’s 100: Tyson Gay Runs His Fastest Time Since Drug Suspension

Gay ran 9.88 and got the win in his first non-relay race of the year. 9.88 is his fastest legal time since his 9.86 in Kingston on May 4, 2013 (Gay ran 9.93 last year). Gay was clearly pleased with the result and in his post-race interview with Lewis Johnson, apologized to his supporters for making a mistake (his positive drug test) and said that whatever supplements he puts in his body going forward “is on me.”

Su Bingtian became the first Asian-born athlete to break 10.00, running 9.99.

Pl.Athlete / TeamCnt.BirthResultScore
1.Tyson GAYUSA829.881239SB
2.Michael RODGERSUSA859.901232SB
3.Bingtian SUCHN899.991201PB
4.Kim COLLINSSKN769.991201SB
5.Nesta CARTERJAM8510.021190
6.James DASAOLUGBR8710.131153SB
7.Richard THOMPSONTTO8510.271106
8.Justin WALKERUSA9010.281103

Men’s High Jump: Mutaz Essa Barshim Jumps a World-Leading 2.41 meters

After flying 9,000 miles from Qatar to compete, Barshim only took three jumps, clearing 2.28, 2.35 and 2.41 before calling it a day. He didn’t make any attempts at a world record, to the disappointment of the crowd. Not sure why. If he had made attempts at 8 feet this would have been the first meet where someone attempted 20 feet in the pole vault and 8 feet in the high jump. If you know why Barsham didn’t jump email us at letsrun@letsrun.com

Pl.Athlete / TeamCnt.BirthResultScore
1.Mutaz Essa BARSHIMQAT912.411278WL
2.Guowei ZHANGCHN912.381251PB
3.Erik KYNARDUSA912.351224SB
4.Ivan UKHOVRUS862.321197SB
5.Daniil TSYPLAKOVRUS922.281161SB
6.Andriy PROTSENKOUKR882.281161SB
7.Jesse WILLIAMSUSA832.241126
7.Donald THOMASBAH842.241126
7.Derek DROUINCAN902.241126

Women’s Triple Jump: Caterine Ibarguen Wins #24 in a Row

It came down to her final jump, but Ibarguen got it done, leaping 15.18 to get the victory over Russia’s Yekaterina Koneva. This was the first time two women had broken 15.00 in the same competition since the 2008 Olympics.

Pl.Athlete / TeamCnt.BirthResultWindScore
1.Caterine IBARGUENCOL8415.18+2.11209
2.Yekaterina KONEVARUS8815.04+1.71197WL, PB
3.Olha SALADUKHAUKR8314.48+1.51141
4.Keila DA SILVA COSTABRA8314.21+2.11111
5.Yosiris URRUTIACOL8614.03+1.71095SB
6.Yanmei LICHN9013.61+3.21043
7.Amanda SMOCKUSA8213.59+1.01054

Men’s 110 hurdles: Pascal Martinot-Lagarde Wins His Season-Opener

Martinot-Lagarde, Track & Field News’s World #1 last year, ran a world-leading 13.06 in his first race of 2015. World record-holder Aries Merritt of the U.S. was second in 13.12, his fastest time since July 2013.

Pl.Athlete / TeamCnt.BirthResultScore
1.Pascal MARTINOT-LAGARDEFRA9113.061234WL
2.Aries MERRITTUSA8513.121222SB
3.David OLIVERUSA8213.141218SB
4.Orlando ORTEGACUB9113.141218SB
5.Sergey SHUBENKOVRUS9013.281191SB
6.Andrew RILEYJAM8813.281191SB
7.Aleec HARRISUSA9013.391170
8.Wenjun XIECHN9013.391170

Women’s Javelin: World Champion Christina Obergfoll Wins

Obergfoll only needed two throws to get the win, throwing 63.07 meters.

Pl.Athlete / TeamCnt.BirthResultScore
1.Christina OBERGFÖLLGER8163.071113SB
2.Kara WINGERUSA8662.851109
3.Madara PALAMEIKALAT8762.851109
4.Elizabeth GLEADLECAN8861.461084
5.Barbora ŠPOTÁKOVÁCZE8159.841054SB
6.Linda STAHLGER8558.641033
7.Mariya ABAKUMOVARUS8657.241007
8.Martina RATEJSLO8155.15969

Men’s Pole Vault: World Record Holder Renaud Lavillenie Gets An Outdoor PR And Diamond League Record With 6.05m

Only world outdoor record holder Sergey Bubka has ever gone higher as this 6.05m mark moves Renaud Lavillenie to tied for second all-time outdoors. Lavillenie’s previous outdoor best was 6.02m, but he has the world indoor record (and best mark overall) with 6.14m. After clearing 6.05m Lavillenie moved the bar up to a world record 6.16m, but took three attempts and was unable to get over. 2014 NCAA and USA champion Sam Kendricks was second in 5.80m. Renaud’s younger brother Valentin was 4th with a 5.70m outdoor PR.

    1 Lavillenie , Renaud              FRA       6.05          4        
    2 Kendricks , Sam                  USA       5.80          2        
    3 Holzdeppe , Raphael Marcel       GER       5.80          1        
    4 Lavillenie , Valentin            FRA       5.70                   
    5 Lisek , Piotr                    POL       5.70                   
    6 Filippídis , Konstadínos         GRE       5.40                   
      de Oliveira , Augusto            BRA         NM                   
      Xue , Changrui                   CHN        DNS

Women’s 400: Allyson Felix Gets A Big Win Over Sanya Richards Ross

We know Allyson Felix can dominate at the 200m, but she isn’t as consistently good over 400m. Here she ran a good time to beat a great field including Olympic champ Sanya Richards-Ross. Richards-Ross was trying to become the first woman to run under 50-seconds 50 different times, but fell short so will have to wait until next time. Felix also revealed that she’ll be trying to double-up in both the 200 and 400 this year at Worlds.

    1 Felix , Allyson                  USA      50.05                   
    2 Richards-Ross , Sanya            USA      50.29                   
    3 McPherson , Stephenie Ann        JAM      50.40                   
    4 Francis , Phyllis                USA      51.37                   
    5 Hastings , Natasha               USA      51.71                   
    6 Williams-Mills , Novlene         JAM      51.89                   
    7 Grenot , Libania                 ITA      51.91                   
    8 Day , Christine                  JAM      52.29

 

Men’s 400 Hurdles: Johnny Dutch Gets The Win As USA Goes 1-3

2014 US champ Dutch got the win in 48.20 just beating out Bershawn Jackson by .02. Behind them there was a decent gap to Michael Tinsley in third. Olympic bronze medalistJavier Culson was well beaten in 6th and Jamaica’s world junior champ Jaheel Hyde, who has a 49.01 pb, made his Diamond League debut as the last finisher. Welcome to the pros, Mr. Hyde.

    1 Dutch , Johnny                   USA      48.20          4        
    2 Jackson , Bershawn               USA      48.22          2        
    3 Tinsley , Michael                USA      48.79          1        
    4 Hussein , Kariem                 SUI      49.24                   
    5 Mägi , Rasmus                    EST      50.08                   
    6 Culson , Javier                  PUR      50.10                   
    7 Hyde , Jaheel                    JAM      50.80                   
      Gordon , Jehue                   TTO        DNF

Women 100 (International): English Gardner Barely Wins In A Quick 10.84

Gardner and Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson both clocked 10.84, but Gardner was given the win and the world lead. However, her WL didn’t last long as it was beaten by three women in the main 100m race. Still, a great time and new PB for Gardner who hadn’t broken 11-seconds since 2013.

    1 Gardner , English                USA      10.84                   
    2 Thompson , Elaine                JAM      10.84                   
    3 Santos , Rosângela               BRA      11.04                   
    4 Tarmoh , Jeneba                  USA      11.06
    5 Duncan , Kimberlyn               USA      11.22
    6 Pierre , Barbara                 USA      11.24
    7 Silva , Ana Claudia              BRA      11.30
    8 Whitney , Kaylin                 USA      11.49

Women’s 100: Shelly-Ann Gets The Win In A World-Leading 10.81

Jamaica’s Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was challenged here as she and Murielle Ahoure both ran 10.81, but Fraser-Pryce got the win. Ahoure will still be happy with setting a national record for the Ivory Coast. USA’s Tori Bowi was 3rd just off her 10.80 PR.

    1 Fraser-Pryce , Shelly-Ann        JAM      10.81          4        
    2 Ahouré , Murielle                CIV      10.81          2        
    3 Bowie , Tori                     USA      10.82          1        
    4 Okagbare , Blessing              NGR      10.87                   
    5 Jeter , Carmelita                USA      11.02                   
    6 Baptiste , Kelly-Ann             TTO      11.08
    7 Bartoletta , Tianna              USA      11.09
    8 Ahye , Michelle-Lee              TTO      11.90

Men’s 400: Kirani James Beats LaShawn Merritt Again

James broke 44-seconds for the 5th time in his career. While Merritt lost, he did get a seasonal best (previous best 44.80) and snap a streak of two straight races over 45.

Afterwards, Merritt said he is on the right track with new coach Brooks Johnson and is aiming to being his best at Worlds.

    1 James , Kirani                   GRN      43.95          4        
    2 Merritt , LaShawn                USA      44.51          2        
    3 Brown , Chris                    BAH      44.54          1        
    4 Masrahi , Yousef Ahmed           KSA      44.75                   
    5 Haroun , Abdelalelah             QAT      44.80                   
    6 McQuay , Tony                    USA      44.81                   
    7 Makwala , Isaac                  BOT      45.33                   
    8 Maslák , Pavel                   CZE      45.66

Men’s 200: Justin Gatlin Ties His PB

Usain Bolt had better start training as Justin Gatlin is in unreal form as he equaled his PR with a 19.68 win. He was in a class of his own winning by a ridiculous .36-seconds.

Talk about Gatlin’s race on the message board: Gatlin says F*ck the haters – 19.68.

    1 Gatlin , Justin                  USA      19.68          4        
    2 Jobodwana , Anaso                RSA      20.04          2        
    3 Ashmeade , Nickel                JAM      20.18          1        
    4 Young , Isiah                    USA      20.24                   
    5 Forte , Julian                   JAM      20.41                   
    6 Mitchell , Curtis                USA      20.44                   
    7 Edward , Alonso                  PAN      20.63                   
    8 Roberts , Gil                    USA      20.88

 

SEASON OPENER HAS LAGAT RIGHT ON TRACK
By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom
(c) 2015 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved - Used with permission.

EUGENE, Ore. (31-May) -- The 41st Prefontaine Classic surely did not disappoint, with plenty of world leading marks, personal bests, and memorable performances. Yet lost in the shuffle was a very strong track season opener for two-time Olympic medalist Bernard Lagat, the now 40-year-old who has long been one of the faces of American distance running.

In the 5000m on Friday evening, Lagat used his experience and a bit of added motivation to push himself into the mix, winding up fourth in 13:14.97. Though he was four seconds adrift of winner Yomif Kejelcha --a runner less than half his age-- Lagat's time smashed the master's (40+) world record of 13:43.15, formerly held by France's Mohamed Ezzher.

While most fans and media members had their eyes focused on compatriot Galen Rupp who challenged for the win and wound up third in 13:12.36, Lagat ran tough in the final kilometer. He'd finish ahead of accomplished athletes like Ryan Hill, Lawi Lalang, Collis Birmingham, and Ibrahim Jeilan, sprinting around the Bowerman Curve and down the homestretch like the wily veteran has done so many times before.

It was a performance here last year that was on replay in Lagat's mind heading into this race, serving as motivation to start the season on the right foot. In 2014, Lagat finished 14th of 17 competitors in the Prefontaine Classic 5000m, timing a sub-par 13:31.23. Finishing just shy of 30 seconds behind winner Caleb Ndiku (13:01.71), the race left a mark on Lagat.

"My first race [last year] was 13:31 I think and it was right here and I was disappointed. I didn't want to repeat that here at the Prefontaine Classic. This is a special place for me, and I was embarrassed. I was telling everybody 'sorry' because I ran bad, but then I vowed not to do the same thing," Lagat told Race Results Weekly.

Determined not to make the same mistakes twice, Lagat spent time at altitude in Arizona, building endurance for his long outdoor season. "I went training in Flagstaff, had really good training, came down here and I was like 'I'm going to give all I can.' That's all I could afford today, 13:14. That's not too bad."

Entering the race, Lagat had anticipated the leaders would try and go out at 12:50-pace. Midway through, however, the tempo lagged slightly, and it never quite got going again. Hopes of a meet record or sub-13 clocking went out the window.

"I think they were going to go 62 and I thought to myself I am going to judge it and see if I can hang with that kind of pace. It ended up not being too, too fast and suited me, because being my first race I didn't know how it was going to feel," Lagat said.

Right now, Lagat knows what he has to do: sharpen up. Having won seven national titles outdoors at 5000m, he's got the process down pat. His main goal between now and the U.S. Outdoor Champions here at Hayward Field will be to tinker with his speed training. The base is there, but the wheels need a bit more work. He has until June 28 --the day of the 5000m final-- his first of two fitness peaks for the summer (his other would come at the IAAF World Championships).

"I realized I'm in good shape, the only thing that I need to do is fine tune it so that when I go to my next competition before U.S. Nationals, I'll be back here feeling strong and fresh," he said. Reflecting on his final lap here, Lagat felt good though just didn't have the lift in his legs to match winner Kejelcha, Kenyan Edwin Soi, or Rupp. "When you are not sharp race-wise, that's how I feel. You always feel like you are not going fast enough. The body feels like it is fresh but the turnover is not there."

In the mixed zone, an American reporter asked if Lagat's focus has shifted at all from contending for a World Championships medal in Beijing to setting masters records. In so many words, he asked if Lagat was questioning if he could still keep up with the younger competitors. Lagat smiled his usual smile and gave a poignant and meaningful response.

"I have [the masters records] as a focus, yes," he began. "If I aim for a good time and end up not doing so well, I hope I can break [those] records. The [media] attention has been, yes, 'Bernard Lagat is 40, what is he going to do?' I still feel like I can perform at the highest level. 13:14 most of the time wins World Championships. That's all I can say. I just need to prepare really well with Coach James Li, train hard and come back here sharper in June to make the team."

Bernard Lagat has already achieved the 2015 World Championships and 2016 Olympic Games qualifying standards of 13:23 and 13:25, respectively. Now he just has to worry about finishing in the top three at the USA Championships this year and Olympic Trials the next.

The odds are in his favor: in eight of the past nine years, Lagat has placed in the top three in the 5000m at the national meet.

The only missing year? That was 2009, when he had an automatic qualifying birth into the World Championships and wound up taking home a silver medal.


WORLD LEADS, FIERCE BATTLES HIGHLIGHT SECOND DAY OF PREFONTAINE CLASSIC
By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom
(c) 2015 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved - Used with permission.

EUGENE, Ore. (30-May) -- As is tradition here at the Prefontaine Classic, records were shattered in bunches and world leading times were run in bulk at Historic Hayward Field, providing a memorable close to the 41st edition of this IAAF Diamond League meeting. Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba became the fourth-fastest woman in 5000m history, just the tip of the iceberg on what was a perfect day of distance racing.

DIBABA RACES ALONE INTO 5000M HISTORY

At the pre-meet press conference on Friday, Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba spoke confidently of chasing her sister Tirunesh's world record for 5000m (14:11.15). To come close to the mark, Dibaba would have to run well faster than her 5000m personal best of 14:28.88. That she did, chasing the clock as hard as possible in a largely solo run.

Despite a field that was perhaps the strongest in event history, Dibaba made 12 and a half laps look like a cakewalk, breaking away from the pack with ease and completing circuit after circuit in solitary. By 3000 meters, reached in 8:33.33, the 24-year-old was in front by 40 meters. Her split time at 3000 meters was announced as a facility record, bringing the sell-out crowd of 13,278 into a frenzy.

Though not quite on world record pace, Dibaba continued to press on, hoping to crack the 14:20 barrier. Doing so would put her among a very elite group of Tirunesh Dibaba, Meseret Defar, and Almaz Ayana.

Dibaba quickened her cadence with a lap to go, flying past the East Grandstands, around the Bowerman Curve, and down the homestretch with a determined look. To a roaring standing ovation she'd break the tape in 14:19.76, the fastest time every on U.S. soil.

"It was very fast and I am very happy today," said Dibaba. "I was very happy, under 14:20. It was good. My best time, I am very happy."

Clutching a bouquet of flowers, it was announced Dibaba had set a meet record, facility record, and was now the fourth fastest woman in history. After apologizing for not speaking much English, Dibaba smiled and said, "the last K was very hard, but my time was fast."

And about her goal, to break her sister's world record? "Next time, yes, next time I will chase the world record."

Well behind Dibaba, Faith Kipyegon took second in 14:31.95, in her debut at the distance, followed by Vivian Cheruiyot in 14:46.69 and Sally Kipyego in 14:47.75.


MEMORABLE DUEL BETWEEN KENYAN FOES KEMBOI AND BIRECH

For much of the past two years, Kenyans Ezekiel Kemboi and Jairus Birech have been the class of the world in the 3000m steeplechase. Kemboi is the two-time Olympic champion, while Birech won Commonwealth Games silver and was the African Champion in 2014. Here today, the pair quickly found their familiar spots at the head of the field.

Battling like two prize fighters, blow for blow and leap for leap, Kemboi and Birech rounded the oval with a familiar rhythm. Neither wanted to be the Kenyan to fold.

It would take the final water jump to truly decide a winner, as Kemboi cleared the barrier with ease while Birech had a slight miss-step.

"I had to slow down the last 600 meters to get the strength for the final push," said Birech. "The last jump was the one."

Breaking the tape in 8:01.71 to Birech's 8:01.83, Kemboi took the win, pocketed four IAAF Diamond League race points, and then entertained the Hayward Field faithful with his traditional dance moves. Kemboi's time was a world lead, meet record, and facility record.

"I still have a small problem with my jumping," Kemboi admitted, saying he wasn't as sharp as usual because this was his first steeplechase of the season. "I have the tactics and my training is very good. I like dancing and my dance, I just like the people here... I wanted a chance for them to be as happy as me."

Behind Kemboi and Birech, American Evan Jager made a valiant attempt to better his own American record, coming up less than a second short. Still, the 26-year-old was very pleased with his 8:05.28 performance, especially considering the fact that he battled bravely with World Championships silver medalist Conseslus Kipruto.

"Everyone really came and brought their 'A' game," said Jager. "It stung a little bit the first couple laps but I was able to keep myself under control... I felt good the last lap and I was happy to see 8:05. It sucks, it was just off the record but it's early in the season."


SIMPSON HOLDS STEADY IN WOMEN'S 1500M

Jenny Simpson, the reigning IAAF Diamond League champion at 1500m, had said on Saturday that the 2015 season was all about staying competitive at the front of the field. In her first metric mile of the outdoor season, Simpson executed a flawless strategy, remaining close to the front before sprinting powerfully to victory.

While American compatriot Shannon Rowbury went with rabbit Phoebe Wright for the race's opening half, Simpson sat meters back leading the chase pack. Through 800 meters, Rowbury, Simpson, and Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan were in fine form for podium finishes.

A lap and a half later, it was Simpson, Hassan, and Kenya's Mercy Cherono going three wide entering the homestretch, all fighting for the win. Simply put, Simpson had the best strength and sprint on the day, holding steady in the front and breaking the tape with a pump of the fist in 4:00.98, the second-fastest time in the world this year. Cherono took second in 4:01.26 with Hassan third in 4:01.65. Rowbury wound up fourth in 4:02.28.

"I got to just kind of feel out the race for 800 meters and that was really fun to do," said Simpson. "There's not going to be a single race this year that's easy to win, so it really feels good to start off with a win and a good time.

Outside of the top four, high school senior Alexa Efraimson drew a loud applause from the knowledgeable crowd, setting a new national junior and high school record with her 4:03.39, seventh place performance. The 18-year-old, who will graduate from Camas High School in Washington in two weeks, time hung tough in the pack, not relenting in the homestretch.

"I was hoping for a really big PR today knowing it was a really stacked field," said Efraimson, taking down Mary Cain's previous record of 4:04.62. "I think over this past year I've progressed a lot not only physically, but mentally and psychologically. It's been a really good year of training coming up to this and I knew that I wanted to run fast today."

Efraimson's performance even drew a congratulations from Simpson, whom Efraimson considers a role model.

"Wow! I think that's really impressive," said Simpson. "That's a really impressive run for her, her age, and her development."


SOULEIMAN DEFENDS BOWERMAN MILE CROWN

Minutes after Simpson gave America a win in the women's 1500m, it was up to compatriot Matthew Centrowitz to give the red, white, and blue a sweep of the meet's two iconic middle distance events. In his way, though, was reigning Bowerman Mile champion Ayanleh Souleiman.

Souleiman entered today's race with the sole purpose of winning, earning coveted IAAF Diamond League race points and protecting his title of Bowerman Mile champion. Facing a stellar field that included Kenyans Asbel Kiprop, Silas Kiplagat, and James Magut, Souleiman made sure to stay close to the lead pack.

Through the half mile in a modest 1:59.64 (well behind the pacemakers), Souleiman and Centrowitz found themselves leading. The University of Oregon alum Centrowitz had came into the race wanting to stick as close to Souleiman's shoulder as possible. In the final lap, there wasn't even a foot separating the pair.


 

WORLD LEADS, FIERCE BATTLES HIGHLIGHT SECOND DAY OF PREFONTAINE CLASSIC
By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom
(c) 2015 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved - Used with permission.

EUGENE, Ore. (30-May) -- As is tradition here at the Prefontaine Classic, records were shattered in bunches and world leading times were run in bulk at Historic Hayward Field, providing a memorable close to the 41st edition of this IAAF Diamond League meeting. Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba became the fourth-fastest woman in 5000m history, just the tip of the iceberg on what was a perfect day of distance racing.

DIBABA RACES ALONE INTO 5000M HISTORY

At the pre-meet press conference on Friday, Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba spoke confidently of chasing her sister Tirunesh's world record for 5000m (14:11.15). To come close to the mark, Dibaba would have to run well faster than her 5000m personal best of 14:28.88. That she did, chasing the clock as hard as possible in a largely solo run.

Despite a field that was perhaps the strongest in event history, Dibaba made 12 and a half laps look like a cakewalk, breaking away from the pack with ease and completing circuit after circuit in solitary. By 3000 meters, reached in 8:33.33, the 24-year-old was in front by 40 meters. Her split time at 3000 meters was announced as a facility record, bringing the sell-out crowd of 13,278 into a frenzy.

Though not quite on world record pace, Dibaba continued to press on, hoping to crack the 14:20 barrier. Doing so would put her among a very elite group of Tirunesh Dibaba, Meseret Defar, and Almaz Ayana.

Dibaba quickened her cadence with a lap to go, flying past the East Grandstands, around the Bowerman Curve, and down the homestretch with a determined look. To a roaring standing ovation she'd break the tape in 14:19.76, the fastest time every on U.S. soil.

"It was very fast and I am very happy today," said Dibaba. "I was very happy, under 14:20. It was good. My best time, I am very happy."

Clutching a bouquet of flowers, it was announced Dibaba had set a meet record, facility record, and was now the fourth fastest woman in history. After apologizing for not speaking much English, Dibaba smiled and said, "the last K was very hard, but my time was fast."

And about her goal, to break her sister's world record? "Next time, yes, next time I will chase the world record."

Well behind Dibaba, Faith Kipyegon took second in 14:31.95, in her debut at the distance, followed by Vivian Cheruiyot in 14:46.69 and Sally Kipyego in 14:47.75.


MEMORABLE DUEL BETWEEN KENYAN FOES KEMBOI AND BIRECH

For much of the past two years, Kenyans Ezekiel Kemboi and Jairus Birech have been the class of the world in the 3000m steeplechase. Kemboi is the two-time Olympic champion, while Birech won Commonwealth Games silver and was the African Champion in 2014. Here today, the pair quickly found their familiar spots at the head of the field.

Battling like two prize fighters, blow for blow and leap for leap, Kemboi and Birech rounded the oval with a familiar rhythm. Neither wanted to be the Kenyan to fold.

It would take the final water jump to truly decide a winner, as Kemboi cleared the barrier with ease while Birech had a slight miss-step.

"I had to slow down the last 600 meters to get the strength for the final push," said Birech. "The last jump was the one."

Breaking the tape in 8:01.71 to Birech's 8:01.83, Kemboi took the win, pocketed four IAAF Diamond League race points, and then entertained the Hayward Field faithful with his traditional dance moves. Kemboi's time was a world lead, meet record, and facility record.

"I still have a small problem with my jumping," Kemboi admitted, saying he wasn't as sharp as usual because this was his first steeplechase of the season. "I have the tactics and my training is very good. I like dancing and my dance, I just like the people here... I wanted a chance for them to be as happy as me."

Behind Kemboi and Birech, American Evan Jager made a valiant attempt to better his own American record, coming up less than a second short. Still, the 26-year-old was very pleased with his 8:05.28 performance, especially considering the fact that he battled bravely with World Championships silver medalist Conseslus Kipruto.

"Everyone really came and brought their 'A' game," said Jager. "It stung a little bit the first couple laps but I was able to keep myself under control... I felt good the last lap and I was happy to see 8:05. It sucks, it was just off the record but it's early in the season."


SIMPSON HOLDS STEADY IN WOMEN'S 1500M

Jenny Simpson, the reigning IAAF Diamond League champion at 1500m, had said on Saturday that the 2015 season was all about staying competitive at the front of the field. In her first metric mile of the outdoor season, Simpson executed a flawless strategy, remaining close to the front before sprinting powerfully to victory.

While American compatriot Shannon Rowbury went with rabbit Phoebe Wright for the race's opening half, Simpson sat meters back leading the chase pack. Through 800 meters, Rowbury, Simpson, and Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan were in fine form for podium finishes.

A lap and a half later, it was Simpson, Hassan, and Kenya's Mercy Cherono going three wide entering the homestretch, all fighting for the win. Simply put, Simpson had the best strength and sprint on the day, holding steady in the front and breaking the tape with a pump of the fist in 4:00.98, the second-fastest time in the world this year. Cherono took second in 4:01.26 with Hassan third in 4:01.65. Rowbury wound up fourth in 4:02.28.

"I got to just kind of feel out the race for 800 meters and that was really fun to do," said Simpson. "There's not going to be a single race this year that's easy to win, so it really feels good to start off with a win and a good time.

Outside of the top four, high school senior Alexa Efraimson drew a loud applause from the knowledgeable crowd, setting a new national junior and high school record with her 4:03.39, seventh place performance. The 18-year-old, who will graduate from Camas High School in Washington in two weeks, time hung tough in the pack, not relenting in the homestretch.

"I was hoping for a really big PR today knowing it was a really stacked field," said Efraimson, taking down Mary Cain's previous record of 4:04.62. "I think over this past year I've progressed a lot not only physically, but mentally and psychologically. It's been a really good year of training coming up to this and I knew that I wanted to run fast today."

Efraimson's performance even drew a congratulations from Simpson, whom Efraimson considers a role model.

"Wow! I think that's really impressive," said Simpson. "That's a really impressive run for her, her age, and her development."


SOULEIMAN DEFENDS BOWERMAN MILE CROWN

Minutes after Simpson gave America a win in the women's 1500m, it was up to compatriot Matthew Centrowitz to give the red, white, and blue a sweep of the meet's two iconic middle distance events. In his way, though, was reigning Bowerman Mile champion Ayanleh Souleiman.

Souleiman entered today's race with the sole purpose of winning, earning coveted IAAF Diamond League race points and protecting his title of Bowerman Mile champion. Facing a stellar field that included Kenyans Asbel Kiprop, Silas Kiplagat, and James Magut, Souleiman made sure to stay close to the lead pack.

Through the half mile in a modest 1:59.64 (well behind the pacemakers), Souleiman and Centrowitz found themselves leading. The University of Oregon alum Centrowitz had came into the race wanting to stick as close to Souleiman's shoulder as possible. In the final lap, there wasn't even a foot separating the pair.

Down the homestretch as if attached at the hip, Souleiman held the slightest advantage, with Kiprop a step further back. Despite a late challenge by Centrowitz, the IAAF World Indoor Champion in Souleiman was able to maintain his lead and successfully retain his crown, stopping the clock in a new world lead of 3:51.10.

"This year, I want the points and Diamond League. I am happy to have a good run and get those," said a relaxed Souleiman, the first repeat Bowerman Mile champion since Kiprop in 2009/2010. "I want the points, not the time. I knew Centrowitz was coming back and he was fast last year. He was pushing. I win, I am happy, and next week I will go to Rome 800m and see you on TV!"

Centrowitz was a tenth of a second back in 3:51.20, followed by the fast-closing Kiprop third in 3:51.25.

"It's the best place I've finished in any Diamond League 1500m or mile. Even though I was close to the win, I was definitely happy with how I finished and it's a good step in the right direction," said Centrowitz. Interestingly, all 13 runners in the Bowerman Mile field finished under 3:57.34.


SUM AND WILSON BATTLE FOR 800M SUPREMACY

As favorite, reigning world champion Eunice Sum had to work very hard to secure a win in the women's 800m. A tightly bunched affair through one lap, American Brenda Martinez opened the race up with a strong surge less than 300 meters from the finish. Stringing the field into single file, Martinez charged on until Sum and Ajee' Wilson came up on her shoulder as they approached the final homestretch.

While Martinez tightened up slightly and faded, Sum and Wilson went stride for stride until only five meters remained, when the Kenyan gained a step's advantage. She'd win in a world-leading 1:57.82 to Wilson's 1:57.87.

"The last 200m, you know, I was just like 'I messed it up, so now I just got to give it all I got the last 200m,'" said Wilson. "I just think I would have had a better shot of winning had I put myself in a better position."


AMAN REBOUNDS WITH WIN FOR ADOPTED HOMETOWN

Oregon Track Club member and reigning IAAF World 800m Champion Mohammed Aman rebounded from a rough 1:47.38 season opener to win here today in front of his adopted home crowd. Racing in a retro Oregon Track Club singlet, Aman took the lead with 250 meters to go and rounded the Bowerman Curve with confidence. He'd win in 1:44.92, with Botswana's Nijel Amos second in 1:45.06 and Olympic 1500m champion Taoufik Makhloufi third in 1:45.17.

"My focus was to run here in my hometown and it made me happy," he said. "You feel relaxed. I am so strong, I train with coach [Mark] Rowland, and I was ready."

Aman wasn't the only Oregon Track Club member to win today. Ben Blankenship dug deep to match Jonathan Sawe and Timothy Cheruiyot's kicks in the homestretch of the International Mile, ultimately passing the pair of Kenyans on the inside to win in 3:55.72.

The next stop of the IAAF Diamond League will be in Rome on June 4.


FARAH THRILLS CROWD WITH 10,000M VICTORY ON DAY ONE OF PREFONTAINE CLASSIC
By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom
(c) 2015 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved - Used with permission.

EUGENE, Ore. (29-May) -- On a crystal clear night perfect for racing, Great Britain's double Olympic champion Mo Farah electrified the Hayward Field faithful, fighting tooth and nail to win the 10,000m here at the Prefontaine Classic's opening day of competition. Farah, 32, prevailed in a time of 26:50.97, the fourth fastest 10,000m ever run at Hayward Field and the fastest time so far in the world this year.

"My aim was to definitely run faster," Farah told members of the media, slightly frustrated with the final time. "It's one of those things where you just might as well go for it while it's still early on [in the season]. That was the aim, but you know, it was pretty difficult."

From the opening kilometers, one could sense the 10,000m was going to be a barn-burner. At halfway, hit in approximately 13:21, Farah held a step lead on a group of five which included Paul Tanui, Geoffrey Kamworor, Geoffrey Kirui, and Emmanuel Bett, all from Kenya. Pressing on, Farah looked like a man on a mission, often trading the lead with Tanui. The pair had talked among one another early in the race, and agreed to share leading duties hoping to run a fast time.

With two miles remaining, the pack had dwindled down to three: Farah, Tanui, and Kamworor. Still, Farah and Tanui did a majority of the leading.

Antsy for a faster time, the Hayward Field faithful kept their traditional rhythmic clap going, amplified a notch when Farah surged to the lead with three laps to go. However, the fans weren't just cheering for Farah -- they were roaring for his Nike Oregon Project teammate Cam Levins, who'd moved up very well from well back at halfway to fourth position in the final kilometer.

For a moment it looked as if Farah was starting to fade up front, as Tanui fought his way into the pole position with 700 meters to go. But Farah --who hasn't lost a 10,000m competition since 2011-- wasn't going to go down without a fight.

After taking the bell, Farah moved into the lead and went to his trademark finishing kick, opening up his stride hoping to get to the Bowerman Curve in front. That he did, using the standing ovation and roars from the crowd to power home through the line in 26:50.97. Tanui was second in 26:51.86, followed by Kamworor, the world cross country champion, in third (26:52.65).

"I was hoping to run a lot faster, I was hoping to run 26:30-something," Farah again reiterated. "You try these things. That was today's aim, and I've never run that fast. My aim is to give it a go."

Down the stretch, Farah knew he could get the win in front of his adopted hometown fans.

"I was just thinking push all the way to the end," Farah said. "I was quite pumped up at the start. It was good. I like Hayward Field and it is a good crowd and they love distance. There's great history."

Levins, 26, wound up finishing fourth, shattering Simon Bairu's Canadian national record of 27:23.63. Levins's time of 27:07.51 was a personal best by more than 20 seconds.

"Oh my gosh it was amazing," said an exuberant Levins, talking fast with excitement. "It was a huge push. They kept me going, kept me going, and kept me strong. I was telling Simon [Bairu] before the race 'Hey it's going down.' All he said was 'I'm surprised you hadn't got it already.' It was kind of his push back on me, like 'What took you so long.'"

With it being the 40th anniversary of Steve Prefontaine's final race, many in attendance had hopes that an American --especially homegrown talent Galen Rupp-- would cap off the anniversary in style with a victory. However, it simply wasn't to be. The men's 5000m looked more like an 800m, as nearly the entire field stayed bunched together until there was a mere two laps to go.

With 600m left, Rupp had had enough. Surging to the lead, the 29-year-old Olympic silver medalist took control, pushing the pace with a sudden change of pace.

Matching Rupp stride for stride was Kenya's Albert Rop and Ethiopia's Yomif Kejelcha, the latter a 17-year-old who won the IAAF World Junior Championship 5000m title on this very track last year.

As the Hayward Field faithful's cheers got louder for Rupp, the wheels on the father of twin girls began to slowly fade. Kejelcha came up on Rupp's shoulder with 300 meters remaining and swiftly went by, completing what the public address announcer said was a 55.2-second lap from 4400 to 4800 meters. For the final half lap, the youthful Kejelcha was alone in front, breaking the tape in 13:10.54.

Behind, Rupp and Soi battled for second, with the Kenyan prevailing in 13:11.97 to Rupp's 13:12.36. Forty year-old Bernard Lagat was fourth in 13:14.97, smashing the masters (40+) world record.

The day belonged to Kejelcha, however, whose previous personal best was a mediocre 13:25.19. Entering the mixed zone with a very big smile and sporting a new Nike shirt, Kejelcha stopped in front of a throng of reporters. All he could say in between smiles was "No English! No English! No English" before scampering off to the athlete recovery area without further comment.

Rupp did stop and speak with reporters after Farah's win, pleased with his season opening performance.

"It was pretty tactical, so I knew that I had to try to make a longer run with a lot of the guys having good kicks," said Rupp. "I did my best to do what I thought I needed to do to win. I just got to make the right adjustments in training and go from there."

He continued: "I really wanted to see how I stacked up against these guys. It's been a while since I've raced that hard and I'm happy with how it went... I know my strength is good right now so it's good practice for the big meets coming up which are probably going to be tactical too. I was really pleased with the way it turned out and I know where I'm at now."

In the USATF High Performance Women's 800m, Maggie Vessey claimed the win in a season best 2:00.07. Vessey created a five meter gap out front after the pacer stepped off and never let go, keeping her foot on the gas pedal all the way through the tape.

Vessey told reporters she is very confident with how training has gone, and did not taper coming into this meet. She will taper for the USA Championships here later next month.

"The strength is there, the speed is there," she said. "I feel fantastic. It's just a matter of being relaxed when I go to the starting line, getting out of my own way, saddling up and going for the ride and seeing what happens."

Phoebe Wright was second in 2:00.79, while last year's IAAF World Junior Champion Margaret Nyairera Wambui of Kenya was third in 2:01.32.

Throughout last indoor season, North Carolina's Ryen Frazier dominated the high school mile scene, winning invitationals across the country. Here, she'd have to rely on a hard sprint for the line to take home the crown, winning the girls' high school mile by a mere four-one hundredths of a second.

The entire 10-girl field was bunched at the bell, when Frazier and Danielle Jones of Arizona separated from the pack. Neck and neck down the homestretch, the pair went stride for stride all the way to the line before Frazier gained a step. Unsure of who won, both Frazier and Jones embraced shortly after the finish. The scoreboard revealed that Frazier had indeed taken first, 4:39.84 to 4:39.88.

"I don't like to celebrate, especially when it's that close!" said Frazier, reflecting on the moments after her win. "I was glad I could get a step. I thought I had a step and I'm glad I did."

Minutes later, another close race played out in the Boys' High School Mile. Mikey Brannigan of Northport, N.Y., led coming down the homestretch, out in front by five meters. As it looked like Brannigan, who has Autism, was going to win and complete his dream of finishing first at Hayward Field, Arizona's Carlos Villareal appeared out of nowhere in lane four, sprinting hard for the line.

Making up ground with ease, Villareal raised his arm in celebration as he crossed the line, 4:05.25 on the clock. Brannigan was second in 4:05.78.





Matthew Centrowitz makes it close, but Ayanleh Souleiman wins the Pre Classic's Bowerman Mile

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Ayanleh Souleiman wins the Bowerman mile with Matthew Centrowitz placing second during the Pre Classic at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Thomas Boyd/Staff
Ken Goe | The Oregonian/OregonLiveBy Ken Goe | The Oregonian/OregonLive 
Email the author | Follow on Twitter 
on May 30, 2015 at 5:47 PM, updated May 30, 2015 at 9:07 PM
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EUGENE – Ayanleh Souleiman fought off a kicking Matthew Centrowitz Saturday on the home straight before a roaring crowd at Hayward Field to win the Bowerman Mile, as the Prefontaine Classic closed in style.

Souleiman finished in 3 minutes, 51.10 seconds, just ahead of Centrowitz, second in 3:51.20.






Centrowitz, who starred for the University of Oregon, brought the crowd of 13,278 to its feet by going for the win coming off the Bowerman Curve and onto the home straight.

But Souleiman, who ran a 1:43.78 800 meters in Qatar weeks ago, had just a little more in the tank.

"I have more speed," said Souleiman, who won The Bowerman Mile last year, too.

As much as he needed, anyway.

Souleiman's winning time in 2014 was 3:47.32.

"To be that close to a win is nothing but exciting," Centrowitz said. "I've been talking for years about mixing it up in the Diamond League with these guys. Today was a good step in the right direction."

Later in the season, when Centrowitz has had a little more time to fine-tune his finish, well, who knows?

This was Souleiman's day.

"I know Souleiman always has that extra gear," Centrowitz said. "He's extremely strong. I wasn't underestimating his finish by any means."

There were a number of big performances on a warm, sunny Saturday. Among them:

-- Jenny Simpson won the women's 1,500 with a bold move coming off the Bowerman Curve to finish in 4:00.98. Mercy Cherono was second. The Nike Oregon Project's,Shannon Rowbury, who led coming onto the last lap's home straight, crossed fourth in 4:02.28.

Camas High senior Alexa Efraimson was seventh in 4:03.39 to break the U.S. high school record of 4:04.62 set by Mary Cain in 2013.

-- Running almost entirely by herself, Genzebe Dibaba zoomed away with the women's 5,000 by 12 seconds in 14:19.76 to crush the meet record of 14:33.96 set by Vivian Cheruiyot in 2011. In the process, Dibaba became the fourth-fastest woman ever outdoors.

-- Renaud Lavillenie won the pole vault with a clearance of 19 feet, 10¼ inches. With the crowd clapping rhythmically, he missed three attempts at 20-2½, which would have tied the world record he set indoors in 2014.

Lavillenie did take down Brad Walker's seven-year-old meet record of 19-9¾.

-- Eight-time world champion Allyson Felix's experiment with the 400 was successful. She overpowered U.S. record-holder Sanya Richards-Ross to win in 50.05. Richards-Ross was second in 50.29.

-- Both women's 100 races were fast. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce edged Murielle Ahoure in a photo finish to win the Diamond League 100 in 10.81.

Former University of Oregon star English Gardner won the B section in 10.84. Second-place finisher Elaine Thompson had the same official time.

-- Mutaz Essa Barshim claimed the high jump with a first-attempt clearance of 7-10 3/4 to break the Hayward Field record of 7-10½ that he set last year, and then retired from the competition.

The world record of 8-0½, owned by Cuba's Javier Sotomayor since 1993, will stand for now.

In the thrilling finish to the women's 1,500, Simpson was sitting on Rowbury coming off the last turn of the 1,500, then kicked past her on the home straight.

"A good step forward for me," Simpson said. "I can be a stalker, be really patient and be ready to close hard."

Rowbury was relatively pleased, too.

"I ran 4:02 pretty much leading it. I just got outkicked in the last 100 meters," she said. "But we haven't done a lot of sharpening and I haven't really raced that much."

It was a pretty good afternoon for several local athletes.

Gardner, who spent last year hobbled with hamstring problems, said she was overcome with emotion at the start line.

"I felt like I was on the top of the world, and then I went all the way to the bottom," she said of her injury-plagued 2014. "Everything that could go wrong last year, went wrong."

But this is a new season. While at Oregon, Gardner used to joke with reporters that she would gear up for a big performance by uncaging "the lion."

"The lion finally got back out," she said. "I thought somebody had locked him up and sold him at a zoo somewhere."

Ethiopian Mohammed Aman, who trains as a member of Eugene-based Oregon Track Club Elite, claimed the 800 in 1:44.92.

OTC Elite's Ben Blankenship won the men's international mile, darting inside on the home straight to edge Jonathan Kiplimo Sawe at the line.

Blankenship finished in 3:55.72. Sawe crossed in 3:55.76.

Ezekiel Kemboi squeaked out a victory over Jairus Kipchoge Birech in the steeplechase. Kemboi finished in 8:01.71 to take down the meet record of 8:03.59 set by Conseslus Kipruto in 2013.

Evan Jager of the Bowerman Track Club, the U.S. record-holder, was fourth in 8:05.28. Jager moved up late in the race, but never got into position to win.

It was first steeple of the season, and as he pointed out, a long way still to go.

"I was happy with how I finished," Jager said.



Quite a tale at the tape

Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman wins the Bowerman Mile in a side-by-side-by-side finish

 




It wasn’t the fastest Bowerman Mile ever, but who needs speed when you can have dramatic finishes?

On an afternoon that saw a pair of thrilling attempts at world records and an American junior record set in the women’s 1,500, the Prefontaine Classic’s signature event still delivered a perfect ending to the 41st annual track and field meet on Saturday.

A crowd of 13,278 at Hayward Field rose to its feet as Ayanleh Souleiman, Matthew Centrowitz and Asbel Kiprop sprinted to the finish line side-by-side-by-side before finishing in that order just 15-hundreths of a second apart.

Souleiman finished in 3:51.10, Centrowitz, running back on the track where he once starred for Oregon, ran 3:51.20, and Kenyan Asbel Kiprop finished in 3:51.25.

Kenyan Silas Kiplagat was right on their heels with a fourth-place finish in 3:51.92.

Souleiman won the Bowerman Mile last year in a meet record 3:47.32, one of six times under 3:50 in that race. While no one was as fast this year, all 13 finishers ran under 3:58.

“Centrowitz, he’s good,” said Souleiman, who is from Djibouti. “He’s running fast, and that’s why he came in the last 100 meters. I had a little more.”

But not much.

Despite coming in second, Centrowitz said he was happy with his performance.

“It’s nothing but exciting to be in the thick of things,” Centrowtiz said. “I’ve been talking for years now about mixing it up on the Diamond League circuit with these guys, and this was a good step in the right direction.”

Centrowitz attempted to get out front late in the race but Souleiman proved to have a better finish at this point in the season.

“I felt good with 200 to go,” Centrowitz said. “I thought I was going to pull it off. But I also know Souleiman always saves that extra gear and he’s extremely strong and fast. He ran 1:43 (in the 800) a couple weeks ago, so I wasn’t underestimating his finish by any means.”

Souleiman’s time is the best in the world this season, bettering a time that wasn’t even three hours old.

Earlier in the meet, Oregon Track Club Elite’s Ben Blankenship won the men’s International Mile in a then world-leading 3:55.72 with a sweet move and surge near the end of the race.

Blankenship was running behind leader Timothy Cheruiyot and in front of Jonathan Kiplimo Sawe when Sawe moved into lane 3 to pass both on the outside.

Blankenship followed with a move inside along the rail and with one last burst of speed, blew through the finish line in first place to beat the two Kenyans.

Sawe was second in 3:55.76 and Cheruiyot was third in 3:55.80.

“I was just kind of hoping that the inside lane would open up,” Blankenship said. “Either way, I was going to try and make a move and was just waiting to see what everybody else’s legs felt like.”

The race got out to a fast start as the pace setters pushed for a 1:53 half mile. The pack didn’t go with them, however, which was fine with Blankenship, who was happy to sit and wait.

“I think the race has the talent to go that fast, but nobody wants to take it on, and I didn’t care,” he said. “I didn’t want to drag more Americans to the “A” standard. It’s tactic as well.”

It’s already been a good season for Blankenship, who was a member of America’s world record-setting distance medley relay team earlier this month at the World Relays in the Bahamas. Now he has his sights set on the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field in late June and an attempt to make the World Championship team in the 1,500.

“Until I hit a road block, hopefully not at USAs, I’ll keep rolling,” Blankenship said.

American 3,000 steeplechase record-holder Evan Jager opened his season on Saturday with a fourth-place finish in 8:05.28, just off his record-time of 8:04.71.

“I felt pretty composed,” said Jager, who spent the race trying to chase down a trio a Kenyans. “Definitely, the legs were stinging the second to last lap. But I felt good going into the last lap and tried to have a good final water jump and really kick hard.”

Ezekiel Kemboi was the winner in 8:01.71 to move into the world lead, Jairus Kipchoge Birech was second in 8:01.83 and Conseslus Kipruto was third in 8:05.20.






Men’s 5000: A 17-Year-Old Ethiopian Officially Arrives On The Scene

Distance fans, if you didn’t stay up late on Friday night to watch Distance Night at the 2015 Prefontaine Classic, you may have missed the unveiling of the sport’s next track distance star.

308 days after after he won the World Junior 5000 title here by tightening the screws and increasing the pace over the final 3.5 laps, Ethiopia’s 17-year-old Yomif Kejelcha destroyed the field over the final 300 to win a tactical men’s 5000 in a new personal best of 13:10.54. 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Edwin Soi of Kenya was second in 13:11.97 with American Galen Rupp third in 13:12.36 as 40-year-old American Bernard Lagat destroyed the 40+ world record of 13:43.15 (Lagat had run 13:40 on the road at Carlsbad) by running 13:14.97 for 4th.

The Race

At the pre-meet press conference, Prefontane Classic meet director Tom Jordan told LRC Galen Rupp was in great shape and wanted to run fast but no one went with the rabbits in this one as it ended up being a negative split race (6:36-7 at halfway).

The clock read 10:11.44 with three to go but the the real racing didn’t start until the final two laps as with 800 to go the clock was at 11:16.70. With 700 to go, Rupp made a big move to the front and with 650 meters remaining, three guys, Rupp, Bahrain’s Alberto Rop, and Kejelcha, were basically three-abreast, but heading into the turn Rop, who ran 12:51 in 2013 but was only 11th in the Diamond League opening 3000 in Doha, was able to maintain the inside and keep Rupp from the lead.

At the bell (12:15.02), Rupp’s move the front had succeeded as he was in the lead as Kejelcha was on his shoulder with Soi in third and Rop in fourth.

Kejelcha had this in the bag with 150 to go

Kejelcha had this in the bag with 150 to go

With 300 to go, Kejelcha made his move for glory putting on a tremendous burst of speed and seizing a comfortable lead over Galen Rupp. A few weeks ago in the 3000 at Doha, Kejelcha went too hard too early in a race with Mo Farah and faded to 5th. Had Kejelcha gone too early once again? The others did gain a little on him over the final 100 but his lead was so huge (10+ meters) with 150 to go that he still won this one with some comfort.

Once past the line, the youngster gave himself a much deserved fist pump. Rupp had shown great speed in giving chase, but Edwin Soi passed him before the line for second, with Rupp third, and a big 2.6 gap to 40 year old Bernard Lagat in 4th.

Results and quick takes appear below.

Men’s 5000 Results

5000 Metres - Men                                             

    1 Kejelcha , Yomif                 ETH   13:10.54                   
    2 Soi , Edwin Cheruiyot            KEN   13:11.97                   
    3 Rupp , Galen                     USA   13:12.36                   
    4 Lagat , Bernard                  USA   13:14.97                   
    5 Rop , Albert Kibichii            BRN   13:15.66                   
    6 Hill , Ryan                      USA   13:15.92                   
    7 Lalang , Lawi                    KEN   13:16.11                   
    8 Birmingham , Collis              AUS   13:17.49                   
    9 Nebebew , Birhan                 ETH   13:19.14                   
   10 Jeilan , Ibrahim                 ETH   13:20.21                   
   11 Ahmed , Mohammed                 CAN   13:20.67                   
   12 Barrios , Juan Luis              MEX   13:28.58                   
   13 McNeill , David                  AUS   13:40.93
      Fernandez , German               USA        DNF                   
      Gathimba , Gideon Mwangi         KEN        DNF


The two biggest names in this race were world champion Mo Aman and Olympic silver medalist Nijel Amos. However, neither one came in with the normal favorite status you would expect. Aman opened his season at the Doha Diamond League with a terrible 1:47.38 performance for 9th place while Amos pulled out of that same race with a quad injury. Despite the doubts surrounding their fitness and health coming in, Aman and Amos delivered here with a 1-2 finish. Aman went to the lead with a little under 200 to go and was able to hold of a late charging Amos on the backstretch to take it in 1:44.92 to Amos’ 1:44.06. Reigning Olympic 1500m champion Taoufik Makhloufi got a nice season opener with a close 3rd place finish in 1:45.17.
800 Final 100m

800 Final 100m

The Race (Video replay here)

Once again, the runners were reluctant to follow the rabbit as Harun Abda took the race out in 51.61, but no one went with him. Behind Abda there was a sizable gap to Poland’s Adam Kszczot who lead the chase pack. Aman, Amos and Makhloufi sat right behind Kszczot.

As they approached 200 to go Amos got himself in a bit of trouble as he was on the rail and boxed in when Makhloufi went by on his outside. Amos had to wait a little longer to make a move to go after Aman. Amos also had to go a bit wider and run the final curve almost in lane 2. In the end this probably cost him the win as he challenged Aman up until the final meters, but wasn’t able to get by. Makhloufi made a late surge and almost caught the other two, but it was too little too late.

Behind the top three Kszczot fell back to 8th and Kenya’s Alfred Kipketer took 4th (1:45.69). Charles Jock was in dead last at the bell and moved up to finish 6th (1:46.08).

Results:

    1 Aman , Mohammed                  ETH    1:44.92                   
    2 Amos , Nijel                     BOT    1:45.06                   
    3 Makhloufi , Taoufik              ALG    1:45.17                   
    4 Kipketer , Alfred                KEN    1:45.69                   
    5 Kinyor , Job Koech               KEN    1:45.87                   
    6 Jock , Charles                   USA    1:46.08                   
    7 Olivier , André                  RSA    1:46.10                   
    8 Kszczot , Adam                   POL    1:46.14                   
    9 Rotich , Ferguson Cheruiyot      KEN    1:46.72
      Abda , Harun                     USA        DNF

EUGENE, Ore. — It was a great day to be an American middle-distance fan on Saturday. 2014 Diamond League champion Jenny Simpson picked up where she left off on the DL circuit, winning her third straight DL 1,500 in 4:00.98 (though this race does not count in the DL standings). Minutes later, Matthew Centrowitz recorded his best-ever DL showing with a runner-up 3:51.20 in the Bowerman Mile, narrowly losing to Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman, who won here for the second straight year.

Simpson and Centrowitz were the biggest names to excel, but they were hardly the only Americans to run well. Ben Blankenship continued his red-hot 2015 with a win in the international mile (3:55.72) while high school senior Alexa Efraimson (Camas, WA) broke the U.S. high school and U.S. junior records at 1500 with a spectacular 4:03.39 to place seventh in the women’s 1500. Mary Cain held the old record at 4:04.62 from 2013.

Men’s Bowerman Mile: Ayanleh Souleiman Repeats as Matthew Centrowitz Finishes a Surprising Second

Matthew Centrowitz made him work for it, but in the end Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman defended his Bowerman Mile title in impressive fashion, holding off Centrowitz and Asbel Kiprop over the final, drama-packed 100 meters. Souleiman got the win in 3:51.10 after closing in 1:51.46 for his final 800 with Centrowitz second in 3:51.20 and Kiprop third in 3:51.25.

While Souleiman’s victory was no surprise, Centrowitz’s runner-up finish represented a massive step forward for the 25-year-old. Centro has proven himself to be one of the world’s best championship racers (3rd, 4th and 2nd at last three global champs) but generally struggled in the faster Diamond League races. Prior to today, he hadn’t finished in the top six of a DL race since 2012, when he was fourth in Brussels and third in Lausanne. He’s now tied for the second-best finish ever by an American in a DL 1500/mile:

Best finishes by an American man in a DL 1500/mile
1st, Leo Manzano, August 6, 2011 (London)
2nd, Bernard Lagat, August 6, 2011 (London)
2nd, Leo Manzano, August 27, 2010 (Brussels)
2nd, Leo Manzano, August 14, 2010 (London)
2nd, Matthew Centrowitz, May 30, 2015 (Eugene)

The Race (video replay here)

It quickly became apparent that we weren’t going to have a repeat of last year’s super-quick Bowerman Mile as when Souleiman came through 409 meters in 59.57 seconds, he had a five-meter lead on the main pack yet was still 25 meters behind the rabbits. After another slow lap (1:59.64 at 809), Morocco’s Abdelaati Iguider took the lead and injected some pace and both Americans were ready to react (Centro was in third, Leo Manzano 4th), having used the slow pace to position themselves well in the early stages of the race.

Iguider hit the bell in 2:57.23 (57.59 lap) and battled to hold the lead for the first half of the lap before Souleiman went by him on the backstretch. Centrowitz, who looked smooth as always, was right on Souleiman’s tail and moved up into second as they entered the final turn as Manzano started to fade after getting bumped going around the final turn. Souleiman really started to press on the turn but Centrowitz would not drop; Silas Kiplagat also swung wide and started to move up to challenge for the lead.

In the homestretch, Souleiman and Centrowitz dropped Kiplagat but gained a new challenger in Asbel Kiprop, who hadn’t been anywhere near the lead for most of the race (he’s been near last for some of it). It was a three-way kick between the gold and silver medalists from the most recent World Championships and last year’s World Indoor champion/World #1. This was mile racing at its finest.

In the end, the red-hot Souleiman held everyone off in 3:51.10, with Centrowitz finishing a well-deserved second and Kiprop taking third (his first defeat to Centrowitz since 2012). Kiplagat, who won the first DL 1500 of the year in Shanghai two weeks ago, was fourth while Manzano faded to 11th, though he still managed a respectable 3:53.55.

Pl.Athlete / TeamCnt.BirthResultScore
1.Ayanleh SOULEIMANDJI923:51.101187WL
2.Matthew CENTROWITZUSA893:51.201185SB
3.Asbel KIPROPKEN893:51.251185SB
4.Silas KIPLAGATKEN893:51.921176SB
5.James Kiplagat MAGUTKEN903:52.331171SB
6.Ronald KWEMOIKEN953:52.571168PB
7.Collins CHEBOIKEN873:52.631167SB
8.Johan CRONJERSA823:53.021162SB
9.Abdelaati IGUIDERMAR873:53.211159SB
10.Henrik INGEBRIGTSENNOR913:53.431157SB
11.Leonel MANZANOUSA843:53.551155SB
12.Vincent KIBETKEN913:55.651129SB
13.Aman WOTEETH843:57.341107SB
Hillary Kipkorir MAIYOKEN93DNF
Andrew Kiptoo ROTICHKEN87DNF

Quick Take #1: Ayanleh Souleiman is the world’s best miler right now

This status may change by August as Kiprop, Kiplagat and Centrowitz are all capable of challenging him, but there’s no doubt Souleiman is #1 at the moment. He won the DL 800 opener in Doha (1:43.78) and now he’s beaten the world’s best in the mile at Pre (he also ran a 13:17 5,000 on April 27 for good measure). You can’t ask for a better start to the year.

Afterwards, Souleiman was asked if he preferred the 800 or the 1500 and he indicated the 1500m is his favorite event, but with a touch of humor noted that just as someone can’t eat their favorite food all the time, sometimes he needs to mix it up noting he runs the 800 and now the occasional 5000. Souleiman has a big personality and as his English keeps improving it will be good for the sport.

Quick Take #2: Matt Centrowitz may have reached another level after his big indoor season

Centrowitz put together a terrific indoor campaign, running 2:17.00 for 1k, 3:51.35 (to win the Wanamaker Mile) and winning the U.S. title. Some wondered whether his indoor success would transfer to the outdoor track, and the answer appears to be yes. He ran very well at Oxy on May 14 (1:46.55 800) and beat almost all of the world’s greatest milers this afternoon.

Centro has run well every time but once in 2015 (10th in Birmingham 1500 in UK indoors in Feb).

The only question now is whether Centrowitz can keep up this level of performance all the way through Beijing. Running a great race on his own turf is one thing; can Centrowitz do the same in later races such as Oslo, Paris and London? The evidence so far is promising. He’s certainly in PR shape, given he missed his PR by less than a second today after going through 809 in just under 2:00. If he gets in the right race, he’s certainly got a shot to become the seventh American under 3:50.

Centro ran 3:31 last year which is equal to roughly a 3:48 mile. Placing well in the Diamond League was a nice step forward here.

Quick Take #3: There’s no point in having rabbits if no one is going to go with them

This race had two rabbits, Hillary Maiyo and Andrew Rotich, but less than a lap into the race, they were rendered useless as no one showed any interest in running with them up front (Souleiman ran slightly ahead of the pack but still not close to the rabbits). This was far from the only time this happened this weekend or this season (the first DL 1500 was won in just 3:35.29 after the field chose not to go with the rabbits). It’s fine if runners don’t want to try and break 3:30 or 3:48 every time out — in fact, it’s probably better that way. But it looks bad when there are rabbits 25 meters ahead of the pack one lap into the race. The IAAF may want to reassess how rabbits are deployed; this still turned out to be a very exciting race even though the rabbits were barely involved. If the field doesn’t go with the rabbits may they should just drop out.

Leo Manzano who dominated in his last race, the Oxy 1500m, faded the last 200m here after getting bumped around the final turn, but he said his training is going great. He’s not sure what exactly he’ll run next.

 

Women’s 1500: Jenny Simpson Continues To Dominate The Diamond League 1500 as Alexa Efraimson Pushes Mary Cain Aside

Last year Jenny Simpson was the Diamond League 1500m champion, winning in Stockholm, Zurich and finishing runner-up in Shanghai and Paris. She continued that 1500 dominance here getting the victory over a competitive field in 4:00.98 in a non Diamond League event. Behind her world 5000 silver medalist Mercy Cherono was runner-up in 4:01.26 and European champion Sifan Hassan was 3rd (4:01.65). With 100 to go it looked like the tight finish in Zurich last year between Shannon Rowbury and Simpson could repeat itself, but Rowbury was completely done in the last 100 and ended up a well beaten 4th in 4:02.28.

Behind the top four, the story was absolutely Alexa Efraimson who finished in 7th with a new US junior and high school record of 4:03.39. We have a separate article on Efraimson here as the high school senior erased Mary Cain from the top of the US record books.

The Race (video replay here)

The rabbit was Phoebe Wright and unlike the men’s Bowerman mile, someone actually went with her. Shannon Rowbury was  out hard just a bit behind Wright as she went through the first 400m in about 64. Behind Rowbury there was a small gap to Jenny Simpson who was working on closing the distance to Rowbury and had another small gap on the rest of the pack. At this point Hassan was way back in almost last place.

When Wright took Rowbury through 800 in about 2:09 the positions were about the same, but by the time Wright stepped off at 900m Simpson was right on Rowbury’s heals and soon the whole pack was right there as well. Simpson sat on Rowbury as Hassan moved up to third as they hit the bell in roughly 2:59.

Rowbury continued to lead on the backstretch, but Simpson stayed right on her shoulder waiting while Hassan continued on the rail in 3rd, but was boxed in a bit by Cherono who moved next to her in the outside of lane 1. Behind those four many more women were still right there with 200m remaining, including Katie Mackey, Emma Coburn and Alexa Efraimson who was going wide into lane 2 trying to pass.

Down the homestretch it was the Jenny Simpson show as she powered past Rowbury looking quick and smooth and took the win in 4:00.98. Hassan had gone wide to get out of the box and she and Cherono closed well themselves, but Simpson was never in danger as Cherono took 2nd .39 ahead of Hassan. Rowbury was completely spent and had no response when the other three women went by her, but was able to place fourth.

Efraimson was in the mix with nearly the entire field on the final lap and she held on for a huge 4:03.39 pr. She was not the only American with a big pr as Sarah Brown just ahead of her in 6th pr’d with a 4:03.20 (previous pr 4:05.27) and Katie Mackey in 8th in 4:03.81 prd (4:04.60 previous best).

Results:

    1 Simpson , Jennifer               USA    4:00.98                   
    2 Cherono , Mercy                  KEN    4:01.26                   
    3 Hassan , Sifan                   NED    4:01.65                   
    4 Rowbury , Shannon                USA    4:02.28                   
    5 Embaye , Axumawit                ETH    4:03.00                   
    6 Brown , Sarah                    USA    4:03.20                   
    7 Efraimson , Alexa                USA    4:03.39                   
    8 Mackey , Katie                   USA    4:03.81                   
    9 Moser , Treniere                 USA    4:04.26                   
   10 Plis , Renata                    POL    4:04.78                   
   11 Coburn , Emma                    USA    4:05.10                   
   12 Buckman , Zoe                    AUS    4:06.30                   
   13 England , Hannah                 GBR    4:19.26
      Praught , Aisha                  USA        DNF                   
      Wright , Phoebe                  USA        DNF

Quick Take #1: Is Jenny Simpson The Early Favorite For The 2015 World 1500 Title?

Let’s review. In 2011 Simpson shocked the world and herself by becoming the world 1500 champion. 2011 was a strange year in the 1500 as the fastest time ran was 4:00.06 byMorgan Uceny and some called Simpson’s win a fluke, especially after she didn’t perform well at the 2012 Olympics. But fast forward to 2013 and Simpson proved herself by getting silver behind Abeba Aregawi, who was just straight-up better than Simpson that year. Then last year Simpson was the Diamond League champion.

Now here she is in an early season race getting a convincing win over Cherono and Hassan while Genzebe Dibaba is focused (at least temporarily) on the 5000 and the reigning world champ, Aregawi, is finishing far back in her races (4:04.42 for 7th in Doha, 1:59.98 here for 4th in the 800). It’s very early, but 4-years after her shock win in Daegu, Simpson will certainly be in the hunt for another world title.

Quick Take #2: Simpson Was Happy To Win At Pre For The First Time And Hayward For The First Time In 6 Years

After the race, Simpson said the following when interviewed by NBC, “When I was warming up, I overheard the announcers asking an athlete, ‘What does it means to win at  Pre? What’s one word?’ And for me this is where legends win and where they’re born, and so for me I have a lot of history here and a lot of wins here so I am trying to write my name in the history books.”

We looked back at the stats and Simpson actually hasn’t won at Hayward Field since 2009 when she won the steeplechase at USAs and she’s never won at the Pre Classic until now (she has two runner-up finishes) so this was a significant win for Simpson.

Talking about her tactics Simpson said it was hard to sit back in second place until the end. “That’s hard for me I led so much last year. I feel really comfortable on the inside of lane one and I like to press and press and grind out.” But she knew Coach Mark Wetmore wanted her to stick to the plan so she was patient and waited until the final straight to take the lead.

Quick Take #3: Rowbury And Hassan Probably Hurt Their Chances In The First Lap

In this race Rowbury and Hassan took opposite approaches as after the first lap Rowbury was right on the rabbit with a gap to the field and Hassan was in dead last. Neither tactic helped them out at the end of the race as Rowbury ran a harder first lap than anyone else in the field, but then was caught immediately after the rabbit dropped and had the field drafting off her for the next 400m. Hassan was extremely far back after the first 500m and had to make up a lot of ground just to be in contention with a lap to go. Hassan also got herself boxed in in with 200 to go and had to make an awkward move out to lane two to try and pass.

Maybe Rowbury wouldn’t have been able to finish any higher with different pacing (she was actually pretty even with splits), but Hassan definitely hurt her chances with poor tactics.

Rowbury afterwards said she wanted to be aggressive, so while leading wasn’t ideal it was just one step in her progress as a runner.

Quick Take #3: The TV Announcers Completely Missed Alex Efraimson

American history was made in the women’s 1500 here at Pre, but no one watching at home would have ever known. Alexa Efraimson ran 4:03.39 to place 7th and set a US junior and high school record, breaking the mark set previously set by Mary Cain. Come on TV crew, do your homework. They could maybe be forgiven for this if the record was 20-years old and Efraimson wasn’t on anyone’s radar, but that’s not that case at all. Efraimson’s name was ever mentioned on the NBC broadcast. Unbelievable. Mary Cain was the media darling and now Efraimson trumps Cain and she doesn’t even get mentioned.

We’re going to have a separate article on Efraimson but our post-race interview with her is below. Plus we talked to her prom date (sub 4 high school miler Matthew Maton)about her run here.

simpsonQuick Take #4: The Difference In Closing Speed Between Simpson And Others Is Amazing

Look at this screen shot from the race with less than 200m to go. So many women still right in it including Mackey, Efraimson and Coburn. But just look how far back they finish in the end. Mackey lost by almost 3-seconds; Coburn lost by almost 5-seconds in the final 150m. That’s a lot of time to lose in the final kick of a race.

Quick Take #5: Positive Step For Emma Coburn

Emma Coburn was well beaten here finishing 9th in Emma 4:05.10. But this is a great result for her as it’s actually a PR (previous best 4:05.29) and a huge improvement on the 4:10 she ran at the USATF High Performance Meet a couple of weeks ago. We can’t wait to see what she does in her first steeple this year.

QT #6: Poor Sarah Brown and Katie Mackey

Brown and Mackey both keep getting better, but here they were upstaged by Simpson, Rowbury, and Efraimson even though Brown beat Efraimson. American 1500m running is tremendously good right now and with Simpson getting a bye for worlds, and Rowbury looking like a lock, Brown, Mackey and Efraimson could be battling for the final three Worlds spots.

Women’s 1500 chatter on our world famous messageboards:

Men’s International Mile: Ben Blankenship’s Hot Streak Continues

Can Ben Blankenship and Timothy Cheruiyot race each other every week? On May 3, the two runners delivered a thrilling anchor leg in the DMR at the World Relays and they waged another thrilling battle on Saturday with Blankenship grabbing the win just before the line in 3:55.72 with a 55-second last lap.

The Race (video replay here)

The field had no interest in going with the rabbits as they hit 809 meters in a pedestrian 2:01.80. Rabbit Mark Wieczorek had about 40 meters on the main pack at that point before dropping out; Cheruiyot and Blankenship sat in first and second among the racers.

Blankenship was jubilant as he crossed the line

Blankenship was jubilant as he crossed the line

Cheruiyot dropped the pace on the third lap, running a 58.1 (2:59.9 at the bell) but the relatively slow pace meant that a lot of guys were still in the race. On the backstretch, Blankenship made a bid for the lead, but Cheruiyot countered the move and held him off. With 150 to go, Blankenship again tried to go by and Cheruiyot again held him off as those two and Kenya’s World Junior champ Jonathan Sawe began to pull away from the field. Midway through the homestretch, Blankenship made his third bid for the lead, but as he pulled up on Cheruiyot’s outside shoulder, he found himself blocked. Sawe had been making up ground on Blankenship’s outside and Blankenship found himself squeezed between the two of them with no room to maneuver.

Instead of panicking, Blankenship ducked inside and went for the pass on the inside, which Cheruiyot had left open as he drifted into lane two to hold off Sawe. The fourth time was the charm for Blankenship as he accelerated quickly to beat his Kenyan rivals to the finish in 3:55.72. Sawe just edged Cheruiyot for second in 3:55.76 as the top three were separated by just .08 of a second in a tight finish.

Garrett Heath was the next-best American in fifth at 3:56.53. OTC runners Andrew Wheating (12th, 4:00.35) and Mac Fleet (13th, 4:03.04) both struggled.

Pl.Athlete / TeamCnt.BirthResultScore
1.Ben BLANKENSHIPUSA883:55.721128SB
2.Jonathan Kiplimo SAWEKEN953:55.761127PB
3.Timothy CHERUIYOTKEN953:55.801127PB
4.Jakub HOLUŠACZE883:56.391119PB
5.Garrett HEATHUSA853:56.531117SB
6.Ryan GREGSONAUS903:56.781114SB
7.Patrick CASEYUSA903:57.281108SB
8.Charlie GRICEGBR933:57.801102SB
9.Abdi Waiss MOUHYADINDJI963:57.971100PB
10.Lopez LOMONGUSA853:59.061086SB
11.Federico BRUNOARG934:00.311071PB
12.Andrew WHEATINGUSA874:00.351070SB
13.Mac FLEETUSA904:03.041037SB
14.Jake WIGHTMANGBR944:05.191012SB
Mark WIECZOREKUSA84DNF
Julian MATTHEWSNZL88DNF

Quick Take #1: Ben Blankenship is officially the favorite for the third spot on Team USA at Worlds

After his Bowerman Mile performance, Matthew Centrowitz is the favorite for the U.S. title, and though Blankenship ran faster than Leo Manzano today, Manzano’s track record is enough to give him the nod for the #2 spot. But Blankenship’s performance today, in addition to his anchor leg at the World Relays and his fourth-place finish in Shanghai, makes him the clear choice for the third spot right now.

There’s still a month to go until USAs, during which time the order may shift. But Blankenship is on a roll, and he knows that anything less than a top-three finish at USAs will be a disappointment.

If I don’t make the World team then all this will be for nothing,” Blankenship told NBC Sports Network after the race.

Afterwards, Blankenship was pleased with his win, but would have no comment on being snubbed for the Bowerman Mile despite anchoring the US to the gold medal at World Relays and performing well at the Diamond League meet in Shanghai. Blankenship’s no comment was all that was needed to show his displeasure.

Quick Take #2: Not a good sign for Andrew Wheating

Wheating’s last race at the Hoka One One Middle Distance Classic was a step in the right direction as he clearly had the second-best kick in the race, losing out only to Leo Manzano in a solid field of Americans. It’s not time to panic, but today’s race certainly wasn’t what he was looking for as Wheating was never a serious factor, winding up 12th.

In fact, this race wasn’t a good sign for any American outside of Blankenship (and perhaps Garrett Heath) as Blankenship seemed to be running on a totally different level today even though the race wasn’t particularly fast. With only three spots available on Team USA, guys like Pat Casey and Lopez Lomong will certainly want to have been more competitive in this field.

After the race,  Wheating took responsibility for his poor run, saying he let a bunch of different race ideas cloud his mind. He initially wanted to go out hard with the rabbits, and when that didn’t happen he never found a rhythm.

We do think it’s a good sign that Wheating has tried to go with the rabbits in each of his two races, as that probably means his training has been going well, but he seems to do best when he just gets in the pack and races like Leo Manzano.


Mo Farah wins Prefontaine Classic 10K with fourth-fastest time ever at Hayward Field

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Mo Farah leads the 10,000 meter run and went on to win at the Pre Classic at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Thomas Boyd/Staff
Andrew Greif | The Oregonian/OregonLiveBy Andrew Greif | The Oregonian/OregonLive 
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on May 29, 2015 at 10:59 PM, updated May 30, 2015 at 12:08 AM
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EUGENE — Mo Farah's past three years have been so charmed that even things the British distance-running star is loosely associated with tend to turn to gold.

After Farah's gold-medal sweep of the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at both the 2012 London Olympics and world outdoor championships a year later — becoming only the second man to achieve track's "double-double" — a blog about Farah became, for a brief stretch, as popular as the star himself. Called "Mo Farah Running Away From Things," it showed exactly that. The most popular entry spliced a Photoshopped image of Farah, in his typical victory celebration of outstretched arms and wide-open mouth, as if 




frightened and looking for help — in front of a charging bear. The blog was last updated in 2013.

Its namesake, meanwhile, has kept going, pulling away from everyone who steps on a track with him.

Farah's four-year undefeated streak in the 10,000 meters remained intact Friday at the Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field, with his world-leading victory in 26 minutes, 50.97 seconds — his fastest 10K since 2011, when he set his PR of 26:46.57 — in a 19-man field creating thunderous applause unheard of all evening during the opening night of the two-day meet.

It was the fourth-fastest 10,000 in Hayward Field history.

Farah's Nike Oregon Project teammate Cam Levins smashed the Canadian record by 15 seconds, finishing in fourth in 27:07.51.

Despite it all, Farah was more perturbed than pleased, saying the race was, in reality, something of a bear.

He said he didn't come close to his goal of a mid-26:30 finish because of an inconsistent pace. He cited the lack a rabbit for the final 5,000 and the work of sharing the lead for that final stretch that he and second-place finisher Paul Tanui of Kenya (26:51.86) had agreed upon beforehand. But he said that third-place finisher Geoffrey Kamworor (26:52.65) indicated he wouldn't help.

"My goal was definitely to run faster, training's been going very well so it's one of those things where you just kind of might as well go for it," Farah said. "That was the aim but it was pretty difficult, actually."

Appearances were deceiving, then, because Farah's bouncy strides against didn't make it look very hard. His last loss in the event was Aug. 28, 2011.

In third with a mile to go, Farah took the lead for good with 350 meters remaining. At 200 meters, Kamworor nearly caught up — but Farah's kick put him ahead a comfortable 15 meters at the finish.

"I was just making sure I had something left toward the end but I just didn't want to go all out and show my cards," Farah said. "At the same time I try to win the race. At that point with one lap to go I thought, I should win this race."

He remains golden.









PRE CLASSIC INAUGURATES FIRST “LEGENDS” CLASS

       Eugene- Now in it's 41st year, the Prefontaine Classic is the longest-running invitational track & field meet in the United States.  Named after the late Steve Prefontaine, this year's Pre Classic on May 29-30 will mark the 40th anniversary since Pre's last race on May 29, 1975.   To note the occasion, the meet inaugurates its first class of “Legends of the Prefontaine Classic.” 

       The first three inductees are truly legends:

  • Liu Xiang of China was the 2004 Olympic champion, 2007 World Champion and two-time World Championships silver medalist in 2005 and 2011. He equalled the world record in 2004 and set a new standard of 12.88 in 2006. He won the Pre Classic high hurdles in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2012.  His 12.87w in the last race was the fastest ever run under any conditions at the time. Liu elevated the sport of track & field in China to new heights of popularity, and now in retirement, plans to continue that trend with his “Even The Ordinary Can Fly” campaign.
 
  • Mary Slaney of the United States was one of the most popular athletes in American distance history for two decades.  A double World Champion at 1500 and 3000 in 1983, Mary saved some of her best performances for the Prefontaine Classic.  Over the span of 15 years, she won Pre Classic races at Mile, 3000, and 5000 meters (3 times).  She set the world 5000 record at the Pre Classic in 1982, and the American 5000 record in 1985.  No one who ever saw her race will forget her effortless glide around the Hayward Field track.

 

  • Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco is widely considered the “King of the Mile”. He currently holds world records for the 1500, 2000, and the still-standing record of 3:43.13 for the Mile.  In 2004, he won gold medals in the 1500 and 5000 at the Athens Olympic Games.  While his appearances at Pre were limited to 2, one of them was voted the most popular event in the 40 year history of the meet. In 2001, El G was the first miler ever to break 3:50 on American soil.  Behind him, a high schooler named Alan Webb was making history of his own, breaking Jim Ryun's prep record. Still active in the sport, El Guerrouj serves on the organizing committee for the 2016 World Indoor Championships in Portland.
 

       These inductees will be honored at the start of Saturday's Prefontaine Classic, which begins at 12 noon at Hayward Field.  




Triple Pleasure in Pre Classic Women’s Triple Jump
(The 41st Pre Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international 
track & field meets, will be held May 29-30 at historic Hayward Field.)

            Eugene, Oregon – They were 1-2-3 on the podium at the 2013 World Championships.  They were 1-2-3 in the Track & Field News world rankings in 2014. And 1-2-3 are ready to take off in the Prefontaine Classic this Saturday.

            Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia is the reigning World Championships gold medalist.  In addition to winning the last two IAAF Diamond Trophies, Ibarguen was No. 1 in the last two year’s Track & Field News world rankings.  The most recent Pre Classic winner (2013) is a multi-talented athlete, high jumping jumped 6-4 (1.93) ten years ago and scoring a heptathlon total of 5742 in 2009.  Ibarguen has an early Diamond League lead by winning the Shanghai meet earlier this month. Most mpressively, she has the longest winning streak in the sport--23 straight--dating back to the last meet of 2012!

            Russia’s Yekaterina Koneva won gold last year in the World Indoor Championships.  She was ranked No. 2 in the world the last two years by T&FN and is set for her first competition on U.S. soil.  Koneva won the European Indoor title in March and silver in last summer’s European Championships.

            Olha Saladukha of Ukraine was No. 3 in the T&FN world rankings the last two years.  She was also No. 1 in 2011, the same year she earned gold at the World Championships and won the Pre Classic in a meet record of 49-1¾ (14.98) as part of season resulting in the IAAF Diamond Trophy.  The 2012 Olympic bronze medalist also claimed bronze at the 2013 World Championships.  She won her third consecutive European Championships title last year in Zurich.

            Amanda Smock has won a U.S. title (indoors and/or outdoors) every year since 2011 for a combined total of seven championships.  She will be competing in her first Pre Classic.

            China’s Yanmei Li, a 2012 Olympian, will be competing in the U.S. for the first time.  At 25, she is the youngest in the field and won the 2008 Asian Junior Championships.

            Keila de Silva Costa of Brazil is a three-time Olympian whose best international finish is in the long jump – a bronze medal in the 2010 World Indoor Championships.

            Yosiris Urrutia is a four-time Colombian long jump champion. Her best triple jump of 47-10 (14.58) is second only to Ibarguen in Colombia.

            Two jumpers – Ibarguen and Saladukha – are looking for an additional IAAF Diamond Trophy.  Ibarguen holds a 15-4 head-to-head record.
 
Women’s Triple JumpPersonal Best
Caterine Ibarguen (Colombia)50-2¾(15.31)
Olha Saladukha (Ukraine)49-2¼(14.99)
Yekaterina Koneva (Russia)48-10¼(14.89)
Keila da Silva Costa (Brazil)47-10(14.58)
Yosiris Urrutia (Colombia)47-10(14.58)
Yanmei Li (China)47-1(14.35)
Amanda Smock (USA)46-6¼(14.18)




Pre Classic Men’s 100 Has Record Setters From Everywhere
(The 41st Pre Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international 
track & field meets, will be held May 29-30 at historic Hayward Field.)

            Eugene, Oregon – After setting an American record in the 4 x 100 earlier this month, all of team USA will compete individually at the Prefontaine Classic.  As previously announced, second-leg star Justin Gatlin will be headlining the 200 meters; the other three will be featured in the 100.
 
            Mike Rodgers led off the equal-fastest American 4x100 team in history to win the World Relays earlier this month in 37.38.  Individually, Rodgers ranked No. 2 in the world in last year’s Track & Field News world rankings, his sixth-straight year among the Top 10.  That streak is the longest by an American since Hall of Famer Maurice Greene (1997-2004).

            Tyson Gay is the American record holder at 9.69.  He ran third leg in the Bahamas.  The top-ranked American by T&FN four times, Gay was the world’s No. 1 ranked sprinter by T&FN in 2010 and in 2007.  In 2007, Gay won World Championships gold medals in the 100 and 200.

            Oregon native Ryan Bailey was anchor on the American record-setting team, crossing the line ahead of one Usain Bolt.  He was 4th in the 2012 Olympics.  With a best of 9.88, Bailey is among America’s fastest ever, just on the heels of world record holders Carl Lewis (9.86) and Leroy Burrell (9.85) as well as American record holders Greene and Tyson Gay.

            Nesta Carter is the only man from Jamaica to rank among the T&FN  world top 10 in each year this decade in this event, topped by a No. 2 in 2013.  Carter has led off the Jamaican gold-medal 4x100 teams in the last two Olympics as well as the last two World Championships.  The 2012 Olympic team set the world record at 36.84.

            Richard Thompson is Trinidad’s fastest ever at 9.82 and has been his country’s fastest since running 9.85 in 2011  The former NCAA champion from LSU in 2008 finished that summer with an Olympic silver medal.

            Kim Collins, the 2003 World Championships gold medalist, is a four-time Olympian for St. Kitts.  He is history’s oldest sub-10 runner at 9.96, set last summer at age 38.  Collins made T&FN’s top 10 world rankings last year.  This year he was undefeated indoors in the 60 meters, clocking a national record 6.47 after a pair of 6.48s – the only man to run sub-6.50.

            James Dasaolu won the European Championships last summer.  With a best of 9.91, he is Great Britain’s fastest since Linford Christie (9.87), the 1992 Olympic gold medalist.  The Pre Classic will be Dasaolu’s first race on U.S. soil.

            China’s Bingtian Su will also be racing for the first time in the U.S.  A four-time Chinese champion, he has already equaled his PR of 10.06.  He won the Asian Championships in 2011 and 2013.  The Chinese national record is 10.00.
 
Men’s 100 MetersPersonal Best
Tyson Gay (USA)9.69 
Nesta Carter (Jamaica)9.78 
Richard Thompson (Trinidad)9.82 
Mike Rodgers (USA)9.85 
Ryan Bailey (USA)9.88 
James Dasaolu (Great Britain)9.91 
Kim Collins (St. Kitts)9.96 
Bingtian Su (China)10.06 



Fast is Back in the Pre Classic Women’s 100 Meters 
(The 41st Pre Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international 
track & field meets, will be held May 29-30 at historic Hayward Field.)
 
            Eugene, Oregon – The world’s fastest women from each of the last four years will meet in this year’s Prefontaine Classic 100 meters.  This group features versatile performers who have won a total of seven IAAF Diamond Trophies across three events.
 
            Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won the last two Olympics, joining Gail Devers and Wyomia Tyus in a select group of such Olympic repeat champions.  The Jamaican superstar is also the reigning World Championships gold medalist, adding to the gold she won in 2009.  She also won the most recent Pre Classic in a wind-aided 10.71 in 2013 – the fastest time in the world under any conditions since Fraser-Pryce clocked her Jamaican record 10.70 in 2012.  Fraser-Pryce won IAAF Diamond Trophies in 2012 and 2013, as well as another in the 200 in 2013.

            Blessing Okagbare is the African record holder at 10.79.  She was 2nd behind Fraser-Pryce in the 2013 Pre Classic at 10.75w.  A multi-event threat, in 2013, she won World Championships medals in the long jump (silver) and 200 (bronze).  Okagbare was also Olympic bronze medalist in 2008 long jump.  She has set personal best-ever marks in the last three Pre Classics.  She won the Shanghai 100 meters earlier this month, giving her the early IAAF Diamond League lead.

            USA’s Tianna Bartoletta has two major gold medals – one in the long jump (2005 World Championships) and one in the 4x100 (2012 Olympics).  She was 4th in 2012 Olympics 100.  After an attempt at winter bobsledding, Bartoletta has regrouped as a long jumper and sprinter.  She is scheduled to compete in the long jump Friday night before Saturday’s 100.  She already has the early Diamond League lead in the long jump, winning at Doha with a world-leading 22-11¼ (6.99).  Bartoletta is the reigning IAAF Diamond Trophy winner in the long jump.

            The world’s fastest last year was American Tori Bowie, who ran 10.80.  She shocked the world with a world-leading 22.18 to win last year’s Pre Classic 200 out of lane 1.  Bowie is also a former NCAA indoor and outdoor long jump champion from Southern Mississippi.  She had the second-longest jump in the world last year behind Bartoletta.

            Carmelita Jeter of the U.S. is the world’s second-fastest ever at 10.64.  She was ranked No. 1 in the world three straight years (2009-11), the only athlete to do so this century. Jeter is the 2011 World Championships gold medalist and also won silver at the 2012 Olympics.  She anchored the USA world-record 4x100 team that won gold in London.  Jeter won the first two IAAF Diamond Trophies in 2010 and 2011, adding another in the 200 in 2011.

            Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson claimed the early 2015 world lead with a personal record 10.92 in April.  She backed that up a month later with another victory (10.97) over Okagbare and Allyson Felix in the Jamaica Invitational.  Her only previous races in the U.S. have been at the Penn Relays, where she helped her team to two Championship of Americas titles (2014 sprint medley, 2015 4x200).

            Murielle Ahoure of Cote d’Ivoire was the 2013 World Championships silver medalist in both the 100 and 200.  She is a two-time silver medalist in the 60 meters at the World Indoor Championships (2012 & 2014).  Ahoure was last year’s African Championships gold medalist at 200 meters, and she won the NCAA indoor 200 meters while at Miami in 2009.

            Michelle-Lee Ahye, 23, was a 2012 Olympic semi-finalist.  A 10.85 sprinter, she ran 10.97 to win the Florida Relays into a headwind.  She is the two-time national champion of Trinidad.

            The event thus features three IAAF Diamond Trophy winners with a combined total of seven across three events – Fraser-Pryce (2012 & 2013 in the 100, 2013 in the 200), Jeter (2010 & 2011 in the 100, 2011 in the 200), and Bartoletta (2014 in the long jump).
 
Women’s 100 Meters (Diamond League)Personal Best
Carmelita Jeter (USA)10.64 
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica)10.70 
Blessing Okagbare (Nigeria)10.79 
Tori Bowie (USA)10.80 
Tianna Bartoletta (USA)10.85 
Michelle-Lee Ahye (Trinidad)10.85 
Murielle Ahoure (Cote d’Ivoire)10.91 
Elaine Thompson (Jamaica)10.92 
 
            An additional women’s 100-meter race is included for first in Pre Classic history.  It is called the International 100 and will feature even more world-class talent.

            It will be a homecoming for English Gardner, a two-time NCAA champion while at Oregon (2012 & 2013).  The 2013 U.S. champ was 4th in the 2013 World Championships.  She owns the American Junior record of 11.03.

            Kaylin Whitney, just turned 17 but already a pro, set a pair of World Youth records at last year’s U.S. Junior championships at Hayward Field.  In the 100, she clocked 11.10 and added a 22.49 in the 200.  She went on to win the World Junior gold in the 200 and 4x100, also at Hayward Field.  Whitney is eligible for two more years for Junior records.

            Barbara Pierre of the U.S. has ranked among the world’s top 10 by Track & Field News the last two years.  She has a best of 10.85 and won six NCAA Division II titles while at St. Augustine’s.

            America’s Jeneba Tarmoh has ranked among the T&FN  top 10 in the 100 and/or 200 every year since 2011.  She won the U.S. title at 200 last year and in 2008 was World Junior gold medalist in the 100.  She was a member of three NCAA championship relay teams while at Texas A&M, and has an Olympic gold medal for her work in the London 4x1 heats.

            Kimberlyn Duncan has an award few have received – The Bowerman, for being voted the top collegiate athlete, thanks to a 2013 season at LSU where she won a third-straight NCAA 200-meter title as well as third-straight top-3 finish in the 100.  She won the U.S. title in the 200 in 2013 and has ranked among the world’s top 10 by T&FNevery year since 2012.

            Trinidad’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste won bronze at the 2011 World Championships.  She is a former NCAA 100 champion for LSU.

            Two of Brazil's best are included.  Recent national record setter Ana Claudia Lemos now holds South American records in the 100 (11.01) and 200 (22.48). Rosangela Cristina Oliveira Santos is the most recent Brazilian champion and ran a PR 11.08 earlier this year.
 
Women’s 100 Meters (International)Personal Best
Kelly-Ann Baptiste (Trinidad)10.84 
English Gardner (USA)10.85 
Barbara Pierre (USA)10.85 
Jeneba Tarmoh (USA)10.93 
Kimberlyn Duncan (USA)10.96 
Ana Claudia Lemos (Brazil)11.01 
Rosangela Cristina Oliveira Santos (Brazil)11.08 
Kaylin Whitney (USA)11.10 



Another Colossal 10k Set for Pre Classic 
(The 41st Pre Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international 
track & field meets, will be held May 29-30 at historic Hayward Field.)
 
            Eugene, Oregon – Mo Farah returns to the Prefontaine Classic 10,000 meters, where the Olympic gold medalist will be joined by another incredibly deep field.

            The Pre Classic’s 10k is once again a cornerstone of Distance Night in Eugene on Friday, May 29, where fans can enjoy world-class track & field performances for free, the fifth-straight year that title sponsor Nike has provided free admission to the thrilling first-day session.  Previous editions of the Pre Classic’s free Friday night program have included world-leading marks and American records, most recently last year’s 10k by Galen Rupp, who will be running the 5k this year, also during Distance Night.
 
            Mo Farah of Great Britain has been the world’s dominant long-distance track runner since he won the 5000 gold and 10,000 silver at the 2011 World Championships. He followed that up by sweeping the 5k and 10k at both the 2012 Olympics and 2013 World Championships.  He has not lost a 10k race in nearly 4 years!

            Farah made history in winning the 2011 edition of the Pre Classic.  His time of 26:46.57 was the fastest in the world since the 2008 Pre Classic.  In the 2011 Pre Classic, Farah was the first of a record nine runners to break 27 minutes in the same race – no other race in the world has had more than six.

            The 32-year-old is the fastest British runner in history at every championship distance from 1500 meters (3:28.81) to the marathon (2:08:21).
 
            A record seven runners enter this year’s Pre Classic with PRs under 27 minutes – and that does not include the reigning World Cross Country champion.

            Of those sub-27 runners, only Kenya’s Paul Kipngetich Tanui has run that fast at two different Pre Classics – in 2011 as a 20-year-old for 4th behind Farah and again last year for 2nd behind Rupp.  Both times he set PRs, with last year’s 26:49.41 making him the fastest Kenyan in three years.  Tanui was ranked No. 2 in the world last year byTrack & Field News (behind Rupp).  He earned bronze at the 2013 World Championships, but his highest international placing is a silver at the 2011 World Cross Country Championships.

            Josphat Kipkoech Bett of Kenya was ranked No. 3 in the world last year byT&FN after a summer that included the Kenyan national title, a silver at the Commonwealth Games, and a bronze at the African Championships.  He was runner-up in the 2013 Pre Classic (to legendary Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele) and third in 2011.  He first came to prominence as the 2008 World Junior champion.

            Kenya’s Emmanuel Kipkemei Bett is the highest-finishing returner from another famous Pre Classic 10k – in 2012, when Kenya’s 15 best were the only entrants, as the race served as the Kenyan Olympic 10k Trials. There were no pacers, no lapped runners, and no one dropped out in a fast, thrilling race.  Bett finished 4th, missing the Olympics by 2 seconds.  Later that summer, he ran his PR 26:51.16, the world’s fastest that year.

            Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya is not only the reigning World Cross Country champion, but also the World Half-Marathon champion.  He won the Junior title at the 2011 World Cross Country Championships and was Kenyan champion in the 5k in 2012, making the Olympic squad.  Kamworor was only 18 when he ran his first 10k, a still-standing PR of 27:06.35 from the record-setting 2011 Pre Classic.  His half-marathon best of 58:54 makes him history’s 8th fastest, and he owns a marathon best of 2:06:12.

            Kenneth Kiprop Kipkemoi is a former Kenyan champion and African Championships gold medalist in the 10k, both in 2012.  Like Emmanuel Bett, he was unable to make the Olympic team but finished the 2012 season with a fast PR at 26:52.65.  A finalist in the 2013 World Championships 10k, he was the world’s 2nd-fastest half-marathoner last year at 59:01.

            As close as Emmanuel Bett was to making Kenya’s 2012 Olympic team,Geoffrey Kirui was just another half-second behind in 5th.  He was only 19 and would finish the summer with a World Junior Championships bronze and 2nd-fastest Junior time in world history at 26:55.73.

            Titus Kipjumba Mbishei of Kenya was silver medalist at the 2008 World Junior Championships and 2009 World Junior cross country championships.  His PR of 26:59.81 is the 7th-fastest in the field, and his 5k best of 13:00.04 is behind only Farah and Tanui in this 10k field.

            Leonard Barsoton of Kenya was 5th in this year’s World Cross Country Championships and won last year’s African cross country title.  In 2013 he was Junior silver medalist at the World Cross Country Championships.

            North America’s best in the field is Canadian Cameron Levins, a double Olympic finalist in 2012.  That was the same year Levins won a 5k/10k NCAA double for Southern Utah, matching the most recent such doubler – Galen Rupp, now a training partner of Levins.  This winter, Levins pulled off an unbelievable one-day mile/2-mile double of 3:54.74 and 8:15.38, winning both events indoors at the Armory Invitational in New York.

            The U.S. has two entrants.  The fastest is Diego Estrada, who competed for Mexico in the 2012 Olympics.  A dual citizen, he won the U.S. Half-Marathon title in January in his debut at the distance.  Estrada was 3rd in the NCAA 5k for Northern Arizona in 2014.

            Hassan Mead was 3rd in the 5k in last year’s U.S. championships.  He collected seven Big Ten titles while at Minnesota in the 5k, 10k, and cross country.  His 5k PR of 13:02.80 makes him America’s 10th-fastest ever.
 
            The remainder of an extremely talented field:
  • Teklemariam Medhin of Eritrea is only 25, yet he has already earned multiple medals in the World Cross Country Championships (silver in 2010, bronze in 2013).  He has also run in two Olympics (including a 7th in 2012), two World Championships (including a double finalist in 2009)
  • Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda is looking at a return trip to Hayward Field – he was a star at last year’s World Junior Championships.  As a 17-year-old, he won the 10k and added a 4th in the 5k.  He has already won this year’s African Championships Junior 10k title.  He is still eligible for Junior records in 2015.
  • William Malel Sitonik of Kenya won the 2011 World Youth Championships 3k and was bronze medalist in the 2012 World Junior Championships.  Only 21, he was among the world’s top 10 fastest in 2013 and 2014.
  • Stephen Mokoka is a South African long-distance legend, winning national titles every year dating back to 2008.  He has won four medals in the World University Games, topped by a 10k gold in 2013.  He won the last two Shanghai marathons and set an 800 PR of 1:48.87 last year.
  • El Hassan El Abbassi of Bahrain won last year’s Asian Games and this year’s Arab Championships.  He is a former Moroccan 10k champ prior to representing Bahrain.
  • Nguse Amlosom of Eritrea won the African Championships gold last year.  He was 5th in last year’s World Half-Marathon and was a finalist in the 2013 World Championships and 2012 Olympics.
  • Suguru Osako is a 24-year-old from Japan who was silver medalist in last year’s Asian Games (behind El Abbassi).  He won the 2011 World University Games (ahead of Mokoka).
  • Timothy Toroitich of Uganda was 5th in the 2013 World Cross Country Championships.  He is a former steeplechaser with a best of 8:23.61.
  • Goitom Kifle of Eritrea is 21 and has run the last two Pre Classic 10k races, finishing 11th both times.  He was the 2009 World Youth Championships bronze medalist in the 3k.
  • Vincent Kipsegechi Yator is a former Kenyan 5k champ.  Though he has never run a track 10k, he has road times of 27:34 and 27:45 (the latter at altitude) to his credit.  On the track, he has clocked 13:04.50 in the 5k as well as 8:29.07 in the steeple.  He ran a half-marathon PR 59:55 earlier this year.
  • Zane Robertson of New Zealand won bronze at last year’s Commonwealth Games 5k and finished second in the Continental Cup 5k.  Earlier this year he set a national record in the half-marathon (59:47).  Last year he ran a 1500 PR of 3:34.19.
  • Arne Gabius has won seven German national 5k titles and earned silver in the 2012 European Championships 5k.  He was this year’s fastest 5k runner indoors.
  • Othmane El Goumri, only 22, is a former Moroccan champ at 1500 who is making is track debut in the 10k.
 
Men’s 10,000 MetersPersonal Best
Mo Farah (Great Britain)26:46.57 
Josphat Kipkoech Bett (Kenya)26:48.99 
Paul Kipngetich Tanui (Kenya)26:49.41 
Emmanuel Kipkemei Bett (Kenya)26:51.16 
Kenneth Kiprop Kipkemoi (Kenya)26:52.65 
Geoffrey Kirui (Kenya)26:55.73 
Titus Kipjumba Mbishei (Kenya)26:59.81 
Geoffrey Kamworor (Kenya)27:06.35 
Teklemariam Medhin (Eritrea)27:16.69 
Leonard Barsoton (Kenya)27:20.74 
William Malel Sitonik (Kenya)27:25.56 
Cameron Levins (Canada)27:27.96 
Nguse Amlosom (Eritrea)27:28.10 
Timothy Toroitich (Uganda)27:31.07 
Goitom Kifle (Eritrea)27:32.00 
Diego Estrada (USA)27:32.90 
El Hassan El Abbassi (Bahrain)27:32.96 
Suguru Osako (Japan)27:38.31 
Stephen Mokoka (South Africa)27:40.73 
Hassan Mead (USA)27:49.43 
Arne Gabius (Germany)27:55.35 
Joshua Cheptegei (Uganda)27:56.26 
Vincent Kipsegechi Yator (Kenya)None (27:34 road) 
Othmane El Goumri (Morocco)None (28:44 road) 
Zane Robertson (New Zealand)None (29:29 road) 
 



Men’s 5K a Pre Classic Specialty 

(The 41st Pre Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international 
track & field meets, will be held May 29-30 at historic Hayward Field.)
 
            Eugene, Oregon – The Pre Classic 5000-meter race has a history of producing fast races, including the only sub-13:00 times—five and counting--recorded on U.S. soil.

            Fast, competitive races were one of Steve Prefontaine’s loves in track, and meet organizers have assembled a field with the top available runners in the world.  This year’s meet will mark 40 years since Prefontaine’s last race on May 29, 1975.
 
            Two of America’s greatest are among the stars in the field, U.S. record holders Galen Rupp and Bernard Lagat.  Combined, they own every AR at a championship distance from 1500 to 10k.

            Galen Rupp is America’s top-ranked 5k runner, No. 4 last year in the Track & Field News world rankings, breaking a streak of nine years by Lagat as the top American.  Rupp’s prime jewel last year was a No. 1 world ranking in the 10k, mostly due to his American record at last year’s Pre Classic that was the fastest in the world.  Rupp’s 2012 Olympic 10k silver medal was the best by an American since Billy Mills won gold in 1964, and his London Olympic 5k 4th matched the best by an American since 1972 – run by 21-year-old Steve Prefontaine.  Last year Rupp won his sixth U.S. title at 10k, most in the post-World War II era.

            Bernard Lagat is the only American to win major golds in the 1500 and 5k in the same year (2007).  He owns more Pre Classic titles at men’s distances above 1500 meters (5) than anyone except steeplechase Hall of Famer Henry Marsh (7).  Lagat won his seventh U.S. 5k crown last year, giving him the most in history.  Lagat has competed in the Pre Classic in 13 of the last 14 years.

            Yenew Alamirew is Ethiopia’s top ranked 5k runner over the last two years, ranking No. 2 in the last two world rankings by T&FN.  The 2013 IAAF Diamond Trophy winner has improved each year since his first Pre Classic appearance as a 21-year-old in the 2011 Bowerman Mile (7th).  He was runner-up in last year’s Pre 5k.

            Edwin Cheruiyot Soi of Kenya has run sub-13:00 in each of the last six years, a career streak exceeded only by world record setters Haile Gebrselassie (9) and Kenenisa Bekele (8).  The 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, Soi won the 2013 edition of the Pre Classic, beating Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah, who set the U.S. all-comers best of 12:56.98 in winning Pre a year earlier.

            Kenya’s Isiah Kiplangat Koech was a teammate of Soi’s on the last two major track teams, winning bronze at the 2013 World Championships after a 5th in the 2012 Olympics as an 18-year-old.  He has been world ranked by T&FN in each of the last four years, including as the top Kenyan in 2011 and 2012 (only 17 and 18, respectively, at the time).  The fastest runner in the field at 12:48.64, Koech also owns the fastest time ever at high altitude (13:09.80 at the 2012 Kenyan Olympic trials).  He won the IAAF Diamond Trophy in 2012 at age 18.
 
            Kenya’s Lawi Lalang is a training partner of Lagat in Tucson, Ariz.  Lalang will be making his first Pre Classic appearance, and his range includes NCAA titles in cross country, outdoor 10k and indoor mile (8 titles total).  He won the world-class Carlsbad 5k road race in March, beating Lagat.

            Albert Rop of Bahrain set an Asian record 12:51.96 in 2013, still No. 3 on the all-time world junior list.  He earned bronze at last year’s Asian Games and was fourth in last year’s Pre Classic.

            Ryan Hill of the U.S. has only lost once thus far in 2015, by 0.20 in the Millrose 5k.  His victories include the U.S. indoor 2-mile title.  He is a former NCAA indoor runner-up to Lalang, and he won ACC titles in both the indoor mile and 10k (twice) while at North Carolina State.

            Australia’s Collis Birmingham is the only man to compete in all of the Pre 5ks in the IAAF Diamond League era.  He twice set PRs at the Pre Classic before his all-time best at his second Olympics at London.

            Juan Luis Barrios is undefeated on the track thus far in 2015, including a 5k victory at Stanford’s popular Payton Jordan Invitational.  A two-time Olympian, he has Mexico’s best Olympic 5k finishes (7th in 2008, 8th in 2012) since the 4th by Juan Martinez in the 1968 Mexico City Games.  He is Mexico’s second-fastest 5k runner, trailing just the 13:07.79 of Arturo Barrios (no relation) set 36 years ago.

            Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia won gold at last year’s World Junior Championships in Eugene, matching the 3k title won in the 2013 World Youth Championships.  Kejelcha is still just 17 years old and has already won the African junior 5k title.  Ethiopia’s Birhan Nebebew, now 20, was a Junior when he finished 5th in the 2013 Pre 10k.

            Mohammed Ahmed is the highest finishing Canadian ever in the World Championships 10k, taking 9th in 2013.  The Wisconsin grad has Big Ten titles in cross country (2011), indoor track (2014 5k) and outdoor track (2010 10k, 2012 & 2014 5k).

            Cornelius Kangogo of Kenya was silver medalist at the 2014 African cross country championships.

            All in all, it's a field that Pre would have loved to match himself against.

 
Men’s 5000 Meters Personal Best
Isiah Kiplangat Koech (Kenya) 12:48.64  
Yenew Alamirew (Ethiopia) 12:48.77  
Edwin Cheruiyot Soi (Kenya) 12:51.34  
Albert Rop (Bahrain) 12:51.96  
Bernard Lagat (USA) 12:53.60  
Galen Rupp (USA) 12:58.90  
Lawi Lalang (Kenya) 13:00.95  
Collis Birmingham (Australia) 13:09.57  
Juan Luis Barrios (Mexico) 13:09.81  
Cornelius Kangogo (Kenya) 13:11.14  
Ryan Hill (USA) 13:14.22  
Birhan Nebebew (Ethiopia) 13:14.60  
Mohammed Ahmed (Canada)        

Another Epic Merritt/James 400 Battle On Tap at Pre Classic 
(The 41st Pre Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international 
track & field meets, will be held May 29-30 at historic Hayward Field.)
 
            Eugene, Oregon – Without fail, every 400-meter race between LaShawn Merritt and Kirani James brings excitement, drama and/or a close finish.  Especially at the Prefontaine Classic, where they will clash for a fourth time – more than at any other meet.
 
            Kirani James owns the overall career head-to-head record at 8-5.  One of his wins was last year’s Pre Classic, which produced the most exciting finish in meet history, as James edged Merritt while both clocked 43.97.  That is the fastest same-time finish anywhere and just off Michael Johnson’s meet record of 43.92.

            James won their first matchup as an 18-year-old at the 2011 World Championships, defeating the then-reigning Olympic and World Championships gold medalist Merritt in a stirring homestretch battle.  Merritt held the lead for most of the race until James passed him near the end.  The victory (by just 0.03 seconds) made James a national hero in his native Grenada.  A year later in London, James became the tiny island’s first Olympic gold medalist in any event.

            LaShawn Merritt owns some incredible finishes of his own in this matchup.  Four of his five victories over James have come at the World Championships (2013), Pre Classic (2012 & 2013) and IAAF Diamond League final (2013).  His 2013 Pre Classic win over James was by just 0.07 seconds .  Their first Pre Classic meeting was in 2012, when James ran under protest after a false start.  Though he was not given an official time, James crossed the line just about a tenth behind Merritt in the American’s first win in the series.

            Merritt is among America’s all-time greatest 400-meter runners, as only Hall of Famer Michael Johnson has more major gold medals than Merritt’s three (2008 Olympics, 2009 & 2013 Worlds).  Yet Merritt’s four Pre Classic victories are twice as many as anyone else in this event. 
 
            While pre-race attention will logically gravitate to James and Merritt, an intriguing collection of world-class elite runners are also ready to line up.

            Isaac Makwala owns every national record of Botswana from 100 to 400 meters, setting all of them last year.  But his two on July 6, 2014 set the world’s fastest-ever one-day double for 200 and 400 meters.  On that day in the Swiss mountain town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Makwala began with an African record of 44.01 in the 400, then came back 90 minutes later to add a 19.96 in the 200, becoming just the third African to run sub-20.  He won his second straight African Championships 400 gold last year and was ranked No. 3 in the world by T&FN.

            Abdalleleh Haroun of Qatar is only 18 years old and has yet to lose a recorded race.  His young career has started with a pair of 44.68s, including winning April’s Arab Championships.  At 18 years and 2 months, no one younger has ever run as fast as 44.68.  The world junior record is 43.87, and this will be Haroun’s first race on U.S. soil.

            America’s Tony McQuay was part of a U.S. 1-2 at the 2013 World Championships, taking the silver behind Merritt.  He recorded the USA’s fastest splits in the last two major 4x400-meter relays, both earning gold medals (2012 Olympics, 2013 Worlds).  McQuay teamed with Merritt on the USA’s winning 4x400s at the World Relays this year and last, again recording the fastest split this year.

            Chris Brown is one of the Bahamas’ greatest athletes.  He has run in every Olympics (4) and World Championships (8) since 1999.  His illustrious career was topped by leading off the 2012 4x400-meter team to his country’s only men’s Olympic gold medal in track & field.  Individually, he has been an agonizing 4th twice each in the Olympics (2008 & 2012) and World Championships (2005 & 2007).  Brown won the 2010 World Indoor gold and was silver medalist last year.  He is the oldest ever to run sub-45 – 44.59 last year as a 35-year-old, still making T&FN world rankings at No. 7.

            Saudi Arabia’s Youssef Ahmed Masrahi was ranked No. 4 in the world last year by T&FN, following a No. 6 in 2013.  He won the Asian Games last year as well as the last two Asian Championships (2011 & 2013).  His best of 44.43 last year is the Asian record.

            Pavel Maslak of the Czech Republic lowered his country’s national record to 44.79 last year.  Maslak is riding a nice wave in 2015, winning the European Indoors (matching his 2013 title) as part of an undefeated campaign.  He also won the 2014 World Indoor gold.
 
Men’s 400 Meters Personal Best
LaShawn Merritt (USA) 43.74  
Kirani James (Grenada) 43.74  
Isaac Makwala (Botswana) 44.01  
Christopher Brown (Bahamas) 44.40  
Tony McQuay (USA) 44.40  
Youssef Ahmed Masrahi (Saudi Arabia) 44.43  
Abdalleleh Haroun (Qatar) 44.68  
Pavel Maslak (Czech Republic) 44.79  


Pre Classic Looking to Extend Streak of Brilliant Bowerman Miles 
(The 41st Pre Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international 
track & field meets, will be held May 29-30 at historic Hayward Field.)
 
            Eugene, Oregon – Like clockwork, the Bowerman Mile is putting up sub-3:50 miles at a record pace.  The Prefontaine Classic’s signature event now has produced such barrier-breaking times for the sixth consecutive year – a streak longer than any other meet in the world.
 
            This year’s field could be the best ever, as eight enter with sub-3:50 PRs, including all six of the record-tying group who broke that barrier in last year’s Bowerman Mile.  Since the birth of the IAAF Diamond League in 2010, the Pre Classic has taken worldwide ownership of the men’s mile, now with more than twice as many sub-3:50 miles (16) as any other meet (next most has 6).
 
            Kenyan rivals Silas Kiplagat and Asbel Kiprop are set to duel again for the fifth straight Bowerman Mile.  One or the other has been ranked No. 1 in the world by Track & Field News each year since 2009 – Kiprop with four and Kiplagat with two, including the most recent.  The year before that streak began, Kiprop won the 2008 Olympic gold at Beijing.  Kiprop also has the most major golds of any Kenyan man in this event, adding the World Championships in 2011 and 2013 (Kiplagat earned silver in 2011).

            Their head-to-head record stands at 17-12 in the mile/1500 and 3-2 mile only (Kiplagat owning the edge each time).  Each has won the IAAF Diamond Trophy, Kiprop in 2010 while Kiplagat has last year’s as well as in 2012.  They have twice broken 3:50 in the same race, both at the Pre Classic (2011 & 2013).  Kiprop is the only three-time winner of the Bowerman Mile, even including before the event was so named in 2000.

            Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti won last year’s Bowerman Mile in a meet record 3:47.32 – the fastest in the world since 2007 and the best by an African since 2001.  He ranked No. 2 in the world last year by T&FN  after a No. 3 in 2013 (behind Kiprop and Kiplagat).  Still just 22, Souleiman won last year’s World Indoor Championships and African Championships 1500 meters.  In 2013, he earned bronze at the 2013 World Championships in the 800 meters, where he has a best of 1:43.63 (second fastest in the field to Kiprop’s 1:43.15).

            Abdelaati Iguider is Morocco’s third-fastest miler in history, trailing only world record holder Hicham El Guerrouj and Said Aouita, former WR holder in the 1500 meters.  Iguider was the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist after earlier winning the World Indoor Championships.  He has a complete set of World Indoor 1500 medals, adding silver (2010) and bronze (2014).  He was fourth last year in the Bowerman Mile with a PR by almost three seconds at 3:49.09.

            Aman Wote was third in last year’s epic Bowerman Mile, setting an Ethiopian record of 3:48.60.  He earned silver at last year’s World Indoor Championships 1500 and ranked No. 5 in the world last year by T&FN, a spot ahead of Iguider.

            The final two members of last year’s sub-3:50 group are Kenyans James Kiplagat Magut (3:49.53) and Collins Cheboi (3:49.56).  Cheboi ranked No. 7 in the world last year by T&FN, while Magut was No. 10.  Magut is a former two-time winner of the Pre Classic International Mile (2012 & 2013).  Magut and Cheboi joined Kiplagat and Kiprop as part of Kenya’s world record-setting 4x1500 team at last year’s inaugural World Relays.

            Americans Matthew Centrowitz and Leo Manzano are looking to make more history.  Centrowitz, a former NCAA champion for Oregon, is a two-time World Championships medalist, taking silver in 2013 after a bronze in 2011 – the only other two-time American medalist in the worlds in this event is American record holder Bernard Lagat (gold in 2007, bronze in 2009).

            Manzano’s legacy is even more rare.  His silver in the London Olympics is the best since Jim Ryun in 1968.  Manzano was a four-time indoor/outdoor NCAA champion while at Texas. At last year's Pre, Manzano was the victor in the International Mile, winning in event-record time (3:52.41).

            Ronald Kwemoi of Kenya is the only runner in the field who has yet to run a mile race.  Last year as an 18-year-old, he ranked No. 4 in the world by T&FN and obliterated a 12-year-old World Junior record with 3:28.81 in the 1500 meters, which is the equivalent to well under 3:50.  He is also the reigning Kenyan champion and last summer earned bronze in the African Championships (behind Souleiman and Kiprop in a close finish) and silver in the Commonwealth Games (to Magut).  This will be his first race on U.S. soil.

            Two others making their U.S. debuts are Homiyu Tesfaye of Germany and Kenya’s Vincent Kibet.  Tesfaye, born in Ethiopia, was a finalist  for Germany as a 19-year-old in the 2013 World Championships, taking fifth.  Earlier in 2013, Tesfaye won the German national title at 10,000 meters.  Kibet ranked No. 9 in the world last year byT&FN as the fifth Kenyan – the fifth straight year Kenya has had at least half of Top 10 spots in this event.

            Johan Cronje is the only South African to earn a major medal in the men’s 1500 meters, claiming the bronze at the 2013 World Championships.  He is a seven-time South African champion in the 1500 and owns national records at both 1500 and the mile.

            Bethwell Birgen of Kenya is the fastest non-sub-3:50 miler in the field at 3:50.42.  He has twice ranked among the world’s Top 10 by T&FN.  Birgen made Kenya’s powerful team for 2013 World Championships, reaching the semifinals.  He was top finishing Kenyan at last year’s World Indoors, taking 8th.

            Henrik Ingebrigtsen is the Norwegian record holder at both 1500 and the mile.  He added a pair of national records indoors at the European Indoor Championships in March by taking bronze in the 3000 a day before a sixth in the 1500.  Ingebrigtsen was 2012 European Championships gold medalist before claiming the silver last year.  He was a finalist at the 2012 Olympics (5th) and 2013 World Championships (8th), recording the best-ever finishes by a Norwegian at both majors.

            For a complete listing of all sub-4 minute miles run at the Prefontaine Classic, go to www.preclassic.com.
 
Men’s Bowerman Mile Personal Best
Ayanleh Souleiman (Djibouti) 3:47.32  
Silas Kiplagat (Kenya) 3:47.88  
Asbel Kiprop (Kenya) 3:48.50  
Aman Wote (Ethiopia) 3:48.60  
Abdelaati Iguider (Morocco) 3:49.09  
James Kiplagat Magut (Kenya) 3:49.43  
Collins Cheboi (Kenya) 3:49.56  


Brittney Reese heads the field for the Prefontaine Classic women's long jump

Friday night at the 2014 Pre Classic at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Brittney Reese is shown competing in the 2014 Prefontaine Classic. (Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian)
Ken Goe | The Oregonian/OregonLiveBy Ken Goe | The Oregonian/OregonLive 
Email the author | Follow on Twitter 
on March 09, 2015 at 2:06 PM, updated March 09, 2015 at 2:07 PM
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Reigning Olympic gold medalist Brittney Reese heads the long jump field for the Prefontaine Classic track meet, May 29-30 at Hayward Field.

Reese has won every world championship in the long jump since 2009.

Others in the field include Tianna Baroletta, ranked No. 1 by All-Athletics.com and Eloyse Lesueur, ranked No. 1 in the world last year by Track & Field News.

Here is the complete release about the women's long jump field from the Prefontaine Classic.

Stars Take Center Stage for Pre Classic Women’s 400 
(The 41st Pre Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international 
track & field meets, will be held May 29-30 at historic Hayward Field.)
 
            Eugene, Oregon – Sanya Richards-Ross and Allyson Felix. The two iconic superstars of the long-sprints will race each other as well as a field intent upon moving the spotlight onto themselves.
 
            Sanya Richards-Ross is the American record holder and only American woman with two major gold medals in this event (2012 Olympics, 2009 Worlds).  She has won twice as many U.S. outdoor titles (6) as any other woman and has been ranked No. 1 in the world five times by Track & Field News – no other American has more than one.  Richards-Ross has won this event five times at the Pre Classic, the only athlete with more than two.

            Allyson Felix owns four major gold medals – all at 200, including the London Olympics.  She ranked No. 1 in the world last year at 200 meters by T&FN – her seventh, equaling the most in history in that event.  Yet Felix’s career shows incredible versatility, earning silver at the 2011 World Championships in the 400 – the best by an American this decade – and also making the 2012 London Olympic 100-meter final (5thin a PR 10.89).  Felix owns the distinction of being the only IAAF Diamond League winner in two events (400 in 2010, 200 in 2010 & 2014).

            Jamaica’s Novlene Williams-Mills is not only the current IAAF Diamond Trophy winner, she is also the first from Jamaica to rank No. 1 in the world since 1970.  Williams-Mills is a warrior in another sense, having battled breast cancer in 2012.  She has won eight of the last nine Jamaican national titles and is the  reigning Pre Classic champion.

            America’s Francena McCorory was ranked No. 2 in the world last year by T&FN, the highest by an American since 2012.  She won the World Indoor title last year and became the first to combine that with a sweep of U.S. indoor and outdoor crowns since Richards-Ross in 2012.  McCorory took the baton from Felix and handed it to Richards-Ross at the London Olympics in the 4x400 for gold.  She won her first national title at Hayward Field for Hampton in the 2010 NCAA Championships.

            Natasha Hastings  is a consummate American relay runner, with only Richards-Ross and Felix having earned more than her four major medals.  But she is clearly legitimate in the solo race, too, coming in as the top American in the 2013 T&FN world rankings at No. 4.  Hastings is now a three-time U.S. champ, including the recent indoor 300-meter title in Boston.  She is a former World Junior and World Youth champion.

            Jamaica’s Stephenie Ann McPherson, last year’s Commonwealth Games champion, was ranked No. 4 in the world by T&FN.  She was Jamaica’s best at the 2013 World Championships, taking 4th at 49.99 as the highest finisher for Jamaica.

            Libania Grenot is the 2014 European champion.  She has won multiple national titles for two countries, her current Italy (3) and former Cuba (2).

            Phyllis Francis is a two-time NCAA champ for Oregon.  The collegiate indoor holder, her most memorable moment yet came with a torching anchor to give Oregon victory in the 2014 NCAA Indoor 4x400.

 
Women’s 400 Meters Personal Best
Sanya Richards-Ross (USA) 48.70  
Francena McCorory (USA) 49.48  
Allyson Felix (USA) 49.59  
Novlene Williams-Mills (Jamaica) 49.63  
Natasha Hastings (USA) 49.84  
Stephenie Ann McPherson (Jamaica) 49.92  
Libania Grenot (Italy) 50.30  
Phyllis Francis (USA) 50.46  
 
 
From Around The Globe: Pre Classic Men’s 800 
(The 41st Pre Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 29-30 at the historic Hayward Field.)

 
            Eugene, Oregon – Reigning champions from four continents lend the men’s 800 meters at the Prefontaine Classic a United Nations feel.  Or maybe it's a World Championships feel, as the last two No. 1-ranked runners are headliners.    
 
            All but three racers in the field are current continental or national champions – the other three are merely the current gold medalists from the World Championships and World Junior Championships at 800, plus the reigning Olympic 1500-meter gold medalist.
 
            Nijel Amos of Botswana, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist at age 18, is the  African Champion.  At 20, he won the IAAF Diamond Trophy last year and also was No. 1 in last year’s Track & Field News world rankings.  Amos is the world’s 4th-fastest ever at 1:41.73 – and at 18 the fastest ever by anyone under 20.  He won last year’s Pre Classic in 1:43.63 in his first-ever U.S. appearance.

            Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia is the World Championships gold medalist, winning in 2013 at Moscow while a 19-year-old.  He is also a two-time World Indoor gold medalist (2012 & 2014).  Aman ranked No. 1 in T&FN’s world rankings in 2013, which was sandwiched between No. 2s last year and in 2012 (then just 18).  In a sign of how truly global this field is, Aman competes for Oregon Track Club Elite based in Eugene.

            Two more current continental champs are Poland’s Adam Kszczot (Europe) and Qatar’s Musaeb Abdulrahman Balla (Asia), a pair of 1:43 racers.  Kszczot also has World Indoor medals from 2014 (silver) and 2010 (bronze), as well as European Indoor golds in 2011 & 2013.  Balla won the most recent Asian Championships in 2013.  The 2015 world indoor leader (1:45.48), Balla will be making his first U.S. appearance.

            American Duane Solomon is the two-time reigning U.S. champion.  His 4th-place finish in the London Olympics was the highest by an American since Johnny Gray’s bronze medal in 1992.  Solomon was also a 2013 World Championships finalist.

            Ferguson Cheruiyot is the National Champion from Kenya, the country which has produced four of the last six Olympic gold medalists.  He ranked No. 4 in last year’s T&FN world rankings. 

            Alfred Kipketer of Kenya won last year’s World Junior Championships as a 17-year-old in Eugene.  His winning time of 1:43.95 is the fastest at Hayward Field by anyone outside of  last year’s Pre Classic.  Even at 17, Kipketer was a member of Kenya’s winning 4x800 at the inaugural World Relays last year.  In 2015, he is still eligible for Junior records and has already clocked 1:45.0 at altitude in March.

            Taoufik Makhloufi won Olympic gold in London.  That distance was 1500, matching Algeria’s most famous miler, Noureddine Morceli (1996).  Makhloufi, the most recent African 800 Champ (2012) since Amos, has twice ranked among the world’s T&FN top 10, a level Morceli never reached in this event.

            Just this April, Andre Olivier won his third-straight South African title.  He will be making his first appearance in the U.S.  Olivier just missed a medal at last year’s World Indoors, taking 4th.

            A sign of the quality of this global field—all but one of the competitors has run under 1:44-flat.
 

Men’s 800 Meters Personal Best
Nijel Amos (Botswana) 1:41.73  
Mohammed Aman (Ethiopia) 1:42.37  
Duane Solomon (USA) 1:42.82  
Ferguson Cheruiyot (Kenya) 1:42.84  
Adam Kszczot (Poland) 1:43.30  
Taoufik Makhloufi (Algeria) 1:43.53  
Musaeb Abdulrahman Balla (Qatar) 1:43.93  
Alfred Kipketer (Kenya) 1:43.95  
Andre Olivier (South Africa) 1:44.29  


Powerful U.S. Contingent in Women’s 800 at Pre Classic 
(The 41st Prefontaine Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 29-30 at the historic Hayward Field.)
            Eugene, Oregon – The women’s 800 meters at the Prefontaine Classic will feature a strong quartet from Team USA, although they will face formidable opposition from a pair of tough Kenyans.
 
            The youngest of the Americans is precocious Ajee’ Wilson, who will turn all of 21 on May 8. She was ranked No. 2 in the world by T&FN last year, after sweeping the  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, Wilson was a finalist in the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, where she set the American Junior record of 1:58.21.  Her international experience also includes gold medals at the 2012 World Juniors and 2011 World Youth Championships – she is the only American to win either title.

            Brenda Martinez is the only American to have ranked twice in the world’s top 4 the last two years (No. 3 in ’14, No. 4 in ’13).  She anchored USA’s winning 4x800 team at last year’s inaugural World Relays, receiving the baton from Wilson before blitzing a 1:57.2 split to extend the lead on Kenya, which was anchored by Eunice Sum.  Martinez has some history of making history – at the 2013 World Championships she earned bronze, the first World outdoor medal of any kind for an American in this event.  And in the 1500, she is America’s No. 10 ever at 4:00.94.

            After four straight years of making a major world final (longest streak ever by an American in this event), Alysia Montano took a year off from racing in 2014.  Well, almost – she was seven months pregnant running the heats of last June’s U.S. outdoor championships.  Montano, known also for racing with a decorative flower in her hair, gave birth to daughter Linnea on August 15.  Mom, the first American this century to win a major 800 medal (2010 World Indoor bronze), has already added to her U.S. title collection, capturing the 600 meters indoors this winter (she now has five U.S. titles in all events).  Montano anchored the previous American record 4x800, accompanied by Martinez and Wilson at the 2013 Penn Relays.

            Chanelle Price is the reigning World Indoor gold medalist, becoming the first-ever American to win a major world gold in this event.  She is also the defending Pre Classic champ, and her memories of Hayward Field date back to a U.S. junior title in 2009 as a Tennessee freshman.  Price ran the leadoff leg on America’s record-setting 4x800 last year in the Bahamas.     
 
            Eunice Sum of Kenya has led the Track & Field News world rankings the last two years while becoming the only two-time IAAF Diamond Trophy winner in this event.  The reigning World champion, Sum started her international career in the 1500, making her country’s powerful Olympic team in 2012.  While she flirted with a sub-4 in last year’s Pre Classic (4:01.54), the world has seen her best fit in the 800.  In 2014, she won four straight Diamond League races (most in one year), then claimed the African Championships and Commonwealth Games.

            Janeth Jepkosgei was the first Kenyan to win a major gold and rank No.1 in the world, doing both in 2007.  She owns the fastest PR in the field (1:56.04) and is the only runner in the race with more than four T&FN top 10 rankings – she’s at nine and still counting since 2006.  Only Maria Mutola—a Pre Classic legend-- has more with a staggering 18 (9 at No. 1).

            Jepkosgei and Sum will face this new wave of Americans, boasting their best depth since perhaps 1998 (when the US world ranked 2-4-6).  The U.S. 2-3 last year was its best top-end ever showing.
 
            Three Europeans who ranked among the world’s top 7 last year add to an incredible field worthy of a World Championships final.  Each has set her PR on big stages.  Lynsey Sharp of Great Britain was the 2012 European gold medalist but ran her PR 1:58.80 earning silver last year.  Russia’s Yekaterina Poistogova was 2012 Olympic bronze medalist with her PR 1:57.53 and a finalist in the 2013 Worlds.  Marina Arzamasova of Belarus won the European Championships last August with her PR 1:58.15 after earlier taking the bronze medal at the World Indoors.
 
Women’s 800 Meters Personal Best
Janeth Jepkosgei (Kenya) 1:56.04  
Alysia Montano (USA) 1:57.34  
Eunice Sum (Kenya) 1:57.38  
Yekaterina Poistogova (Russia) 1:57.53  
Ajee’ Wilson (USA) 1:57.67  
Brenda Martinez (USA) 1:57.91  
Marina Arzamasova (Belarus) 1:58.15  
Lynsey Sharp (Great Britain) 1:58.80  
Chanelle Price (USA) 1:59.75  
 
Pre Classic 110 Hurdles: Changing of the Guard? 
(The 41st Prefontaine Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 29-30 at the historic Hayward Field)

 
            Eugene, Oregon – While America’s two fastest men’s 110-meter hurdlers ever have won the last two major championship gold medals, perhaps neither one is favored to win at the Prefontaine Classic.
           
            Aries Merritt etched his name in high hurdle history in 2012.  He ended a 16-year U.S. Olympic gold medal drought by winning the London Olympics, and a month later became the first American since Roger Kingdom in 1989 to claim the world record, clocking 12.80 to win the IAAF Diamond Trophy.  That 12.80 lowered the WR by .07 seconds, the largest improvement since Renaldo Nehemiah did the same when he ran the first sub-13 at 12.93 in 1981.

            David Oliver is the reigning World Champion, winning gold at Moscow in 2013.  He is a two-time Pre Classic champ, and his 2010 victory at 12.90 equaled the American record at the time and remains the fastest ever run on U.S. soil.  Oliver is the only athlete in this event to rank in the world top 10 by Track & Field News in each of the last nine years, including twice at No. 1, while also becoming the only two-time winner of the IAAF Diamond Trophy in this event (2010 & 2013).

            Though these veterans (Merritt is 29, Oliver soon will be 33) can never be counted out, a cadre of younger hurdlers is attracting more attention.

            France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde torched last year’s IAAF Diamond League at age 22, winning the Pre Classic—the first of five Diamond League victories—and coming away with the Diamond Trophy and T&FN  No. 1 world ranking.  His 12.95 last year made France just the second nation with more than one sub-13 high hurdler.  This summer in Beijing, he will be seeking his first outdoor major medal, having already collected World silver (2014) and bronze (2012) medals indoors in the 60-meter version.

            Russia’s Sergey Shubenkov earned World bronze in 2013 and is the two-time reigning European champion (2012 & 2014).  Shubenkov ranked No. 2 in the world last year by T&FN after a No. 3 in 2013 – no one else has two top-3 rankings in the last two years.  He is the 24-year-old son of heptathlete Natalya Shubenkova, whose total of 6859 points in 1984 was then the world’s No. 3 all-time.

            Hansle Parchment lowered Jamaica’s national record to sub-13 territory in 2014.  He was second to Martinot-Lagarde last year after posting a stunning victory in the 2013 Pre Classic.  He was 22 when he earned the Olympic bronze medal in 2012, the first Olympic medal for Jamaica in this event.

            Orlando Ortega of Cuba is only 23 years old and was an Olympic finalist in 2012.  Outdoors he is just .02 shy of joining the sub-13 club, while indoors this winter he posted the world’s fastest 60-meter hurdle time at 7.45.  Ortega was runner-up at the 2013 Pre Classic to Parchment, by .03 seconds.

            American Aleec Harris has yet to lose this year, indoors or out, with a pair of world-leading marks of 13.23; last year he was the NCAA runner-up and set two PRs at Hayward Field.

            Wenjun Xie will be making his first Prefontaine Classic appearance.  He won the Asian Games last year at age 24 and is China’s third-fastest-ever high hurdler.  The only one faster from China at his age was former WR setter Liu Xiang, a four-time Pre Classic champion.
           
 

Men’s 110-Meter Hurdles Personal Best
Aries Merritt (USA) 12.80  
David Oliver (USA) 12.89  
Hansle Parchment (Jamaica) 12.94  
Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (France) 12.95  
Orlando Ortega (Cuba) 13.01  
Sergey Shubenkov (Russia)
Aleec Harris (USA)
13.09
13.14
 
Wenjun Xie (China) 13.23  


Prefontaine Classic to include HS miles, 200s

 

By Doug Binder, DyeStat Editor

 

The Nike Prefontaine Classic is adding four high school events to this year's meet in Eugene, May 29-30. 

 

On Friday, May 29, there is a window between 7 and 9 p.m. that will include elite high school races for boys and girls in the mile and the 200 meters, according to Nike spokesperson Haley Bakker

 

The final schedule, and lineups for these events, are both a work in progress. 

 

The Prefontaine Classic is an IAAF Diamond League event and the nation's premier annual track meet, attracting fields that are comparable to the Olympics.  

 

One of the most iconic moments in high school track and field history happened at the 2001 Prefontaine Classic when Alan Webb broke the mile record with a stunning 3:53.43 in a race that included Olympic gold medalist Hicham El Guerrouj. Other high school athletes have participated in the meet over the years, including Lukas Verzbicas, who set the high school 2-mile record at Pre in 2011 (8:29.46).


Great Field Makes Pre Classic 400 Hurdles A Tossup 

            Eugene, Oregon – The last two athletes to have earned No. 1 world rankings in the men’s 400-meter hurdles are just the beginning for the Prefontaine Classic.

            The 41st Pre Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 29-30 at the historic Hayward Field.
 
            All told, the hurdle field includes athletes who have won six major gold medals, four of five possible IAAF Diamond Trophies, and nine No. 1 world rankings by Track & Field News.  So deep is the talent, fans will need a crystal ball to pick a favorite.

            Javier Culson of Puerto Rico has the most recent world No. 1 ranking by T&FN(as well as 2012’s).  Culson is the only two-time IAAF Diamond Trophy winner in this event (2012 & 2013), but he has yet to win a major international gold medal – owning World silvers in 2009 & 2011 as well as a 2012 Olympic bronze (the first Olympic track medal for Puerto Rico).

            Jehue Gordon of Trinidad & Tobago ranked No. 1 at age 21 in 2013, the same year he won the Moscow World Championships – his time of 47.69 is the world’s fastest in the last two years.  Gordon first jumped on the world stage as a finalist at the 2009 Berlin World Championships, where he finished 4th in a world age-17 record 48.26. 

            American Michael Tinsley is the reigning IAAF Diamond Trophy winner.  He was a tick away from having a gold of his own, outleaned by Gordon at the 2013 Worlds.  He also owns silver from the 2012 Olympics, where he first broke the 48-second barrier.  Tinsley was ranked No. 2 in the world by T&FN in each of the last two years.
 
            The two hurdlers with the fastest lifetime bests in the field are known as Superman and Batman.  Their true identities are Felix Sanchez and Bershawn Jacksonand they are the only winners of this event at the Pre Classic in this century.

            Sanchez is known by several nicknames, but Superman may be appropriate –  the two-time Olympic gold medalist (2004 & 2012) also has two World Championships gold medals (2003 & 2011).  At the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, he finished 5th – his seventh World Championships final.  Sanchez's stretch of excellence began in 2001, when he earned the first of four straight No. 1 T&FN world rankings.
 
            Jackson is the sport’s most famous Batman.  He is also among America’s best ever in this event, winning four U.S. titles – only Hall of Famer Edwin Moses, with five, has more in the post-World War II era.  Jackson was not only fast enough in this event to win World gold (2005), but also to make gold medal-winning teams for the traditionally powerful U.S. 4x400 (2007 & 2011 Worlds, 2010 World Indoors).  He is the Pre Classic’s only two-time winner in this event, and his 2010 No. 1 T&FN world ranking is the last by an American.

            Johnny Dutch, the third fastest in the field, is the reigning U.S. Champion who won the NCAA title for South Carolina in 2010.  The previous two seasons he clocked PRs at the 2009 USA Championships and the 2008 Olympic Trials.
 
            Kariem Hussein of Switzerland and Rasmus Magi of Estonia finished as the gold and silver medalists in last summer’s European Championships.  Hussein is 26, while Magi is a 22-year-old who will turn 23 on May 4.  Each ranked in T&FN’s world top 10 last year (Hussein at No. 4, Magi at No. 8) and each will be making his first appearance in the U.S.
 

Men’s 400-Meter Hurdles Personal Best
Felix Sanchez (Dominican Republic) 47.25  
Bershawn Jackson (USA) 47.30  
Johnny Dutch (USA)
Jehue Gordon (Trinidad)
47.63
47.69
 
Michael Tinsley (USA) 47.70  
Javier Culson (Puerto Rico) 47.72  
Kariem Hussein (Switerzland) 48.47  
Rasmus Magi (Estonia) 48.54


Barshim Aiming Higher at Pre Classic 

            Eugene, Oregon – Mutaz Essa Barshim will return to the Prefontaine Classic, where he set the high jumping world on fire in 2013.

            The 41st Pre Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 29-30 at the historic Hayward Field.
 
            In his last visit to Eugene, the Qatari star fired up a packed crowd with what was at the time both the world’s highest clearance in this century and the highest ever on U.S. soil, an unforgettable Pre Classic victory at 7-10½ (2.40).  He has since scaled even higher and is now on the brink of the formidable 8-foot  barrier (2.44).  Barshim, still only 23, has also improved his medals.  One of three Olympic bronze medalists in 2012, he earned silver at the 2013 World Championships and gold at the 2014 World Indoor.  Many called 2014 the “Year of the High Jump,” and Barshim’s finishing touch in winning the IAAF Diamond League Trophy was jumping 7-11½ (2.43) – higher in history than all but world record holder Javier Sotomayor, who scaled 8-½ (2.45) back in 1993, when Barshim was 2 years old.

            Ivan Ukhov is third among the world’s highest-ever jumpers, clearing his best of 7-11¼ (2.42) last year.  The London Olympic gold medalist won the first IAAF Diamond League Trophy in this event in 2010.  A former Pre Classic champ, Ukhov has twice ranked No. 1 in the world by Track & Field News – an honor still eluding Barshim.  The Russian record holder has a complete set of medals at the World Indoor Championships – gold (2010), silver (2014) and bronze (2012).

            Olympic medalists Derek Drouin and Erik Kynard will have no problem renewing their rivalry.  American Kynard and Canadian Drouin were 2-3 in that 2013 Pre Classic matchup, just a week before their final NCAA duel – where Drouin won his fifth NCAA indoor or outdoor title for Indiana over Kynard, whose career at Kansas State included a pair of such crowns.  A summer earlier, Kynard was the Olympic silver medalist in London, while Drouin was a bronze medalist alongside Barshim.  Drouin matched his bronze at the 2013 Worlds, where Kynard was “only” 5th.

            American Jesse Williams has won many times at Hayward Field, but none more memorable than his 2011 U.S. title at 7-9¼ (2.37) – it stood as the field record until Barshim’s 2013 clearance.  Williams is a two-time Olympian (2008 & 2012) who won gold at the 2011 World Championships.  He collected four NCAA indoor or outdoor titles while competing for the University of Southern California.

            Andriy Protsenko of Ukraine will be making his first appearance at the Pre Classic.  He was bronze medalist at last year’s World Indoor Championships after making the final in the 2012 London Olympics.  Also making a first appearance is 22-year-old Russian Daniil Tsyplakov, who won the European Indoor gold in March.  Chinese indoor record holder Guowei Zhang was only 21 when he finished 5th in the incredibly deep 2013 Pre Classic.  He has been a finalist in each of the last two World Championships and World Indoor Championships, and just cleared a world-leading 7-7 ¾ (2.33) on April 3rd.
 
            Note that every competitor in the Prefontaine Classic/IAAF Diamond League high jump has a lifetime best of 7-8 (2.34) or higher.
 

Men’s High Jump Personal Best
Mutaz Essa Barshim (Qatar) 7-11½ (2.43)
Ivan Ukhov (Russia) 7-11¼ (2.42)
Derek Drouin (Canada) 7-10½ (2.40)
Andriy Protsenko (Ukraine) 7-10½ (2.40)
Erik Kynard (USA) 7-9¼ (2.37)
Jesse Williams (USA) 7-9¼ (2.37)
Daniil Tysplakov (Russia) 7-8 (2.34)
Guowei Zhang (China) 7-8 (2.34)

 

Pre Classic Presents the Battle of the Shot Golds 

            Eugene, Oregon – A gold medal appears to be the price of admission into the men’s Shot Put at the 41st Prefontaine Classic at historic Hayward Field on May 29-30. A member of the prestigious IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, the Pre Classic is the longest running invitational in the United States.
 
            If history is any guide, the Pre shot will provide an advance look at the potential medalists in the IAAF World Championships to be held in Beijing later this summer. The field will include all of the Olympic and World Championships gold medalists since 2006, and the Numbers 1 thru 8 throwers on the All-Athletics.com world rankings list.

            Team USA’s Reese Hoffa won gold medals in the 2006 World Indoor and 2007 World Championships, and has something none of his competitors can boast:  two IAAF Diamond League trophies. For his achievements in 2014, Track & Field News magazine ranked Hoffa No. 1 in the world, his 4th time to win that accolade.

            Ryan Whiting is a 28-year-old American who last year won his second World Indoor gold (his first came in 2012), and added an outdoor No. 1 ranking by T&FN  in 2013. The Arizona State grad has the farthest throw in the world indoors this year, 70-3 ¾ (21.43).

            David Storl  of Germany is the reigning two-time World Champion, winning in Moscow (2013) and Daegu (2011) He is set to make his first Prefontaine Classic appearance.  Storl's gleaming collection of international golds also includes the World Junior (2008), World Youth (2007) and European (2012, 2014) Championships.  He is Germany’s third farthest ever at 72-1 (21.97), trailing only a pair of former world record holders in Udo Beyer and Ulf Timmermann.  Storl, still just 24, was not yet born when the East Germans made their big throws in the 1980s.

            The list of global conquerors includes two-time Olympic gold medalist Tomasz Majewski of Poland (2008 and 2012), the first European to successfully defend an Olympic title in the shot.  At 6-8 ½ (2.04) and 300 pounds (140 kg), the 33-year-old could blot out the sun at the Pre Classic, except that the event will be held on Friday evening in conjunction with Distance Night in Eugene.

            Rounding out the gold medalists, American Christian Cantwell is the winner of four world titles, led by a record three indoors (2004, 2008 and 2010) as well as the 2009 World Championships outdoors in Berlin. The Missouri grad's PB of 73-11 ½ (22.54) is the farthest throw of the past decade.

            The three remaining entrants could well join the others as World Championships medal aspirants.  Reigning U.S. champ Joe Kovacs was 4th in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials – behind Hoffa, Whiting and Cantwell.  Jamaican record holderO’Dayne Richards was gold medalist in the Commonwealth Games last summer, while New Zealand record holder Tom Walsh, just 22, was bronze medalist at last year’s World Indoor Championships.  Walsh is the only thrower in the field yet to break the 70-foot barrier.  It would be appropriate to do it at Hayward Field, which has seen more 70-foot throws than any other venue in the world.
 

Men’s Shot Put Personal Best
Christian Cantwell (USA) 73-11½ (22.54)
Reese Hoffa (USA) 73-7¼ (22.43)
Ryan Whiting (USA) 73-1¼ (22.28)
Joe Kovacs (USA) 72-3½ (22.03)
David Storl (Germany) 72-1 (21.97)
Tomasz Majewski (Poland) 72-¼ (21.95)
O’Dayne Richards (Jamaica) 70-10¾ (21.61)
Tom Walsh (New Zealand) 69-9 (21.26)

 

Stars Align for Women’s 5k at Pre Classic 

            Eugene, Oregon – Gold medalists and world record holders will be lined up for a stellar women’s 5000 at the Prefontaine Classic.

            The 41st Pre Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 29-30 at the historic Hayward Field.
 
            Genzebe Dibaba owns four indoor world records, ranging from the 1500 (3:55.17) to the 5k (14:18.86).  She missed the road 5k WR in March by just 2 seconds on a windy day.  Now the 24-year-old Ethiopian is ready again to test the best on the outdoor track, where she ranked No. 1 in the world last year by Track & Field News.  A two-time World Indoor gold medalist (2012 1500, 2014 3k), she made her first headlines as a two-time World Junior cross-country champion (2008-09).  This will be Dibaba’s first appearance at the Prefontaine Classic.

            Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya is a 4-time World Champion returning from maternity leave after giving birth to her son in October 2013.  She is ready to step onto the world stage again.  The Kenyan record holder’s collection of gold medals includes a sweep of the 5k and 10k in the 2011 World Championships. She left London in 2012 as one of only two women with a pair of Olympic distance medals.  Cheruiyot is the most recent woman with a World Cross-Country title and a World or Olympic title, as she claimed the 2011 global harrier crown.  Her first glory was in cross-country, winning the World Junior title in 2000 – later that year she made her first Olympic team at age 16.  Cheruiyot has won twice in three races at the Pre Classic, in 2011 setting the meet and Hayward Field records of 14:33.96.  But no fewer than a half-dozen entrants have PRs superior to that.

            Those two rivals are familiar with another running great, Tirunesh Dibaba – Genezebe’s big sister, who is taking the season off after giving birth to a son in March.   The younger sister would very much like to claim the Dibaba family record of 14:11.15 from Tirunesh, a mark which by-the-way is the current World Record!
 
            As strong as Dibaba and Cheruiyot might be, there will be no shortage of talent challenging the big two.

            Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana was the only woman to beat Genzebe Dibaba last year at this distance, taking the African Championships title by almost 10 seconds.  A bronze medalist in the last World Championships, she ranked No. 2 in the world last year by T&FN.  She set a World Junior record in the steeplechase in 2010.

            Kenya’s Viola Kibiwot was No. 3 last year in the T&FN world rankings.  She has made her country's last four World Championships teams, as well as the last two Olympic teams.  She is also an accomplished miler, ranking in the world’s top 10 in the 5k and 1500 in each of the last three years.  A former World Junior 1500 champ (2002), she also twice won gold in the World Junior Cross-Country (2001-02).

            Hiwot Ayalew of Ethiopia is another No. 1-ranked runner.  Her specialty is the steeplechase, where she topped last year’s T&FN world rankings and is her country’s second fastest ever.  In 2013, she earned silver at the World Cross-Country Championships.

            Molly Huddle is a two-time American record setter, clocking 14:42.64 last summer.  That’s almost a minute faster than her still-standing American Junior record set while a freshman at Notre Dame in 2003.  Her range of talent is still growing, having run 30:47.59 at 10k last year and winning the New York City Half-Marathon in March.

            Sally Kipyego has trained for the last half-decade in Eugene.  During that time the Oregon Track Club Elite athlete has earned Olympic (2012) and World (2011) silver medals in the 10k. Prior to her move to the Pacific Northwest, Kipyego won eight NCAA titles in track and cross-country for Texas Tech.  She is Kenya’s second fastest ever at 5k and 10k.

            Oregon grad Jordan Hasay will be another familiar face at Hayward Field.  She made the U.S. World Championships team at age 21 in 2013 and was a two-time NCAA Indoor champ in the mile and 3k while competing for Oregon. Other Americans in the field include USA 10K champion Kim Conley, 2015 USA Cross Country champion Laura Thweatt, and 2014 NCAA 5000 champion Marielle Hall.

            Alemitu Haroye of Ethiopia is already familiar with Eugene – last August she won gold at Hayward in the World Junior Championships.  Still just 19, she finished 4thin the World Cross-Country Championships last month.

            Janet Kisa of Kenya earned medals at last summer’s Commonwealth Games (silver) and African Championships (bronze).  Commonwealth Games 1500-meter champion Faith Kipyegon of Kenya will make her debut at the 5000-meter distance. Meraf Bahta of Sweden won the European Championships 5k last year. Three-time Olympic/World Championships finalist Sentayehu Ejigu of Ethiopia is making a successful comeback after two years of injuries.  Mimi Belete of Bahrain was gold medalist at the 2010 Asian Games. And Yelena Korobkina of Russia won last month’s European Indoor 3k title. 

            In total, 7 of the top 10 5k runners in the world as ranked by Track & Field News are in the field, including Nos. 1, 2, 3, & 4.
 

Women’s 5000 Meters Personal Best
Genzebe Dibaba (Ethiopia) 14:18.86  
Vivian Cheruiyot (Kenya) 14:20.87  
Almaz Ayana (Ethiopia) 14:25.84  
Sentayehu Ejigu (Ethiopia) 14:28.39  
Sally Kipyego (Kenya) 14:30.42  
Viola Kibiwot (Kenya) 14:33.48  
Molly Huddle (USA) 14:42.64  
Hiwot Ayalew (Ethiopia) 14:49.36  
Janet Kisa (Kenya) 14:52.59  
Alemitu Haroye (Ethiopia) 14:52.67  
Meraf Bahta (Sweden) 14:59.49  
Mimi Belete (Bahrain) 15:00.87  
Laura Thweatt (USA)
Kim Conley (USA)
Marielle Hall (USA)
Yelena Korobkina (Russia)
15:04.98
15:08.61
15:12.79
15:14.67
 
Jordan Hasay (USA)
Faith Kipyegon (Kenya)
15:28.56
 NM


Discus Giants Ready to Unleash at Pre Classic 

            Eugene, Oregon – The two longest throwers of the last 15 years highlight a world-class men’s discus field at the Prefontaine Classic.

            The 41st Pre Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 29-30 at the historic Hayward Field.  The Pre Classic is an American track tradition and this year will be a major stop as the planet's top pros prepare for the World Championships in Beijing, China.
 
            Longest in the field are Estonia’s Gerd Kanter and Poland’s Piotr Malachowski.  The two have combined to win four of the IAAF Diamond League’s five Diamond Trophies in this event.

            Kanter is history’s No. 3 ever at 240-9 (73.38).  He won Olympic gold at Beijing in 2008 as well as the 2007 World Championships in Osaka.  He has ranked among the top 3 in the prestigious Track & Field News world rankings every year since 2005, and his war chest also includes a pair of World silvers (2005 & ’11) as well as three bronze medals (Olympics in ’12, World in ’09 & ’13).  Kanter also owns the longest throw on U.S. soil at 236-3 (72.02).

            Malachowski is history’s No. 5 ever at 235-8 (71.84).  A former Pre Classic champion, he has silver medals from the 2008 Olympics as well as the 2009 and 2013 World Championships.  He has ranked No. 2 in the T&FN world rankings five times, with four behind 2013 Pre Classic winner Robert Harting, who is still recovering from knee surgery performed last October.

            The Kanter-Malachowski rivalry dates back to 2006, with Kanter leading 39-31, but since 2013, Malachowski owns a 15-4 advantage.

            The elite field also includes the remaining top eight available athletes from theT&FN world rankings, and among the most decorated is Ehsan Hadadi of Iran with Olympic silver from 2012 and bronze from the 2011 Worlds.  He also owns golds from the Asian Games (3) and Asian Championships (4).

            Cuban Jorge FernandezRobert Urbanek of Poland, and Viktor Butenko of Russia earned their first T&FN world rankings last year.  Fernandez, at No. 4, was the highest for his country since 1989.  No. 5 Urbanek only beat Malachowski once last year – but that was for bronze at the European Championships.  Butenko was a World Championships finalist in 2013 at age 20.

            Two Martins round out the field:  Martin Kupper of Estonia owns the early 2015 world lead with his personal best 218-8 (66.67) winning the European Cup winter throwing competition in March; and Martin Wierig of Germany was ranked No. 6 in the world by Track & Field News in 2014.
 

Men’s Discus Personal Best
Gerd Kanter (Estonia) 240-9 (73.38)
Piotr Malachowski (Poland) 235-8 (71.84)
Ehsan Hadadi (Iran) 227-5 (69.32)
Robert Urbanek (Poland) 219-7 (66.93)
Martin Kupper (Estonia) 218-8 (66.67)
Jorge Fernandez (Cuba) 218-2 (66.50)
Viktor Butenko (Russia) 216-5 (65.97)
Martin Wierig (Germany) 212-8 (64.82)

 

World-Class Moms to Renew Javelin Rivalry at Pre Classic 

            Eugene, Oregon – Gold medals are back in focus for the world’s best women’s javelin throwers at the Prefontaine Classic.  Two of the best have very young fans.


            The 41
st Pre Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 29-30 at the historic Hayward Field.
 
            Barbora Spotakova and Christina Obergfoll headline a deep world-class field on the road for gold at the Beijing World Championships later this summer.

            This particular duo has a unique rivalry – either one or the other has earned the No. 1 Track & Field News world ranking every year from 2007 on, and they are the only winners of the IAAF Diamond Trophy in this event.  And each missed one of the last two seasons while on maternity leave.

            World record holder Spotakova of the Czech Republic returned to a usual place last year – the two-time Olympic gold medalist (2008 & 2012) was No. 1 in the T&FNworld rankings.  It was her sixth such top ranking, but first since missing the 2013 season giving birth to her son in May 2013.  She also has a World Championships gold (2007) as well as a pair World silvers (2009 & ’11).

            Germany's Obergfoll is also a reigning gold medalist, winning in the 2013 Moscow World Championships.  She has the field’s youngest child, her son being born in October 2014.  Obergfoll won the last two editions of the Pre Classic (2011 and 2013) and owns the meet record at 222-1 (67.70).  Like Spotakova, she has five major medals, adding Olympic silver (2012) and bronze (2008) along with a pair of World silvers (2005 & ’07).
 
            Russia’s Mariya Abakumova is another major gold medalist in the field, winning at the 2011 Daegu World Championships – which is the last time someone other than Spotakova or Obergfoll has won a major gold in this event.  Her best of 236-2 (71.99) is second all-time only to Spotakova’s world record.  Abakumova is also returning from maternity leave, giving birth to twin daughters in May 2014.  Olympic silver medalist in 2008, Abakumova also has bronze medals from the 2013 and 2009 Worlds.

            Linda Stahl of Germany claimed her most famous gold medal in 2010, winning the European Championships ahead of Obergfoll and Spotakova.  Stahl was Olympic bronze medalist in London, just ahead of South African Sunette Viljoen who is also in the field.  Viljoen owns the U.S. all-comers best of 227-6 (69.35) and earned bronze in the 2011 World Championships.

            Martina Ratej of the Slovak Republic earned the No. 2 world ranking last year by T&FN.  She will be joined by fellow Olympic finalist Madara Palameika of Latvia.
 
            Track & Field News world rankings since 2007:   '07—Spotakova No. 1, Obergfoll No. 2. '08—Spotakova No. 1, Abakumova No. 2, Obergfoll No. 3.  '09—Spotakova No. 1, Abakumova No. 3, Obergfoll No. 4. '10—Spotakova No. 1, Obergfoll No. 2, Abakumova No. 3, Stahl No. 4, Viljoen No. 5.  '11—Obergfoll No. 1, Abakumova No. 2, Spotakova No. 3, Viljoen No. 4.  '12—Spotakova No. 1, Viljoen No. 2, Obergfoll No. 3, Abakumova No. 4, Stahl No. 5.  '13—Obergfoll No. 1, Abakumova No. 2.  '14—Spotakova No. 1,  Ratej No. 2.

 

Women’s Javelin Personal Best
Barbora Spotakova (Czech Republic) 237-2 (72.28)
Mariya Abakumova (Russia) 236-2 (71.99)
Christina Obergfoll (Germany) 230-4 (70.20)
Sunette Viljoen (South Africa) 227-6 (69.35)
Linda Stahl (Germany) 220-10 (67.32)
Martina Ratej (Slovak Republic) 220-4 (67.16)
Madara Palameika (Latvia) 217-0 (66.15)
     

Pre Classic Full of Aces in Steeplechase 

            Eugene, Oregon – Every fan loves a winning hand, and that's what the Prefontaine Classic is dealing in the men's Steeplechase--the best in the world in a field that includes the gold, silver, and bronze medalists from the most recent Olympics Games and World Championships. 

            The 41st Pre Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international meets, will be held May 29-30 at the historic Hayward Field.
 
            Jairus Birech of Kenya and American Evan Jager own the two top spots as rated by All-Athletics.com, the official data partner of the IAAF Diamond League, as well as the top 2 in the 2014 world rankings by Track & Field News

            Birech, 22, has been on the fringe of making the dominant Kenya team for the Olympics and World Championships – if he competed for any other country, he would already have two such appearances.  Last year Birech finally broke through, dominating the IAAF Diamond League with a record six wins.  His 7:58.41 was fastest in the world by almost 5 seconds.

            Jager is also coming off a breakout year.  He broke his own American record by running 8:04.71, and impressively finished the year No. 2 in the T&FN world rankings – highest by an American since 1985, going back to Hall of Famer Henry Marsh (a 7-time winner at the Pre Classic).  Jager owns the five fastest times ever by an American – all under 8:10 (the only American with more than one).  At last year’s Pre Classic, with this event not on the menu, Jager set a 3:53.33 mile PR.
 
            With no shortage of talent, drama will surely make a return.  Ezekiel Kemboi is the reigning Olympic and World champion and owns five career major gold medals (2004 & ’12 Olympics and Worlds in ’09, 11 & ’13).  His attempt to win a second Pre Classic title in 2013 was a finish to remember...or perhaps forgotten.  Judges disqualified Kemboi for shoving, as Kenyan countrymate Conseslus Kipruto (then only 18 years old) set a meet record.

            Two months later, that duo went 1-2 at Moscow’s World Championships, Kemboi with his last victory to date over Kipruto, who is now 6-3 career over Kemboi.  Kipruto’s fast finish at Moscow was 0.36 seconds short of completing a career World Youth/Junior/Senior sweep of golds, something he can still achieve later this summer at the Beijing World Championships.  Still, Kipruto finished the ’13 season with the Diamond Trophy and ranked No. 1 in the world by T&FN.
 
            After Kemboi, France’s Mahiedine Mekhissi is the next most decorated runner in the field, with a pair of Olympic silver medals (2008 & ’12) and World bronzes (2011 & ’13).  He was famously DQed last summer after winning his third straight European title – for taking off his jersey in celebration before crossing the finish line.  He is the only non-Kenyan to have won an IAAF Diamond League race in this event in the circuit’s 5-year history.

            Fastest in the field is Kenya’s Paul Koech at 7:54.31.  He has ranked in T&FN’s top 10 every year since 2002 – a streak shared with Kemboi.  Koech has the world’s most sub-8:00 races in history with nine and twice won the Pre Classic (2007 & ’09).  He was Olympic bronze medalist in 2004, and won the first 3 IAAF Diamond League titles in the event.

            Abel Mutai of Kenya is another Olympic medalist in the field, owning bronze from London.  He is just one of several Kenyans in the field to have world age gold medals.  Mutai won the World Youth gold in 2005, as did Hillary Yego in ‘09.  Both Mutai and Yego have already been ranked four times in T&FN’s top 10 world rankings, including last year.

            While Youths run the 2000-meter steeple, Juniors have progressed to the full 3000 meters.  Barnabas Kipyego of Kenya won last year’s World Junior gold at Hayward Field.  Jonathan Ndiku is also from Kenya – he is the only 2-time World Junior gold medalist in this event (2008 & ’10) and earned his first T&FN world ranking last year.

            North Americans Dan Huling and Matt Hughes add talent to the field.  Huling is a 3-time member of USA’s World Championships team, while Canadian record holder Hughes – a 2-time NCAA champion while at Louisville – was 6th at the Moscow World Championships.

            Noteworthy is that 9 out of 10 of the top steeplers in the world on the T&FN annual rankings list are set to compete at the Prefontaine Classic.


Air Lavillenie Ready to Fly Again at Pre Classic 

            Eugene, Oregon – Renaud Lavillenie should have his own runway.  The dominating pole vault world record holder and Olympic gold medalist is returning to the Prefontaine Classic.

            The 41st Pre Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 29-30 at the historic Hayward Field.
 
            Renaud Lavillenie has a rendezvous with the Pre Classic on May 30th.  But this one is no secret.  He is the only 5-time Diamond Race winner in any event and reigns as the Men’s Athlete of the Year by Track & Field News.  His fourth European Indoor title this month in Prague gives him twice as many as any other in the event.

            His stature in the pole vault is legendary – he has been ranked No. 1 in the world every year since 2010 by T&FN, a streak of years exceeded only by former world record holders Sergey Bubka of Ukraine and American Bob Richards, the event’s only 2-time Olympic gold medalist.

            Lavillenie, who has set Diamond League meet records in 11 of the circuit’s 14 meets, achieved – 19-6¼ (5.95) – in his first Pre Classic victory in 2013.  If he’d like to scale over 6 meters (19-8¼), Hayward Field is welcome territory – it is the only American site with more than one such clearance.

            Only an injury and countback on misses has kept Lavillenie from a major international gold since the London Olympics.  Konstantinos Filippidis of Greece won gold when Lavillenie was sidelined with an injury at last year’s World Indoor Championships.  Raphael Holzdeppe of Germany won the 2013 World Championships gold as Lavillenie also cleared the same height.
 
            Sam Kendricks is the newly crowned U.S. indoor champion.  He has twice won in Eugene, taking the NCAA crowns for Mississippi in 2013 and ’14.  He also has a gold from the 2013 World University Games.

            More world-class talent is part of the Pre Classic field, which consists of nothing but 19-footers:
 

  • Piotr Lisek, 22, has equaled the best-ever from Poland.  He has flown higher than former world record holder Wladyslaw Kozakiewicz (the last WR setter before Bubka or anyone from France).
  • Aleksandr Gripich, 28, is fresh off his best at the European Indoor Championships, earning silver.  His next best effort (also over 19 feet) was achieved winning the Russian title in February.
  • Augusto Dutra, 24, is aiming for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.  As a Brazilian, he can call it home.  In 2013, he became the first from his country to make the T&FNworld rankings in this event.

 

Men’s Pole Vault Personal Best
Renaud Lavillenie (France) 20-2½ (6.16)
Raphael Holzdeppe (Germany) 19-4¾ (5.91)
Piotr Lisek (Poland) 19-4¼ (5.90)
Sam Kendricks (USA) 19-2¾ (5.86)
Aleksandr Gripich (Russia) 19-2¼ (5.85)
Konstantinos Filippidis (Greece) 19-1½ (5.83)
Augusto Dutra (Brazil) 19-1 (5.82)
     

 

World’s Best Women Long Jumpers on Board for Pre Classic 

            Eugene, Oregon – Reigning Olympic and World Champion gold medalist Brittney Reese will be challenged by an incredible long jump field when she returns to the Prefontaine Classic.

            The 41st Pre Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 29-30 at the historic Hayward Field.  The Pre Classic is the iconic American outdoor invitational. 
 
            How incredible is the field?  The top 8 available long jumpers in the world as ranked by All-Athletics.com – official data partner of the Diamond League – are in the  field.

            American Brittney Reese  has won every outdoor gold medal since 2009.  That includes Olympic gold in 2012 as well as golds in the last three World Championships – the only woman with as many.  Add a pair of World Indoor titles (2010 and ’12) and her 6 major golds in this event are the most ever.  She is also the only woman with two overall Diamond Trophies in this event.

            Eloyse Lesueuer of France rarely competes on U.S. soil, but in 2012 she was runner-up at the Pre Classic.  Her competitions elsewhere include last year’s World Indoor title and were enough to be rated No. 1 in the world by Track & Field News.  That No. 1 ranking broke a string of five straight by Reese.  Lesueuer is the two-time reigning European champion.

            American Tianna Bartoletta is currently ranked No. 1 by All-Athletics.com, and she is looking for her first individual gold since she won the 2005 World Championships.  Last year, she broke the 23-foot barrier as part of a season ranking her No. 3 in the world by T&FN and winning the Diamond Trophy.  Bartoletta is also an impressive sprinter – she led off USA’s world-record smashing 4x100 team in the 2012 London Olympics and finished 4th in the 100.

            Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic rated a notch ahead of Bartoletta in last year’s T&FNworld rankings at No. 2.  She won last year’s Pre Classic with a Serbian outdoor record and in 2008 earned gold at the World Junior Championships.  A year earlier, Spanovic was silver medalist behind Darya Klishina of Russia in the World Youth Championships.  Klishina, who trains in Florida along with Bartoletta, is a two-time European Indoor gold medalist who has rated as high as No. 2 in T&FN’s world rankings (2011).  Spanovic and Klishina are all of 24 years old.

            Canadian Christabel Nettey is on fire with the best season of her young career.  Only 23, the two-time Pac-12 champ for Arizona State has raised the Canadian national record to just a tick below 7 meters.  She was bronze medalist in last year’s Commonwealth Games.

            Shara Proctor of Great Britain is not only British record holder, but she also has a combination of achievements no one else in the field can claim – she has a Diamond Trophy (2013) and a Pre Classic title (2012).

            American Funmi Jimoh, a four-time major national championship team member, won her first national title last week in Boston.  She rates among the All-Athletics.com best, and also has a Pre Classic title (2009).
 
 

Women’s Long Jump Personal Best
Brittney Reese (USA) 23-9½ (7.25)
Darya Klishina (Russia) 23-1¾ (7.05)
Tianna Bartoletta (USA) 23-½ (7.02)
Christabel Nettey (Canada) 22-11¼ (6.99)
Funmi Jimoh (USA) 22-10 (6.96)
Shara Proctor (Great Britain) 22-9¾ (6.95)
Eloyse Lesueur (France) 22-8½ (6.92)
Ivana Spanovic (Serbia) 22-8½ (6.92)