2019 Pre Meet line up

Stanford Selected as Site of 2019 Pre Classic

Eugene, Oregon—Stanford University’s Cobb Track & Angell Field will be the venue for this year’s 45th NIKE Prefontaine Classic/IAAF Diamond League meet on Sunday, June 30th.

With the ongoing construction of Hayward Field in advance of the 2020 US Olympic Team Trials-Track & Field and the 2021 IAAF World Championships, an alternate site for America’s flagship invitational meet was required. After an extensive search in Oregon and along the West Coast, Stanford’s facility was deemed the best choice to host the NIKE Prefontaine Classic, the only member of the prestigious IAAF Diamond League series of meets in the Western Hemisphere.

“Stanford provides the best combination of excellent facilities, good weather, and institutional support that we encountered,” said longtime Meet Director Tom Jordan. “Their Athletics Department administration has been exceptionally welcoming, and we anticipate being able to provide the fans in the stands and the worldwide television audience a Prefontaine Classic worthy of the name.”

The 2019 NIKE Prefontaine Classic/IAAF Diamond League will be televised by host broadcaster NBC, beginning at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Last year’s Pre was viewed over 12 million times by fans around the globe.

Caster Semenya Leads Fab 5 in Return to Pre Classic Women's 800

(The 45thPre Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held June 30 at Stanford’s Cobb Track & Angell Field)

The world’s dominant woman 800-meter runner leads the top 5 from last year’s Diamond League final in the Prefontaine Classic.

The fivesome –who haven’t raced against each other since the Diamond League’s kickoff meet in early May – includes the top two Americans. All five ran in last year’s Pre Classic, which produced a U.S. All-Comers record as well as the fastest ever by an American on U.S. soil.

Caster Semenya, 28, extended her winning streak in the 800 to 30 meets with a convincing 1:54.98 world leader at the Doha Diamond League meet – she hasn’t lost since late 2015. At Rio she became the event’s first two-time Olympic gold medalist and in 2017 joined Prefontaine legend Maria Mutola as the only three-time winner of the World Championships.

Winner of the last three Diamond League 800 titles, Semenya is No. 4 on the all-time world list at 1:54.25. She owns impressive range, adding a bronze in the 1500 at London, then last year cracking both the 4-minute (3:59.92) and 50-second (49.62) barriers in the 1500 and 400. She was named 2018 Woman of the Year by Track & Field News.

Semenya was earlier announced as part of the 3000-meter field but has decided to switch to the 800, where last year she set a U.S. All-Comers record of 1:55.98. Her only races in the U.S. have been Pre Classic 800s, winning the last two years after a 2nd place in 2011.

Ajee’ Wilson, 25, is the fastest American ever by almost a second and last year finished the highest by an American in the Diamond League (2nd) and became the fastest American on U.S. soil at 1:56.18. She has ranked among the world’s top 10 fastest every year since 2014, when she led everyone at 1:57.67 as a 20-year-old.

The New Jersey native continues to dominate the U.S. 800 scene in many ways. She owns American records indoors and out, the first to have both since Mary Slaney in 1985. In majors, she repeated as silver medalist in last year’s World Indoor Championships, and her bronze in the London Worlds matched the only medal by an American (Brenda Martinez 2013). In the T&FN world rankings she trails only 1968 Olympic gold medalist Madeline Manning, who was No. 1 from 1967-69.

This year she added a ninth U.S. title indoors in the 1k and has just one loss all year in any distance – at Doha in the Diamond League 800.

Raevyn Rogers, 22, made her first T&FN world rankings last year at No. 6 in her first season as a post-collegian. She lowered her PR twice last year (now No. 9 American ever at 1:57.69).

The Houston native was undefeated as a collegian, and her final year was among the best in any event. She won The Bowerman Award as the nation’s top collegian in 2017, when she set the collegiate record in the 800 and anchored the 4x400 with a 49.77 split as Oregon completed the first collegiate triple crown for women. She still owns three of the six fastest collegiate times ever.

Natoya Goule, 28, made last year’s T&FN world rankings for the first time at No. 4. The Jamaican record holder has won every national title since 2013, when she first joined the sub-2 club. She was a double NCAA champ in 2013 while at LSU and repeated her outdoor title in 2015 at Clemson.

Habitam Alemu is the youngest in the field at 21. The Ethiopian record holder, who owns the three fastest times ever from her country, ranked No. 5 in the world last year by T&FNafter a No. 7 in 2017. A semifinalist in both the Rio Olympics and London Worlds, she was a finalist in the last two World Indoors, topped by a 4th in 2018.

Ukraine’s Nataliyah Prishchepa, 24, repeated as European gold medalist last year. She is her country’s sixth-fastest ever at 1:58.60 and has seven national titles. This will be her first race on U.S. soil.

Chunyu Wang, 24, won gold in the Asian Games last year and is one of only three Chinese to run sub-2 (1:59.93) since the turn of the century. This will be her first Pre Classic since 2014, a year after she won the Asian Championships as an 18-year-old.

Hanna Green, 24, was NCAA runner-up three times – all to Rogers. The Virginia Tech grad relocated to compete for the Oregon Track Club and last year ran her two fastest times at the U.S. championships, just missing the sub-2 club at 2:00.09. She was runner-up to Wilson at the U.S. indoor 1k in 2:35.40, No. 4 ever by an American.

Christian Coleman Ready for Fast Time in Pre Classic 100

The world’s fastest man the last two years returns to the Prefontaine Classic, and this time he’s fully healthy and looking forward to a third world leader.

Running fast has rarely been a problem for Christian Coleman. The 23-year-old was on fire last year, clocking the three fastest times ever in the 60 meters topped by a gold at the World Indoor Championships. His season took a pause early in the spring as he nursed a leg injury and felt ready to go for last year’s Pre Classic.

Though he finished second, his wind-aided 9.84 was the second fastest of his life, following the 9.82 collegiate record he set while at Tennessee when his 2017 campaign earned him The Bowerman Award as the nation’s top collegian. Coleman got back to his best late last summer, avenging his earlier losses to claim the IAAF Diamond League title in 9.79 to become the third-fastest American ever alongside Maurice Greene.

This year the Georgia native has raced much more sparingly, skipping indoors altogether. He is the world leader at 9.85, and later this year he’s aiming to improve on the silver medal he earned at the London World Championships.

5-time Pre winner Justin Gatlin, 37, is the most accomplished in the field with six major individual golds ranging from the 60 to the 200 and dating back to 2003. He is looking to regain the form that saw him win gold at the London World Championships, when he dethroned Usain Bolt. He missed the T&FN world rankings last year for the first time since 2011, ending a six-year reign as the top American.

Gatlin, who has three Diamond League titles, has only raced the 100 two times this year – both faster than he recorded all of last year.

Zharnel Hughes, 23, won the European Championships last summer after lowering his PR to 9.91, fastest by a British sprinter since Linford Christie’s 9.86. He is undefeated this year. Hughes was born in Anguilla and competed for the Caribbean island in the 2014 World Junior Championships in Eugene, taking 5th in the 200 meters. A year later he began his representation for Great Britain and was 5th in the Beijing Worlds with a PR 20.02. He prepped in Jamaica and his 10.12 remains their high school championship meet record.

Cravon Gillespie, 22, was NCAA runner-up earlier this month for Oregon in the 100 and 200, running PRs of 9.93 and 19.93. In the 100, he lowered his PR four times this year. He swept thePac-12 titles and last year won his first on Stanford’s Cobb Track and Angell Field in the 100 at 10.05w.

Michael Rodgers, 34, is the only American to run sub-10 in each year since 2009, when he won the Pre Classic in a then-PR 9.94. He has been a force ever since, clocking sub-10 times seven times in eight Pre Classic centuries. His streak of sub-10s will be put to the test, as this year his best so far is 10.00.

Jamaica’s Tyquendo Tracey, 26, broke 10 seconds for the first time last summer to become the 20th from his country under that barrier. Last year he also won his only national title. He was runner-up this weekend at 10.00, third fastest of his career.

Youngest in the field is Italy’s Filippo Tortu at 21. His first sub-10 came last year at 9.99 and broke the national record of 10.01 set by the beloved Pietro Mennea to win the 1979 World Cup in Mexico City. This year Tortu has run a wind-aided 9.97.

Cameron Burrell, 24, won the NCAA title last year after finishing runner-up to Coleman in 2017. He first ran his PR 9.93 in 2017, then matched it at last year’s U.S. championships. Last year he also anchored the Houston 4 x 100 team to its second-straight NCAA win in 38.17, breaking a 29-year-old national collegiate record.

Burrell has been surrounded by Olympic sprint royalty his entire life. His 9.93 broke the Houston school record of 9.94 (then a collegiate record) set by his dad and coach, Leroy Burrell, in 1989 – five years before Cameron was born. Leroy’s 9.94 broke the previous school record set by Cameron’s other coach, Carl Lewis (10.00 in 1981). Cameron’s mom, Michelle Finn-Burrell, was first in the family to win a national championship, taking the NCAA in 1985 at Florida State.

Richardson Leads Fast Prefontaine Classic Women's 100

The fastest woman in the world is poised to make her international debut at the Prefontaine Classic.

The stellar field also includes the world’s most decorated women’s sprinter, last year’s No. 1 in the world as ranked by Track & Field News as well as the reigning IAAF Diamond League winner. There’s even a young American who hasn’t lost to anyone from the U.S. in almost two years.

Sha’Carri Richardson, 19, scorched the NCAA Championships two weeks ago in 10.75 breaking the world U20 (Junior) record set 42 years earlier. The Dallas native later declared her intent to turn professional, leaving LSU after becoming the first female freshman sprinter to win the national title after an undefeated season among collegians.

Richardson’s 10.75 rates her tied for No. 9 all-time on the world list and No. 5 American, just ahead of legend Evelyn Ashford. Later that afternoon at the NCAA in Austin, Richardson clocked 22.17, breaking the ratified world U20 record set by Allyson Felix in 2004, when Richardson was just 4 years old.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, 32, made Olympic history at Rio in 2016, earning a 100-meter bronze after two straight gold medals. She owns the most combined Olympic and World Championships women’s 100-meter golds with five. She took the 2017 season off with maternity leave and won her only Diamond League race last year in 10.98. She has run just one serious 100 this year, and her 10.88 is the season’s second fastest.

Fraser-Pryce owns three of her four Diamond League titles in the 100 and has the most wind-legal sub-10.80 times this century with 11. She has four No. 1 world rankings by T&FN– the most this century and equal to Jamaican legend Merlene Ottey.

A pair of sprinters from Cote d’Ivoire split last year’s T&FN world No. 1 ranking and the Diamond League crown.

Marie-JoséeTa Lou, 30, won last year’s Pre Classic 100 en route to a season rated best in the world by T&FN. Her 10.85 was a co-world leading fastest as she claimed the Doha Diamond League race, and this year she has the world’s fastest 60 indoors at 7.02. Ta Lou swept silvers at the London Worlds in the 100 and 200, plus last year in England at the World Indoor 60.

Murielle Ahouré, 31, claimed last year’s Diamond League 100 crown – the first by an African man or woman in the short sprints. She owns the African record at 10.78 and has been world ranked by T&FN every year since 2012. Ahouré was runner-up the last two years at the Pre Classic and won last year’s World Indoor 60 gold. She is a former NCAA indoor 60 champ while at Miami.

English Gardner, 27, has won two Pre Classic 100s, and her PR 10.74 to win the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials is that meet’s fastest besides Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988 and makes her the fourth-fastest American ever. She has missed a good amount of the last two years but claimed the Millrose Games indoor 60 this year in a PR 7.10.

Aleia Hobbs, 23, is the reigningU.S. champ and last year became the first NCAA/USA double winner in this event since Gardner in 2013. Hobbs is one of a record eight NCAA 100 champions to come from LSU, and she owns the only victory this year over Richardson. Hobbs – the world’s top-ranked American by T&FN last year at No. 5 – has not lost a 100 to anyone from the U.S. in two years.

After Richardson, youngest in the field is Kayla White, 22. She was runner-up in the recent NCAA Championships in a PR 10.95, just her second sub-11 mark. Until this year winter, she was known more as a hurdler (12.92 in the 100 hurdles last year) than an aspiring sprinter, but that changed in the March NCAA Indoor Championships as a senior for North Carolina A&T. She was runner-up in the 60 hurdles (PR 7.92) before winning the 200 in a world-leading 22.66. She hasn’t run a hurdles race since.

At 10.95, Mujinga Kambundji, 27, is Switzerland’s only sprinter to break 11 seconds. She also owns her national record in the 60 (7.02) and was world-ranked in last year’s top 10 by T&FNin both the 100 and 200, the first Swiss in either event.

Michelle-Lee Ahye, 27, won last year’s Commonwealth Games 100 and has made every Olympic or Worlds final since 2014. She owns Trinidad’s national records in the 100 (10.82), 200 (22.25) and 60 (7.09). She ran the backstretch leg on Trinidad’s 4x100 bronze medal team at the World Championships.

Michael Norman and Fred Kerley Ready to Rock Pre Classic 400

Michael Norman will have everyone’s attention in the Prefontaine Classic 400 meters – likely no one more than Fred Kerley, last year’s world No. 1.

This will be the first meeting for the two Americans since Kerley swept the NCAA and U.S. Championships two years ago. The latter was the last time Norman, then 19, lost a 400 race. The duo combined last month to easily win both 400s on the 2019 IAAF Diamond League circuit so far, Kerley in Shanghai and Norman in Stockholm.

Michael Norman was the world’s fastest last year with a collegiate record 43.61 (breaking Kerley’s year-old standard of 43.70). This April he rocked the track world with a 43.45 PR – a time bettered only by the last three world record holders. Last year he also set a world record indoors (44.52) en route to winning the The Bowerman Award as the nation’s top collegian in his final season at USC.

Norman has dominated almost every 400 he’s run the last two years – his 8-meet winning streak has an average winning margin of 0.82 seconds. His explosiveness reminds some of Michael Johnson, the only man to win Olympic 400 and 200 gold. In the half-lapper he flashed a world-leading 19.70 at the Rome Diamond League meet, merely beating World No. 1 Noah Lyles for the first time in a rivalry that began even before a fantastic meeting at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials, when both Norman and Lyles nearly became Olympians as 18-year olds.

Fred Kerley, 24, woke up the world when he ran 43.70 two years ago in the NCAA regionals. Not only was it the fastest time ever clocked before June, it also broke the 25-year-old collegiate record of 44.00 set by Quincy Watts – Norman’s coach. Kerley swept the NCAA indoor/outdoor titles for Texas A&M and won his first U.S. crown, then finished the long year anchoring the U.S. 4x400 team to silver in the London World Championships.

Last year he won three Diamond League races, topped by the final in Zurich, as he was No. 1 in the Track & Field News world rankings. This year he has yet to lose and ran a 44.4 second-leg split for the U.S. team at the World Relays in Japan last month.

Michael Cherry, 24, was World Indoor silver medalist last year after winning his first U.S. title. Outdoors he owns a 44.66 best and joined Kerley on the London Worlds silver 4x400 team. At LSU he ran on NCAA-winning indoor and outdoor 4x400 teams in 2016, joining Kerley (2017) and Norman (2018) with such sweeps.

Royalty in the 400 meters includes LaShawn Merritt. Merritt’s first Pre Classic dates back to 2005 when Norman was just beginning elementary school.

LaShawn Merritt was only 19 when he won his first major gold, the World Indoor 400 in 2006. He will turn 33 on June 27 and owns 12 major gold medals – three in the Olympics and his last in Rio featured an unpressured 43.97 anchor split for the U.S. 4 x 400 team. In individual events, Merritt was the only American man in either the 400 or 200 at Rio, the first time any American made both finals since Johnson in 1996.

Fans can follow the event lineups as all announced fields are posted at PreClassic.com. The direct link to current start/entry lists is HERE and will include updates to all announced fields.

Tickets for the 45th annual edition of the Prefontaine Classic, to be held June 30 at Cobb Track & Angell Field in Stanford, Calif., are available now by clicking here or at gostanford.com/tickets. Customers may select their exact seats using the pick-your-own map. Tickets can also be ordered over the phone by calling 1-800-STANFORD.

Media can apply for working credentials online at portal.diamondleague.com. Additional media accreditation questions can be sent to media@preclassic.com.

The Prefontaine Classic is the longest-running outdoor invitational track & field meet in America and is part of the elite IAAF Diamond League of meets held worldwide annually. Sponsored by NIKE continuously since 1984, the Pre Classic will be shown live to an international audience by NBC.

Stanford University has a proud track & field tradition that dates back to 1893. In addition to its 922 All-America honors, 64 Olympians, and four NCAA team titles, Stanford has played host to important meets throughout its history, including the 1941 NCAA Championships, 1932 and 1960 U.S. Olympic Trials, and the epic 1962 USA-USSR dual that has been described as “the greatest track meet of all time.” After the facility was renovated in 1996, Cobb Track & Angell Field has been the site of the 2002 and ’03 U.S. Championships and is annually home to the Payton Jordan Invitational, the nation’s premier distance running carnival.

Stunning Pre Classic 2-Mile Field Loaded With The Elite

Selemon Barega returns to defend his 2-mile title in the Prefontaine Classic.

That’s good news for fans and bad news for the rest of the field. In addition to his Pre Classic 2-mile victory last year, he was merely 18 when finished No. 1 in the Track & Field News annual world rankings for 2018.

He leads an incredible field that includes seven of the world’s top 9 5k runners in the T&FN rankings. Amazingly, three in the field (including Barega) are still eligible for World Junior (U20) records.

The 2-mile distance is a short race for the world’s best 5k runners. The Pre Classic 2-mile record of 8:03.50 – set in 2007 by Australian Craig Mottram – remains the fastest run on U.S. soil.

Barega achieved his most impressive performance last summer by winning the Diamond League 5k title in 12:43.02, a time bettered only by the last three world record setters – two of whom ran before he was born. He led a 1-5 Ethiopian sweep that included two former Diamond League champions.

Barega – now 19 – first came to prominence in 2016 by winning the world Junior 5k gold, then made the London World 5k final as a 17-year-old – his 5th place finish matched his first T&FN world ranking at No. 5 – before taking World Indoor silver last year as the 3k’s youngest-ever medalist.

Earlier this year Barega displayed a longer side, finishing 5th in the World Cross Country Championships in March. Last month, he won the Ethiopian 10k title in his debut at the distance, running 28:23.7 in the very high altitude of Addis Ababa (7697 feet/2346m).

Paul Chelimo, 27, is the only racer in the field with medals in the 5k from Rio and the London World Championships. His Olympic 5k silver was the first medal by an American since Bob Schul won the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. In London, Chelimo matched the blazing final lap of gold medalist Muktar Edris and was edged out of a silver by legend Mo Farah for a bronze.

He racked up his third-straight top-4 world ranking by T&FN last year – the first time an American has had three consecutive top-4 ranked seasons. Chelimo is No. 4 all-time American in both the 5k and 3k. He was 2nd in last year’s Pre Classic 2-mile, and his radar includes the American best of 8:07.07 set by Matt Tegenkamp in the 2007 Pre Classic.

Bahrain’s Birhanu Balew, 23, made his first T&FN world rankings last year at No. 2. He was the only runner to beat Barega on the Diamond League circuit last summer and finished 3rd in last year’s Pre Classic 2-mile. He won his first Asian Championships gold in April in the 5k.

Abadi Hadis, 21, also made a 5k debut in the T&FN world rankings last year, but his No. 5 wasn’t his first world ranking – he world ranked in No. 7 in the 10k in 2017 after an initial ranking of No. 10 in 2016. His 10k PR of 26:57.88 in 2016 is still second best on the all-time world Junior list. The Ethiopian was bronze medalist in the 2017 world cross country championships and nearly matched his sub-13 5k PR in Rome this weekend – three months after equaling his half-marathon PR of 58:44.

Ethiopian Hagos Gebrhiwet, 25, was the Diamond League champion in 2016 and is tied for the most T&FN world rankings in the field with five – starting in 2012 at age 18. He also has the field’s most major medals with three – bronze in Rio and the Beijing Worlds after a silver in the Moscow Worlds. He was the previous world Junior record holder in the 5k and still holds the indoor 3k record. This weekend he ran 12:54.92 in the Rome 5k a week after debuting in the 10k at 27:01.02.

Canada’s Mo Ahmed, 28, lowered the Canadian 5k record into sub-13 territory with a 12:58.16 late last week. He has been world-ranked by T&FN five times, matching Gebrhiwet for most in the field. The last two years Ahmed has ranked in two events, and his No. 2 in the 10k last year matched the best ever by a Canadian long-distance track runner since Bruce Kidd’s No. 2 in the 1962 5k. Ahmed just missed a medal in Rio, finishing 4th in the 5k behind Gebrhiwet. The Wisconsin grad is Canada’s record holder at 3k, 5k and 10k as well as the 2-mile.

Getaneh Molla, 25, made his first T&FN world ranking last year at No. 8 in the 5k and earned a silver in the African Championships. This year he has embarked on longer journeys, starting with a debut in the marathon at 2:03:34 to win in Dubai in January to make him the fourth-fastest Ethiopian of all-time. Last year Molla was 5th in the IAAF Half-Marathon World Championships and won Colorado’s BOLDERBoulder 10K.

Henrik Ingebrigtsen, 28, will watch his two younger brothers – Filip and Jakob – try to break his family record of 3:50.72 in the Bowerman Mile as the trio continues to fascinate fans well beyond the borders of Norway. Henrik has the most European medals in the family with seven – starting with a gold in 2012 (1500) and most recently a bronze in March (3k). His 5th place in the London 1500 is the best Olympic finish by a Norwegian in that event. He set the national 2-mile best in last year’s Pre Classic at 8:22.31.

Fastest in the field is Ronald Kwemoi, 23, with a 3k best of 7:28.73. The Kenyan is also the fastest miler in the field at 3:49.04, which he ran winning the 2017 Bowerman Mile. His 1500 best dates back to 2014, when he clocked a staggering 3:28.81 that still stands as the world Junior record. He missed most of last year, but was world ranked by T&FN the four previous years in the 1500/mile, including a No. 4 in 2017.

Joshua Cheptegei, 22, of Uganda won the world cross country championships in March and was silver medalist in the London World 10k. He was No. 1 in T&FN’s 10k world rankings last year and is Uganda’s second-fastest runner at 10k and 3k. He swept 5k/10k gold at last year’s Commonwealth Games.

Fellow Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo, 18, made it a 1-2 sweep of medals at the world cross country championships. He won the Junior race in 2017 when it was held at home. Last summer he earned silver in the world Junior 10k after a bronze in 2016. Last month he won the Great Manchester Race road 10K by almost a minute in 27:31.

Ethiopia’s Milkesa Mengesha, 19, won this year’s world Junior cross-country title. Last month he debuted in the 10k, taking 4th in the Ethiopian championships at 28:49.2 at high altitude. Two weeks earlier he won a Swiss road 10K in 27:47.

Stewart McSweyn, 24, became Australia’s second-fastest at 5k and 3k last year, following Mottram on both all-time lists. In February he ran 3:35.10 indoors, fastest under cover by anyone ever from Oceania.

Justyn Knight, 22, is Canada’s second-fastest 5k runner after Ahmed. He won last year’s NCAA indoor 5k and the 2017 NCAA cross-country title while at Syracuse.

Richard Yator, 21, ran a late-season world-leading 10k 27:14.70 in Japan last October. The former World Youth (U18) gold medalist at 3k set his 5k best of 12:59.44 in last year’s Diamond League final.

Paul Kipngetich Tanui, 27, earned Olympic silver in Rio at the 10k and took a third-straight World Championships bronze last summer in London. He has more than 100 laps of Pre Classic racing in his career.

Breaking News – Yomif Kejelcha, 21, who shattered the world indoor mile record in March at 3:47.01, has been added to the Bowerman Mile field. The Bowerman Mile record is 3:47.32 by Ayanleh Souleiman, who is also in the race.

Class of the World Return for Women's 200 at Pre Classic

All three Olympic medalists from Rio lead an impressive Prefontaine Classic women’s 200 meters.

The field boasts IAAF Diamond League winners in three events along with the reigning world champions in the 100 and 200 meters, last year’s fastest in both sprints, and a three-time Pre Classic winner. Three have been world ranked No. 1 and every sprinter has ranked no lower than No. 5.

Dina Asher-Smith, 23, was the world’s fastest sprinter last year, setting British records in both the 100 (10.85) and 200 (21.89) meters en route to her country’s first sweep of sprint golds by a woman or man at the European Championships in Berlin.

The 2018 season was Asher-Smith’s best in other measures. She made the Track & Field News 100-meter world rankings for the first time, and her No. 4 there combined with a No. 2 in the 200 rates as Great Britain’s best showing by a woman since 1977, when Sonia Lannaman was No. 2 in both sprints.

Asher-Smith has reached every World/Olympic finals in the 200 since 2015, a year after winning World Junior (U20) 100 gold in Eugene. This year Asher-Smith already has two Diamond League victories in the 200, winning at Doha and Stockholm.

Dafne Schippers, who will turn 27 on June 15, is the two-time defending World Championships gold medalist in the 200. The Dutch speedster owns the European record at 21.63, the world’s fastest low-altitude mark since Florence Griffith Joyner’s 21.34 world record at the 1988 Olympics.

Schippers has been world ranked by T&FN in both sprints since 2014, and in the 200 she has been in the top 3 all five years. She won the Diamond League title in 2016, when she was silver medalist at Rio, and was the Diamond League runner-up last year. Her first major medal came in the heptathlon, where she owns a PR of 6545 points and claimed bronze in the 2013 Moscow Worlds.

Jamaican Elaine Thompson, who will turn 27 on June 28, is the only woman since Griffith Joyner in 1988 to win Olympic gold in the 100 and 200 meters in the same year, claiming both in Rio. She is one of Jamaica’s best in a long line of great sprinters. She co-owns the national record in the 100 at 10.70 with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and her 21.66 is second only to Merlene Ottey’s 21.64 in the 200.

After two-straight Diamond League titles in the 100, Thompson missed most of last summer yet still ranked No. 3 in the world by T&FN in the 100. She has shown impressive form this year, winning the Rome Diamond League 100 in 10.89.

Tori Bowie, 28, won the London Worlds 100 after Olympic silver at Rio and has ranked No. 2 in the world three times in the 100 by T&FN. In the 200 she earned bronze in 2016, leaving Rio with two individual medals, the only American woman with any in the sprints. She anchored the U.S. 4x100 to gold from lane 1 in the world’s second-fastest time ever.

Her last race on the track ended in pain at the Pre Classic a year ago, but she appears to be recovering well – even long jumping (22-3/6.78) in April for the first time since the 2014 Pre Classic (she won her only NCAA titles in the long jump, sweeping the 2011 indoor/outdoor while at Southern Mississippi).

Bowie has a fascinating career in the Pre Classic 200, going 3 for 3 in some of the meet’s best races. In 2014 she won from lane 1 in a PR 22.18, then again in 2016 in a better lane with another PR 21.99. In 2017 she took down the meet’s best-ever field in a PR and meet-record 21.77.

Jenna Prandini, 26, won her second U.S. 200 title last year and finished the season with her first double T&FN world rankings, No. 5 in the 200 and No. 6 in the 100. In 2016, she edged Allyson Felix in a frantic finish for the final spot on the U.S. Olympic 200 team. The native of Clovis, Calif., won three NCAA titles at Oregon (one in the 100 and two in the long jump).

Salwa Eid Naser, 21, is the reigning Diamond League champion at 400 meters, where she owns a best of 49.08. She earned silver in the London Worlds – Bahrain’s best major finish since Maryam Yusuf Jamal, whose London Olympic 1500 bronze has since been elevated to gold. Eid Naser has already won two Diamond League 400 races, winning in Shanghai and last week in Rome. She set Bahrain’s national record in the 200 last month in China at 22.56, her third PR of the year after not running the event since 2016.

Shericka Jackson, 24, was the top-ranked Jamaican last year at No. 4 in the T&FNworld rankings. That ranking – her first in the 200 – matched the best she achieved in the 400 in 2016, when she was Rio bronze medalist. She was also bronze medalist in the Beijing Worlds 400. Last year she earned silver in the Commonwealth Games 200, finishing ahead of Asher-Smith and Thompson.

The last open lane will be filled by the athlete performing the best in the next two weeks.

Fireworks Ready in Star-Studded Pre Classic Women's 1500

The rulers of the women’s 1500 meters will come together in a rare meeting at the Prefontaine Classic.

This match-up will be just the second time that Olympic gold medalist Faith Kipyegon, IAAF Diamond League winner Laura Muir and reigning World No. 1 Shelby Houlihan will race against each together. Their only previous meeting was at the 2017 Pre Classic 1500, a race won by Kipyegon.

The field is so elite that the only 1500 world-rankers missing have opted for a challenging 3000 meters, and both races – not to mention the stellar steeplechase – will combine to make this year’s Pre Classic the best-ever one-day display of women’s distance racing in the U.S.

Laura Muir, 26, won her second Diamond League trophy last year and has yet to lose outdoors on the track in 2019, her talent extending beyond the 1500. In March, she repeated with double European Indoor golds in the 1500 and 3k.

With a British record of 3:55.16, Muir is the second-fastest 1500 runner since the turn of the century. At the 2017 London Worlds, she made two finals, taking 4th in a wild 1500 finish (just .07 seconds short of a medal) before a 6th in the 5k.

Big kicker Shelby Houlihan, also 26, broke new ground last year and the world took notice when she dominated the loaded Pre Classic with a 4-second PR at 3:59.06.

She wasn’t anywhere near done. The former NCAA champ at Arizona State went back to her native Iowa and won U.S. titles at both 1500 and 5k, the first to do so in almost 20 years. Houlihan continued, setting an American 5k record in July at 14:34.85.

Her world No. 1 ranking last year by Track & Field News was the first by an American woman who also rated in the 5k in the same year. This year she added her first U.S. cross-country title in early February.

Faith Kipyegon, 25, is the ultimate championships performer, earning gold at the Rio Olympics and London Worlds – and ranking No. 1 in the world both years by T&FN.

Her Rio performance was one for the ages, covering the last two laps in a stunning 1:57.2. The Kenyan record holder set her best at the 2016 Pre Classic – 3:56.41 is still the fastest ever recorded on U.S. soil.

Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay, 22, leads the world outdoors this year at 3:59.57. She was world ranked No. 4 last year and is the third-fastest Ethiopian ever at 3:57.64. Tsegay earned World Indoor bronze in 2016 after setting the still-standing world Junior (U20) indoor record of 4:01.81.

Rababe Arafi, 28, ran her first sub-4 in last year’s Pre Classic. Later in the summer she lowered the Moroccan record to 3:59.15 – just a week after anchoring her country’s 4x400 national record 3:33.91 in the Mediterranean Games. Arafi was world-ranked No. 5 in the world last year by T&FN, plus No 7 in the 800, where she ran 1:57.47. Last month she won the Shanghai Diamond League 1500 over Tsegay with a then-world leading 4:01.15.

Winny Chebet, 28, won African Championships gold and her first Kenyan title at 1500 meters last year after specializing in the 800 until 2017, when she joined the sub-4 club at 3:59.16. She was 5th in last year’s Pre Classic at 4:00.60. She lowered her 800 PR to 1:57.47 last summer.

Ethiopia’s Axumawit Embaye, 24, world-ranked last year for the first time at No. 9. She earned silver at the 2014 World Indoors and just missed medaling in 2016, finishing 4th. Her outdoor racing has broken new ground, PRing twice in May, topped by a 4:00.17.

Australia’s Linden Hall, who will turn 28 the day before this year’s race, ran the fastest ever by anyone from Oceania in last year’s Pre Classic – 4:00.86. The previous PR for the three-time NCAA finalist from Florida State came in the 2016 Pre Classic.

Kate Grace, 30, was on the last two U.S. major teams, the World 1500 in 2017 and as a finalist in the Olympic 800 in 2016 after winning her first national title at the U.S. Olympic trials. She was a six-time Ivy League champ while at Yale and ran her 1500 PR 4:03.59 at the 2017 Pre Classic.

Two 22-year-old Americans have plenty of Pre Classic experience, but for another 22-year-old this will be her first foray at the senior international level.

Dani Jones won last year’s Pre Classic National race in a PR 4:07.74, which she lowered two weeks later to 4:07.33 during a redshirt year at Colorado. The Arizona native won the NCAA cross-country title last fall and this year has PRed in her first two 5k track races. In 2015, she was a close runner-up in the Pre Classic high school mile.

Alexa Efraimson has raced four times in the Pre Classic National race, and her first in 2015 resulted in an American Junior record 4:03.39. This May, the Washington native ran her two fastest times since the AJR, topped by a 4:04.06.

Jessica Hull has never competed at a Prefontaine Classic, but she is very familiar with winning big races. The Australian won the NCAA 1500 for Oregon in 2018 and the indoor 3000 in 2019. She is undefeated in 12 races this year, indoors and out. So far this season, Hull has set a personal best in the indoor mile and 3k and the outdoor 5k. Her 1500 PB of 4:08.75 is next on the list.

Watch out for two super youngsters from Ethiopia.

Alemaz Samuel, 19, won the World Junior 1500 last year and set her PR of 4:01.78 at the Doha Diamond League meet.

18-year-old Lemlem Hailu won gold at the 2017 World Youth (U18) Championships as well as at last year’s Africa Youth Games. Last month she won the Ethiopian national 1500 title (any age) a week after running 8:34.03 for 3k (No. 4 world Junior all-time).

Overall, the Prefontaine Classic 1500s have seen 10 different women break the 4:00 barrier on 15 occasions. So far.

Cheruiyot, Manangoi Duel in Pre Classic Bowerman Mile

The world’s best milers will bring their rivalry to the Prefontaine Classic for the meet’s climactic Bowerman Mile, now in its 20th year.

The duo of Timothy Cheruiyot and Elijah Manangoi have dominated the world miling scene since Manangoi led a 1-2 Kenyan sweep in the London World Championships 1500. Last year, they flipped 1-2 positions in Track & Field News’ annual world rankings, which combines efforts at the 1500 and mile. No one has beaten both in the same race in almost two years. but don’t be surprised if a teenager or two steals the show – as happened in last year’s magical race.

Timothy Cheruiyot, 23, won a second-straight IAAF Diamond League trophy last year, helping him earn his first No. 1 world ranking by T&FN. He topped Manangoi 6-3, including winning his first Bowerman Mile. His 1500-meter best of 3:28.41 makes him history’s No. 7 ever.

Cheruiyot came out of nowhere as a 19-year-old in 2015 to make the Beijing Worlds final, taking 7th. He didn’t make the powerful Kenyan Olympic team for Rio but world-ranked for the first time at No. 6. He has won the last two Kenyan 1500 titles.

Elijah Manangoi, 26, is all set to defend his London World gold, beating Cheruiyot earlier this month at the Doha Diamond League 1500, where this fall’s World Championships will be held.

Manangoi has a stellar record, starting with a silver in the Beijing Worlds that propelled him to four straight top-3 world rankings by T&FN. He owns a career 11-9 record over Cheruiyot and is seeking his first Bowerman Mile title – in 2017 he lost by just 0.04 seconds, the closest in meet history.

Filip Ingebrigtsen, 26, completes the medal sweep from London, his bronze the first in this event for Norway in the Worlds or Olympics. His Norwegian record of 3:30.01 set last summer helped him to his best world ranking by T&FNat No. 5. He’s not the fastest miler in the family – older brother Henrik owns that record at 3:50.72 (he’ll be running a longer race at the Pre Classic this year).

All eyes in Norway – and the world – are looking at 18-year-old Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who last summer became the youngest-ever European champion at age 17 with a stunning 1500-meter victory, beating both of his brothers in the process for the first time. The next day he added 5k gold.

Jakob ran his first Bowerman Mile last year in 3:52.28. A year earlier in the Pre Classic’s International Mile he ran 3:58.07 to become the youngest-ever sub-4 miler (previous was Jim Ryun with his famous 3:59.0 in 1964).

This year Jakob has set two indoor world Junior (U20) 1500 records, won gold and silver at the Euro Indoors (3k/1500) and was 12th in the World Cross Country Championships in late March.

But Jakob Ingebrigtsen won’t be the only teen to reckon with. Ethiopia’s Samuel Tefera, 19, was just 18 when he won last year’s World Indoor 1500 in an undefeated season. This winter he claimed the world indoor record of 3:31.04, beating countryman Yomif Kejelcha (the 5k specialist who set the world indoor mile record is confirmed to run a yet unannounced longer race at the Pre Classic).

Tefere was runner-up in last year’s Bowerman Mile in his first race on U.S. soil. He is Ethiopia’s second-fastest ever in the 1500 and earned his first T&FNworld ranking last year at No. 8.

A 2016 win in Rio made Matthew Centrowitz, now 29, the first American Olympic gold medalist since 1908 in the men’s 1500 meters. He won his fourth outdoor U.S. 1500 title last summer. His dad, Matt, is a former American record holder in the 5k.

Clayton Murphy, 24, is likely best remembered for his Rio Olympic bronze at 800, the first Olympic medal by an American at that distance since Johnny Gray in 1992. Yet his best distance might be the 1500, as he has been the top American in the last two Bowerman Miles. Murphy has an 800 best of 1:42.93 and this year has lowered his indoor mile PR to 3:53.30, won the U.S. indoor 1k title and has not lost outdoors.

Johnny Gregorek, 27, became the most recent member of the sub-3:50 club, running 3:49.98 indoors in early March – nearly breaking the American record of Bernard Lagat. His parents (John and Chris) were both national collegiate runners-up at Georgetown, and dad made the 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic teams in the steeplechase.

Ayanleh Souleiman, 26, of Djibouti was ranked No. 3 in the world last year by T&FN. He’s a two-time winner of the Bowerman Mile, and his 3:47.32 meet record is also the Diamond League record in the event. He was just 0.05 seconds from a medal in Rio. Souleiman was the World Indoor gold medalist in 2014.

Aman Wote, 35, is the only Ethiopian faster than Tefere in the 1500 and owns national records in the 1500 (3:29.91) and mile (3:48.60). He has been world-ranked twice in the top 10 the last two years by T&FN.

Brahim Kaazouzi, who will turn 29 on June 15, was world ranked No. 4 last year by T&FN. He has yet to a run a mile or any race in the U.S. He is Morocco’s 7th-fastest ever at 3:31.62 in the 1500.

Kenya’s Bethwell Birgen, 30, is set for his sixth Bowerman Mile. The World Indoor 3k bronze medalist lowered his indoor mile PR in January – outdoors his best is 3:50.42.

Nick Willis is the oldest in the field at 36. He earned Rio bronze after Olympic silver in 2008. His mile PR of 3:49.83 is second only to John Walker’s 3:49.08 in New Zealand history, but in the 1500 he broke Walker’s nearly 30-year-old record with a 3:29.66.

Rounding out the field is 2019 USATF Indoor mile champion Craig Engels. The former Mississippi standout finished 4th in 2016 Olympic Trials 800 and 5th in the 1500. In 2018, Engels finished 7th in the World Indoor 1500 final. His lifetime mile best of 3:53.89 was set indoors this past March.

The Bowerman Mile is named for Bill Bowerman, a legendary figure in track & field history who co-founded NIKE while coaching national championship teams four times at the University of Oregon (1962-70). Among his famous pupils was Steve Prefontaine, whom he recruited and mentored to the Olympics. Bowerman passed away at age 88 on December 24, 1999, and the Pre Classic mile has been known as the Bowerman Mile since then. A compilation of all Pre Classic sub-4 miles and other related statistics is available at PreClassicMiles. Since 2009, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association has presented its highest award, The Bowerman, to the top male and female track & field athlete.

Pre Classic Women's 3k Clash of Titans:

Obiri, Hassan, Dibaba, Ayana - and Semenya!

The greatest field of women distance runners ever assembled on American soil will step to the starting line for the Prefontaine Classic 3,000-meter race.

And the field includes an intriguing wild card in Caster Semenya, the 2-time Olympic gold medalist and 3-time world champion at 800 meters making a significant move up in distance to challenge the world’s best. Five runners in the amazing field have won IAAF Diamond League trophies and major gold medals – all in the 1500 or longer except for Semenya.

Hellen Obiri, 29, is the world’s dominant runner at 5k, winning a second-straight Diamond League trophy last year and duplicating a repeat No.1 at the top of the Track & Field News world rankings. She’s also the reigning world champion, winning her first outdoor global gold at the London World Championships after a silver in Rio.

The Kenyan began as a 1500 runner, a World bronze medalist in 2013 whose first Pre Classic races were meet records in 2013 and ’14, the latter in 3:57.05 – the second-fastest time ever recorded on U.S. soil.

Her first major gold came in the 3k (2012 World Indoor), and while the 3k might appear as a natural sweet spot for her – she owns the world’s fastest outdoor time since 1993 at 8:20.68 – her range is growing. She turned back all challengers in March at the World Cross-Country Championships at 10k. Obiri is undefeated this year, including winning the Doha Diamond League 3k in a world-leading 8:25.60 earlier this month.

Sifan Hassan, 26, won the Diamond League 1500 trophy in 2015 and a year later captured her first major gold at the 2016 Portland World Indoors. The Ethiopian-born Dutch runner returned to the U.S. to train with the Nike Oregon Project and the results have continued to impress.

Hassan world-ranked in the top 5 in three events in 2017, ranging from 800 to 5k and including an 800 PR of 1:56.81 and a London World bronze at 5k. She was similarly impressive last year, ranking No. 2 (5k) and No. 3 (1500) in the world by T&FN.

This year she has shown even more range with a February 5k road world record 14:44, April half-marathon 65:45 (fastest ever by a non-Kenyan), and a 10k debut to win Stanford’s Payton Jordan Invitational earlier this month in 31:18.12.

No one may capture more attention than Caster Semenya, the 2018 T&FN Woman of the Year. She extended her 800-meter winning streak to 30 meets – dating back to 2015 – with a convincing 1:54.98 world leader at the Doha Diamond League earlier this month. The 28-year-old South African has won three Diamond League trophies in the 800 (2016-18) and won the Continental Cup 400 in 49.62 last September.

While Semenya earned 1500 bronze at the London Worlds (and owns a best of 3:59.92), she’s taken a major step up in distance this year. In March she ran her first 5k and won the South African Championships in late April at 16:05.97 at high altitude, winning by almost 8 seconds on the last lap over former NCAA champion Dominique Scott Efurd.

Semenya’s only races in the U.S. have been Pre Classic 800s – winning in 2017 and 2018 (the latter in 1:55.98 the fastest ever on U.S. soil) after a 2nd-place in 2011.

Genzebe Dibaba, 28, owns seven world records or bests and her Pre Classic record is unblemished – undefeated in three races. All of her Pre Classic races have been in the 5k, including 2015 – the year she was named Woman of the Year by T&FN – when she outran the pacesetters and clocked 14:19.76, the fastest ever run in the U.S.

Last year, the Ethiopian became the first 1500/3k double gold medalist at the World Indoors. This year she ran a 3:59.08 1500 in February to win by 9 seconds and clocked 8:26.20 for second in Doha Diamond League 3k.

Genzebe is not the only Dibaba family member to be T&FN Woman of the Year or to appear at the Pre Classic. Her older sister, Tirunesh, earned the same title in 2008, the year she set the still-standing 5k WR of 14:11.15. Both sisters are part of the Pre Classic magic – neither has lost in a combined six appearances.

Almaz Ayana, 27, is the 10k world record holder at 29:17.45, set winning the Rio Olympics where the first 13 finishers amazingly all set PRs. She won the 2016 Diamond League 5k trophy and has two other major golds – 2017 London Worlds 10k and 2015 Beijing Worlds 5k.

She is history’s second fastest ever in the 5k at 14:12.59 and her 3k PR (8:22.22) is the fastest an Ethiopian has ever run outdoors.

Ayana was world-ranked No. 1 by T&FN in 2015 (5k), 2016 (5k and 10k), and 2017 (10k) before missing all of last year with a knee injury. She is reportedly training well and looking forward to her first race on U.S. soil.

Ethiopia’s Senbere Teferi, 24, will also be running her first track race in the U.S. She has been world ranked by T&FN in each of the last four years in the 5k, where her best of 14:23.33 is No. 9 on the world all-time list (No. 6 by an Ethiopian). In 2015, she was silver medalist at the Beijing Worlds, part of a 1-2-3 Ethiopian medal sweep in between Ayana and Dibaba. Earlier this year she ran a 65:45 half-marathon.

21-year-old Letesenbet Gidey was bronze medalist at the World Cross Country Championships in March after winning the 2015 and ’17 Junior (U20) editions. On the track, she is No. 8 on the world all-time 5k list with a best of 14:23.14. She was runner-up in last year’s Pre Classic 5k and earlier this month debuted in the 10k with her first national title at 32:10.2, the fastest ever run in Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa (altitude 2346m above sea level – just 3 feet shy of 7,700 feet).

Fantu Worku, 20, is the reigning Ethiopian 5k champ, running 15:53.3 at Addis Ababa earlier this month. She won the 2017 1500 national title as an 18-year old and has a best of 4:05.81, set in the London World heats. In 2016 she earned 1500 silver at the World Juniors. Worku was 6th in last year’s World Indoor 3k.

Kenya’s Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui, who will turn 25 on May 26, was runner-up in the 2017 Diamond League 5k final and has world ranked No. 7 in each of the last two years. Last August she won a third-straight Falmouth Road Race 7-miler, a feat matched only by the legendary Joan Benoit Samuelson (1981-83) and course-record holder Lornah Kiplagat (2000-02). Her half-marathon best of 65:07 makes her No. 6 on the world (and Kenyan) all-time list.

Lilian Kasait Rengeruk, 22, has world-ranked in the top 10 by T&FN the last two years. The Kenyan was runner-up in 2017’s Pre Classic 5k and earlier this month lowered her 3k PR to 8:29.02 with a 3rd-place in Doha Diamond League. She was bronze medalist in the 2017 World Cross Country Championships and won World Youth gold at 3k in 2013.

Beatrice Chebet, 19, won the World Junior cross-country championships in March and also last summer’s World Junior 5k title in Finland for Kenya. This will be her first race in the U.S.

Another member of the Nike Oregon Project training in Portland, Konstanze Klosterhalfen, 22, set a German record winning the Women’s Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games in 4:19.98 before a silver at the European Indoor 3k in March.

Yasmin Can, 22, won her third-straight European cross-country title in December. The Kenyan-born runner became the second-fastest Turk ever in the 5k and 10k at the Rio Olympics while making her first T&FN world rankings in both events.

Laura Weightman, 27, captured her second Euro 1500 bronze last summer. The 2014 Commonwealth Games 1500 silver medalist was a finalist in both of the last Olympic 1500s, as well as the London Worlds.

Rachel Schneider, 27, recorded an early-season world-leading mark in the 5000 last week at the USATF Distance Classic in Eagle Rock, CA. The Georgetown grad knocked 9 seconds off her personal best with a 15:06.71 clocking.

Karissa Schweizer, 23, won 6 NCAA titles while at Missouri – 5 on the track plus one in cross-country. Last year the Iowa native broke an almost 9-year-old collegiate indoor 3k record at 8:41.60 (previously held by Jenny Simpson).

Summit Meeting: Samba vs. Benjamin in Pre Classic 400 Hurdles

There hasn’t been this much excitement in the men’s 400-meter hurdles for more than 30 years.

The Prefontaine Classic’s field is its best ever, including the Rio Olympic gold medalist and winners of the last three IAAF Diamond League titles.

Still, fans of the event are focused on a matchup of two young stars who have taken the event to a level not seen since either Abderrahman Samba or Rai Benjamin were born. Not since the world records of legends Kevin Young and Edwin Moses has any single hurdler run as fast – let alone two in the same year.

The magic began last year in June, when Rai Benjamin ran 47.02 on a wet Eugene track to win the NCAA Championships and lower his best by almost a full second. Benjamin’s mark matched the fastest Moses ever ran – the last of the four world records for the two-time Olympic gold medalist – and is the fastest by anyone on U.S. soil.

Benjamin wasn’t even done that afternoon. In the NCAA’s final race, he produced a 43.6 second leg – the meet’s second-fastest ever split – to put his USC Trojans in front to stay en route to a 4x400 collegiate record 2:59.00. Earlier in the year, Benjamin was similarly dominating at the NCAA Indoor, splitting 44.35 (the meet’s fastest ever) in the 4x400 as USC recorded a world best 3:00.77. He was a finalist for The Bowerman Award as the nation’s top collegian. Last month he lowered his flat 400 best to 44.31.

Benjamin, 21, will compete this year officially as an American for the first time. He was born in New York and is a dual citizen with Antigua & Barbuda. Because of complicated international transfer rules, his representing the Caribbean country as a 15-year-old at the 2013 World Youth (U18)Championships held up his eligibility to represent the U.S. until late last year.

Three weeks after Benjamin’s stunner, Abderrahman Samba scorched the Paris track in 46.98, the fastest since Young’s 46.78 world record from the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. It was the pinnacle in Samba’s undefeated season in which he ran sub-48 in every final, including the four fastest in Diamond League history.

Amazingly, those achievements were in just the second year of Samba’s running the event. In his debut season he made the London World Championships final, finishing 7th.

Samba’s next World Championships are set for later this year on his home track in Doha, where the 23-year-old Qatari will be a major point of local interest. He scored his first Diamond League win there last year and last month opened up his 400-meter hurdle season with a dominating 47.51 time at the Asian Championships. The Pre Classic will be his first race on U.S. soil.

Winner of the last two Diamond League trophies was Kyron McMaster, 22, of the British Virgin Islands. As a freshman at Central Arizona College, he won the 2016 national JC indoor 400, then was a bronze medalist at the World Junior (U20) Championships in the 400 hurdles. In 2017 he ranked No. 2 in his Track & Field News world rankings debut. In 2018 he was No. 3, claiming the Diamond League’s second-fastest time ever behind Samba at 47.54.

Kerron Clement, 33, won the Rio Olympics and 2016 Diamond League title. His collection of international medals is by far the best in the field with golds in the 2007 and ’09 Worlds separated by Olympic silver in 2008, plus a bronze in the London World Championships. He has pure speed – he set the indoor 400 world record (formerly held by Michael Johnson) which lasted 13 years. He has also earned three major gold medals on the U.S. 4x400 team.

TJ Holmes, 23, was the top-ranked American by T&FN last year. A former NCAA runner-up for Florida, he was 5th in the London World Championships and earned bronze in the 2014 World Junior Championships.

Yasmani Copello, 32, has ranked among the world’s top 4 by T&FN in each of the last three years. The Cuban-born Turkish record holder earned silver at the London Worlds after a bronze in Rio.

Rasmus Magi, 27, is a former European silver medalist who set the Estonian record of 48.40 in the Rio Olympic final.

The final lane is still to be filled by the athlete running the best in the coming weeks.

Chepkoech, Coburn Lead Pre Classic Women's Steeplechase

The world record holder will be facing the reigning world champion in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Prefontaine Classic.

That titanic matchup is only the tip of the iceberg for a deep field that could even surpass September’s World Championships, which will have by-nation limitations on entries.

The Pre Classic has no such restrictions, which means world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya will battle American world champ Emma Coburn in a race that will feature six of the world’s eight fastest ever. And not to forget American record holder Courtney Frerichs. Even the pacesetter from the last two world record races is ready to toe the line.

Beatrice Chepkoech, 27, destroyed the world record last summer at 8:44.32. It was just one of a record four sub-9 clockings last year to give her a career total of five of history’s 12 such barrier breakers. She won the IAAF Diamond League title and earned a second-straight No. 1 world ranking by Track & Field News.

As dominant as she’s been, the Kenyan is still seeking her first major medal, having finished 4th at both the Rio Olympics and London World Championships – the latter includes having to run back to make up for missing the first water jump. In Rio she was in medal position with two laps to go before Coburn made a decisive move that Chepkoech couldn’t match.

The Pre Classic has been a spark for Chepkoech – she PRed in the meet’s last two steeple races. Instead of running indoors this winter, she capped her first serious season of cross-country with a 7th-place finish at the World Championships in March.

Emma Coburn, 28, won gold at the London World Championships, lowering the meet record with an American record 9:02.58.

It wasn’t the first major medal for Coburn, who earned the first American Olympic medal in this event with a bronze in Rio. The Colorado native has won a record seven U.S. steeple titles and has been the top-ranked American for eight straight years.

The Pre Classic has also been a source of success for Coburn – she has PRed in four of her five races, including the first of her three American steeple records.

The American record is now owned by 26-year-old Courtney Frerichs, who nearly entered sub-9 territory last summer at 9:00.85, beating Coburn for the first time in the process. She now claims two of the three fastest American steeples ever.

Her silver in London was perhaps even more startling than Coburn’s victory as it represented a PR by over 15 seconds. The Missouri native won the 2016 NCAA title for New Mexico and was a Rio finalist on her first U.S. team.

The third U.S. runner in Rio was Colleen Quigley, 26. She won the 2015 NCAA title for Florida State and is now the No. 3 American ever at 9:10.27. In February she won her first U.S. title, winning the mile after a Millrose Games runner-up finish at 4:22.86, No. 4 American ever.

Hyvin Kiyeng, 27, won the 2015 World Championships and followed with Olympic silver in Rio and a bronze at the London Worlds. When the Kenyan set her 9:00.01 PR at the 2016 Pre Classic it was an African record and still places her sixth-fastest all-time, just ahead of Frerichs and Coburn.

Kiyeng was No. 2 in T&FN’s world rankings last year – her seventh straight appearance that gives her the second-most world ranking points in the event’s history.

Norah Jeruto, 23, was runner-up to Chepkoech in last year’s Diamond League final and is still seeking to make her first major Kenyan team. She won the 2016 African Championships and the 2011 World Youth (U18) gold when she was 15.

Celliphine Chespol, 20, made her final year in the Junior (U20) ranks memorable last summer,winning a second World Junior gold and adding four more top 10 performances to the all-time Junior list (she now has 8 of the top 9).

She is second-fastest Kenyan of any age at 8:58.78, a world Junior record set in winning the 2017 Pre Classic in a performance made even more remarkable in that she stopped after the penultimate water jump to put her shoe back on, losing some 25 meters to the field.

Making the T&FN world rankings for the first time last year was Daisy Jepkemei, 23, at No. 8. As the fifth Kenyan, it was only the second time that a country had as many world rankers in one year (the other came in 2013, also by Kenya). Jepkemei first raced in the U.S. at the 2014 World Juniors in Eugene, earning bronze after winning gold in 2012 as a 16-year-old.

Uganda’s Peruth Chemutai and Bahrain’s Winfred Mutile Yavi are both 19 but no longer eligible for Junior lists. The duo took silver and bronze behind Chespol at last year’s World Juniors and also made the T&FN world rankings for the first time at Nos. 7 and 9, respectively. Chemutai was fifth in the world cross-country championships in March, while Yavi won a steeple/5k double at the Asian Championships in Doha. Yavi was born in Kenya and transferred to Bahrain when she was 15.

Gesa-Felicitas Krause, 26, has made every world major final since she was a 19-year-old in 2011, including two Olympics and topped by a World Championships bronze in 2015. The German record holder won her second-straight European Championships last summer.

China’s Xu Shuangshuang, 23, was silver medalist in last month’s Asian Championships behind Yavi.

Perhaps the race’s most crucial runner is not expected to finish. Caroline Tuigong, 29, of Kenya is an ace at setting world-class paces, having done so for the five fastest races ever and the last four Diamond League finals.

Stars Lining Up for Pre Classic 110 Hurdles

The best in the world are confirmed for a stellar men’s high hurdles at the Prefontaine Classic.

While the lanes are graced with reigning gold medalists and No. 1 world rankers, one lane remains open, reserved for the competitor performing the best in the coming weeks. Whoever that is will be in rare company.

Sergey Shubenkov, 28, became the event’s first repeat IAAF Diamond League winner last year. He also returned to No. 1 in the Track & Field News world rankings for the first time since 2015, the year he won gold at the Beijing World Championships.

His 12.92 last summer was just .01 off the European record and one of his four sub-13 clockings, the most in one year since world record holder Aries Merritt in 2012.

Devon Allen, 24, was the top-ranked American last year after winning his third U.S. title by the thinnest of margins – .002. His other titles also had significance – in 2014 as a 19-year-old Oregon frosh, his NCAA/USATF sweep became the first such since Renaldo Nehemiah in 1979. Allen repeated the double again in 2016 and his 13.03 to win the U.S. Trials remains the fastest by an American on U.S. soil since 2014.

This year Allen went undefeated indoors, sweeping the Millrose Games and U.S. Indoor.

After two dominant years as the world’s No. 1, Omar McLeod found an opponent he couldn’t beat – injury. The 25-year-old won his third-straight Pre Classic last year before curtailing his season in early July, but the injury ended the Jamaican’s streak of three straight seasons with a sub-13 clocking – only Allen Johnson can also claim such a streak.

McLeod is the youngest ever to own both the Olympic and World Championships gold medals in the 110-meter hurdles – he was 23 when he followed up Rio gold with winning the 2017 London Worlds. He is also the only one to break the 10-second (100 at 9.99) and 13-second (110 hurdles at 12.90) barriers.

Ronald Levy, 25, rose to No. 3 in the T&FN world rankings last year, winning his first Jamaican title after a Commonwealth Games gold. Jamaica’s 3rd-fastest ever at 13.05, he was runner-up in the 2017 Pre Classic in his first year on the Diamond League circuit.

Hansle Parchment, who will turn 29 on June 17, was the first Jamaican to break 13 seconds at 12.94 in 2014. He was also the first Jamaican male high hurdler to medal at the Olympics (bronze in 2012) and outdoor Worlds (silver in 2015). Parchment, who was ranked No. 5 in the world last year by T&FN, won the 2013 Pre Classic (first Jamaican to do that as well).

France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, 27, ranked No. 4 in the world last year, his highest since a No. 1 in 2014 mirrored his Diamond League title at age 22. The two-time Pre Classic winner (2014, ’15) is the last man to defeat Shubenkov with a same-time 13.17 in last summer’s European Championships. He also owns two World Indoor Championships silver medals over the 60 hurdles.

Xie Wenjun, 28, won his second Asian Championship last week with a PR and meet record 13.21. In 2018 he won his second Asian Games. He is the fastest Chinese hurdler since Liu Xiang last broke 13 at the 2012 Pre Classic with a wind-aided 12.87, which remains the fastest ever run in the U.S. under any conditions.

Trailblazers Lead Way in Pre Classic Women's Shot Put

Three women with historic achievements top the 2019 Prefontaine Classic women’s shot put field, owning the last three major world outdoor titles.

They will meet on U.S. soil for the first time, joined by three young Americans who have each blazed new paths.

Lijiao Gong, 30, won her second IAAF Diamond League trophy last year, the most in this event besides Valerie Adams, who is sitting out this year on maternity leave. That victory matched a second-straight No. 1 in the T&FN world rankings, merely her 12th-straight appearance – all at No. 6 or better, a streak that began when she was as an 18-year-old in 2007.

The Chinese treasure is the reigning world champion, and her only major gold in the 2017 London Worlds was China’s first since Zhihong Huang in 1993. Gong’s first U.S. appearance came at the 2013 Pre Classic, when she set a meet record 66-0¼ (20.12), only to be surpassed by one inch by Adams.

Michelle Carter, 33, produced the event’s best U.S. moment when she won Olympic gold—the first-ever by an American—in Rio. On her final effort she improved by over 2 feet to overtake Adams, then in line to become the first woman in any event to win three Olympic golds.

It wasn’t the first time Carter showed such heroics. In March of that year she had come from behind to win the World Indoor Championships in Portland with a 3-foot improvement to earn the first major gold by an American. She finished the season with a flourish to earn the first U.S. No. 1 in T&FN’s world rankings.

Carter won her first U.S. title as a Junior (U20) in 2003 at Stanford, and while she’s a clear Texan in heart she was actually born in nearby San Jose – after dad/coach Michael followed his1984 Olympic shot bronze with the first of three Super Bowl rings for the San Francisco 49ers. That first Super Bowl was at Stanford in January 1985. Carter is popular on Twitter (@ShotDiva) and approaching the 3-month anniversary of her wedding in January.

Christina Schwanitz, 33, is returning well from a maternity break – she was No. 2 in T&FN’s world rankings last year, her highest since a No. 1 in 2015 also saw her win World Championships gold and the Diamond League trophy.

Schwanitz is the first German major gold medalist this century and was first world ranked by T&FNas a 19-year-old in 2005. In January she competed in the U.S. for the first time, finishing 2nd to Maggie Ewen in Boston.

Youngest in the field is American Raven Saunders, who will turn 23 on May 15. She was world-ranked No. 3 last year by T&FN, her third-straight Top 10 ranking. Saunders is known for stiff competition, including last year’s Diamond League final where she held the lead until Gong overtook her in round 5. She owned the lead in the 2016 Olympic Trials before being surpassed by Carter in round 6 and a month later was 5th in the Rio Olympics at age 20.

Saunders won her first U.S. title in 2017 following four indoor/outdoor NCAA crowns for Southern Illinois and Mississippi. The South Carolina native is the collegiate record holder at 64-2¼ (19.56) and is coached by Connie Price-Smith, the only two-time Pre Classic winner and whose World Indoor silver in 1995 was the U.S. major best until Carter’s golds in 2016.

Maggie Ewen, 24, is in her first professional year after a stellar collegiate career at Arizona State topped by four NCAA titles in three events, setting collegiate records in two. She is the only thrower – man or woman – to be a finalist twice for The Bowerman Award as the nation’s top collegian.

Which event is her best? Last summer the Minnesota native won her first U.S. title in the shot, with Carter and Saunders both in her wake, and her season was strong enough to be ranked No. 8 in the world by T&FN. She made the U.S. World Championships team in the hammer in 2017 after her first-ever NCAA title. In the discus, she won last year’s NCAA title on her last throw and was runner-up in the U.S. championships.

24-year-old Chase Ealey won her first U.S. title indoors in February and has gained even more prominence with the world’s early longest efforts outdoors in New Zealand and Arizona, the best at 64-6½ (19.67). Now the No. 6 American ever, the New Mexico native was NCAA runner-up in 2016 in her final year at Oklahoma State when she first threw over 60 feet. Ealey has been using the rotation technique for less than a year.

Anita Marton, 30, is the Hungarian record holder who won her first major gold last year at the World Indoor Championships after a silver in 2016 in Portland. Outdoors she owns a silver from the 2017 London Worlds and an Olympic bronze from Rio.

Aliona Dubitskaya, 29, was the European bronze medalist last year for Belarus and was ranked No. 7 by T&FN, her highest yet. She is a former World Youth (U18) and European Junior (U20) gold medalist.

Pre Classic Shot Put: Crouser vs. Walsh, Round 4

The world’s best shot put battle returns to the Prefontaine Classic as the clash for No. 1 continues between American Ryan Crouser and New Zealander Tom Walsh.

It will be fourth time the Pre Classic will host the titanic matchup, one that began in 2016 with the very first meeting of the event’s current giants. Since then the two have won Olympic gold and World Championships golds indoors and out en route to dominating the world rankings each year produced by Track & Field News.

The duo will be surrounded by a power-packed field – eight of the Top 9 from T&FN’s 2018 world rankings – plus the only three putters to haven beaten both Crouser and Walsh in the same meet.

Ryan Crouser, 26, currently has a 12-9 lifetime head-to-head record over Walsh, though his first win will never be forgotten – taking Olympic gold in Rio. While the two have continued to duel all over the globe, Crouser’s two longest efforts against Walsh have come in setting Pre Classic meet records the last two years. His only loss to Walsh on U.S. soil was their first meeting at the 2016 Pre Classic.

The American swept the Millrose Games and U.S. Indoor titles in February with the two longest indoor meets of his career – his best of 73-3¼ (22.33) is still the absolute world leader.

Crouser is from an Oregon family of throwers with numerous state prep titles, national high school records and collegiate championships (dad Mitch, uncles Dean and Brian, and cousins Sam and Haley). He won World Youth shot gold in 2009, set two still-standing high school records in 2011 in the discus (237-6/72.40) and indoor shot (77-2¾/23.54), and won four NCAA titles for Texas (indoor and outdoor shot).

Tom Walsh, 27, ascended to the world No. 1 spot last year following two years at No. 2 behind Crouser. He is the first Kiwi man to be world ranked in the shot put by T&FN, starting at No. 5 in 2014 at age 22.

His 74-4½ (22.67) PR last year equaled the world’s longest put since 2003 and he added another 74-footer (22.60) in winning last year’s Diamond League (matching his 2016 title) to become the first with two such meets in one year since world record holder Randy Barnes in 1990 – before Walsh or Crouser was even born.

Earlier this month Walsh added the Australian national title at 71-10¾ (21.91) – the world’s outdoor best thus far. He skipped the indoor season after winning his second World Indoor gold in 2018. He is the reigning world champion outdoors.

Darlan Romani, 28, made his first entry in the T&FN world rankings last year at No. 3. A 2016 Olympic finalist in his native Brazil, he saved his best for last September. At the Continental Cup in Ostrava he defeated both Walsh and Crouser – a feat not seen in over a year. Romani was 3rd in last year’s loaded Pre Classic with a PR that lasted until his national championships in mid-September when he joined the 22-meter club at 72-2¼. This year he has reached 71-7½ (21.83), best outdoors behind Walsh.

American Darrell Hill, 25, is the reigning U.S. outdoor champ with a world No. 4 ranking last year by T&FN. In 2017, he snatched the Diamond League title away from Crouser with a 5th-to-1st PR of 73-7½ (22.44). The nearly 2-foot improvement reminded fans of another Hill achievement – at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials when he improved over 1½ feet with his first 70-foot effort to make the U.S. team.

Hill’s 2017 Diamond League title made him just the just the second man to beat Crouser and Walsh in the same meet. In last year’s DL final, he finished runner-up with the 2nd-best effort of his career at 73-6 (22.40).

Joe Kovacs, who will turn 30 on June 28, joins Crouser and Walsh as the world’s only other 74-footers since 2003 and is the only man along with Walsh since 1990 with more than one such effort. After winning gold at the 2015 Worlds in Beijing, he earned silver in the Rio Olympics as well as the 2017 World Championships. The 2015 Diamond League winner won the Pre Classic in 2015 and ’16, the latter making him the first to beat Crouser and Walsh in the same meet. His runner-up finish in February’s U.S. Indoor matched his best nationals finish since 2017 outdoors.

Since his Pre Classic debut last year gave him his first national record, Poland’s Michal Haratyk, 27, claimed Euro golds outdoors last summer and indoors in March. He was world ranked No. 5 last year by T&FN.

Tomas Stanek, who will turn 28 on June 13, earned Euro Indoor bronze in March behind Haratyk and Storl. He is the Czech Republic record holder at 72-9 (22.17) and was the World Indoor bronze medalist last year.

The youngest in the field is Poland’s Konrad Bukowiecki, 22, already a three-time T&FN world Top 10 ranker. The 2017 European Indoor winner didn’t make this year’s final but followed up with training in New Zealand, becoming the first foreigner to beat Walsh on Kiwi soil since Crouser in 2017.

Pre Classic Women's High Jump Strikes Gold with Young Talent

Mariya Lasitskene, the world’s dominant women’s high jumper, will be facing an incredible collection of young Prefontaine Classic débutantes as she attempts to repeat her success from the ’17 edition, where she raised the meet record to 6-8 (2.03).

The field has the event’s only 3-time Diamond League winner set to jump against the three most recent worldwide teenage sensations.

Lasitskene, 26, knows how to win. She hasn’t lost a major championship since 2014, and that one (a silver) practically didn’t matter as it was the first year she earned the No. 1 world ranking by Track & Field News. Lasitskene now has four No. 1 world rankings.

As the 2-time defending world champion (plus twice more indoors), she remains the one to beat anywhere. Last year she won her third Diamond League title – most ever in this event – and added European gold outdoor (August) and indoor (last month).

Lasitskene can appreciate young talent. She was just 21 when she first rated No. 1 in 2014, and 18 when in 2011 she set a world indoor U20 (Junior) record. Between July of 2016 and July of 2018, Lasitskene forged an amazing 45-meet win streak.

Vashti Cunningham, 21, already has a world title, winning the 2016 World Indoor in Portland with the leap (6-6¼/1.99) that finally bettered Lasitskene’s indoor World U20 standard. She was just 18 then and has now been world-ranked three straight years by T&FN– the first American with such a streak since Chaunte Lowe (2008-10).

This year the Las Vegas native swept the Millrose Games and U.S. Indoor Championships for the second straight year and outdoors cleared 6-4¼ (1.94) to win the Stanford Invitational in late March with her first steps at Cobb Track & Angell Field.

Cunningham has other headliners in her family. Her brother, Randall II, has won a pair of NCAA high jump titles for the University of Southern California. The siblings made history in 2015 by each winning gold medals at the Pan-American Junior Championships in Edmonton, Canada. Randall II is named after dad Randall, an all-pro NFL quarterback who coaches Vashti.

Two young Ukrainian jumpers are set for their first appearance in the U.S., and both have already circled the globe.

Yulia Levchenko, 21, was silver medalist at the 2017 World Championships in London, when her PR of 6-7 (2.01) equaled the best-ever by a 19-year-old. Last month she added another silver at the European Indoors, again behind Lasitskene.

Yaroslava Mahuchikh has turned the jumping world upside down. The 17-year-old smashed the world age-best with a stunning 6-6¼ (1.99) in January. She was only 15 when she won the 2017 World U18 (Youth) title at 6-3½ (1.92) in Kenya, and her 2018 Youth Olympics gold in Argentina followed that of Levchenko in ’14 in China.

Morgan Lake will turn 22 on May 12. In 2014, she was a double gold medalist in the high jump and heptathlon at the World Junior Championships in Eugene. She earned silver in last year’s Commonwealth Games after just missing a medal in the World Indoors (4th).

Lithuania’s Airine Palsyte, 26, won the 2017 Euro Indoors and was bronze medalist last month. The 2-time Olympian was 4th in the 2016 World Indoors in Portland.

Erika Kinsey, 31, is a 2-time NCAA Division II champion while at Central Missouri. The Swede, a 2-time World Indoor finalist, is a former European Junior champion.

No Fooling - 6-Meter Club Set to Convene at Pre Classic

A dream men’s pole vault tops the first field announced for the 2019 Prefontaine Classic, which also brings the IAAF Diamond League to California for the first time.

It is not a dream. Every active member of the 6-meter (19-8¼) club is prepared to vault, including the world record holder, the last two Olympic gold medalists, and every Diamond League winner ever and every No. 1 world ranker by Track & Field News since 2010.

American Sam Kendricks, 26, is the reigning world champion, winning the first major vault gold for the U.S. since 2007. In 2018 he repeated as the world’s No. 1 in the T&FN world rankings, the first American vaulter to be back-to-back No. 1 since Bob Seagren in 1968-69. In ’17 he won the Diamond League title, ending a 7-year streak by Renaud Lavillenie.

Kendricks earned Olympic bronze in Rio – the first Olympic vault medal by an American since 2004. It also made him the youngest American Olympic medalist since Jan Johnson’s bronze in 1972 at age 21. He has won every U.S. championship he’s entered and is the two-time defending Prefontaine Classic champ.

The highest vault in the world last year came from Mondo Duplantis as an 18-year-old who won the European Championships at 19-10¼ (6.05). That clearance also equaled the highest outdoor vault since the turn of century, which came at the 2015 Pre Classic. As a 17-year-old, Mondo became the youngest-ever male vault finalist at the London World Championships, competing for mom Helena’s Sweden.

Now 19, Mondo has torn into the collegiate records as a freshman at LSU, raising the collegiate standard to 19-5 (5.92) en route to winning the 2019 NCAA Indoor title. Mondo’s dad, Greg, won the 1992 Pre Classic.

Renaud Lavillenie, 32, won last year’s World Indoor Championships, the most recent of his achievements as one of the event’s best ever. The 4-time Pre Classic champ is the world record holder (20-2½/6.16) and owner of the best outdoor vault in America, 19-10¼/6.05, set at the 2015 Pre Classic.

Known on social networks as Air Lavillenie, his appearances in the U.S. are always special. At last year’s Texas Relays he topped a field that saw three over 19-5 (5.92) for the only time on U.S. soil besides the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Timur Morgunov, 22, is the newest member of the 6-meter club, joining minutes after Mondo at last year’s European Championships in Berlin. While Mondo climbed a bar higher that day, Morgunov showed he had more in the tank, winning the Diamond League Trophy a month later. This will be his first competition in the U.S.

Brazil’s Thiago Braz, 25, won the 2016 Olympic gold, becoming the first from his country to claim Olympic track gold since 1984, when Joaquim Cruz won the 800 in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Poland’s Piotr Lisek, 26, was ranked No. 2 in the world in 2017 by T&FN and earned the 2017 World Championships silver medalist after a bronze in in 2015. He won the February indoor gathering in France at Clermont-Ferrand, a vault favorite hosted by Lavillenie.

Shawn Barber is Canada’s only member of the 6-meter club. He won the 2015 World Championships in Beijing as a 20-year-old. Born in Texas, Barber won three NCAA titles while at the University of Akron.