Ryan is the First Crouser to Win a Pre Classic Title

By RJ Chavez

The last name Crouser can be found in many record books across the history of track and field, but one place it was missing was at the Prefontaine Classic.

Coming off a personal best 73 feet and 10 3/4 inch throw, which won him a gold medal in the men’s shot put last year at the Rio Olympic Games, Ryan Crouser knew he had a chance of doing something special at the Prefontaine Classic. Just how special was the question.

In Crouser’s fifth attempt during the men’s shot put Saturday at the Pre Classic, he had a winning toss of 73-7 1/4. Not only did this throw earn him first place honors in the event, ahead of second-place Tom Walsh of New Zealand, but it also was both a Prefontaine Classic and Hayward Field record.

“To set the Prefontaine record here is something that I have thought about for a long time,” said Crouser. “And to finally do it it’s pretty special.”

Ryan is the first Crouser to own a Prefontaine Classic title. Which is hard to believe considering the lineage of Crouser athletes who hold track and field records. (more…)

Longest triple jump on U.S. soil allows Christian Taylor to win Pre Classic

By Becky Hoag

The Hayward crowd went crazy on the second day of the Prefontaine Classic as the reigning world champion, Christian Taylor, and fellow American Will Claye battled during the last two rounds of the triple jump.

This competition has been ongoing since the jumpers trained together at University of Florida from 2010 to 2012 with coach Dick Booth. During the 2012 London Olympics, Taylor got gold and Claye got silver.

“I think he has a lot of respect for me, and I have a lot of respect for him,” Taylor said. “I know what he is capable of, and he knows he can’t count me out, so we continue to push each other.”

The former teammates went back and forth between first and second place.

“I knew he was going to bring a show, and he is always pushing me, always wants to fight,” Taylor said.

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Mo Farah’s Pre Classic wins 5K in his final race on U.S. soil

By Shawn Medow

In his final meet at Hayward Field, Mo Farah made it look easy in the 5,000 meters, winning in 13 minutes, 0.70 seconds and besting Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha and Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworwor by 0.51 seconds.

“It’s quite emotional because this is where the track started for me,” Farah said. “I wasn’t expecting to win the race—I broke the record, the British record and the European record.”

It was a hot day in Eugene during the Pre Classic, and Farah stayed strong in the pack and made his move to the front with just under three laps to go. The race stayed close until the final 100 meters, when Farah kicked ahead of Kejelcha to cross the finish line first.

“I went to the front [to] try and slow down, control, play around with the guys,” Farah said.

Farah embraced the Hayward crowd one last time with a victory lap that he said he made sure to soak in.

“I’ve been on top of my game for the last few years,” Farah said. “It’s hard obviously trying to maintain year and year but I know what to do, so I know how to pace myself in training camp: eat, sleep, train.”

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Ronnie Baker wins Pre Classic 100 meters over an Olympian-filled field

By Maverick Pallack

Although the headline of the men’s 100 meters race at the Prefontaine Classic was an Olympic rematch between American Justin Gatlin and Canadian Andre De Grasse, United States sprinter Ronnie Baker won with a time of 9.86 seconds.

After finishing seventh in his previous Diamond League meet in Doha, Baker was happy to respond with a win against a similar field, especially with the U.S. championships, which will serve as the trials for the world championships, happening next month.

“It’s just a huge confidence booster,” Baker said. “I raced these guys in Doha and didn’t do very well, so to come back and win at the next Diamond League meet that I got to be a part of is absolutely amazing. It gives me a huge confidence booster going into trials in four weeks.”

After nursing multiple injuries since the Olympics, Gatlin finished fifth with a time of 9.97. His goal for today was not to win, but to build for the U.S. championships. Gatlin, an Olympic veteran, saw this as an opportunity for runners who were more hungry and healthy than he was to come and get a Diamond League win on their resumé. (more…)

Sam Kendricks wins second consecutive Diamond League Pole Vault

By Maggie Vanoni

Rio Olympic bronze medalist Sam Kendricks gave two thumbs up to his coach after clearing the second height of 18 feet, 3 inches (5.56 meters), allowing him to keep his spot in the top three in the men’s pole vault at Prefontaine Classic Saturday.

And after clearing the sixth height of 19’-2¾, Kendricks won. World record holder and Rio Olympic silver medalist Renaud Lavillenie came in second with a final height of 19 feet, ¾, in front of third-place finisher Piotr Lisek from Poland.

“It was fun to win at Prefontaine,” said Kendricks. “I haven’t won on American soil since Drake Relays. There’s something extra special about coming out and jumping with all my buddies.”

Making his Prefontaine Classic and Diamond League debut, Armand Duplantis of Sweden came in fourth place with a final height of 18-8¾ (5.71 meters).

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Tori Bowie sets Prefontaine Classic record in 200 meters

By Shawn Medow

The Prefontaine Classic has a new women’s 200-meter record, and it’s owned by American sprinter Tori Bowie.

“My coach said I was capable of running 21.7 today,” Bowie said. “The major goal for today was coming out here and getting prepared for the national championships.”

Bowie didn’t get under a 21.7, but she got off to a quick start, and her pace only seemed to increase as she went past the Bowerman curve. She zipped across the finish line in 21.77 seconds, beating training partner Shaunae Miller-Uibo by 0.14 as both runners set personal bests.

“I knew I was capable of doing it,” Bowie said. “We had this thing in our training camp where we can’t get overly excited and we can’t get too down.” (more…)

BUSY MERRITT DOMINATES 400 METERS AT PRE CLASSIC

By Linden Moore

LaShawn Merritt has had a busy month of May. The 30-year-old Olympian ran in in Doha and Shanghai Diamond League events before returning to the U.S. to compete in the annual Prefontaine Classic.

I’ve been running a lot in May,” Merritt said.

Merritt added to his list of events on Saturday after winning the 400 meters at the Prefontaine Classic with a time of 44.79 seconds, ahead of second-place finisher Baboloki Thebe, 18, who finished in 45.04.

“The plan was to come out and get the win,” he said. “It’s my last competition until trials, so I’m happy to end it with a victory.”

Merritt faced sun and wind, but it didn’t shake his confidence as he crossed the finish line.

“I felt the wind, I adjusted to it,” he said.

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Kwemoi wins Bowerman Mile; 16-year-old breaks 4-minute barrier in Invitational Mile

By Abigail Winn

The men’s Invitational and Bowerman miles brought the crowd to its feet at the Prefontaine Classic on Saturday, and for good reasons.

In the men’s Bowerman mile, Kenya’s Ronald Kwemoi won with a time of 3 minutes, 49.04 seconds as four-time defending champion Asbel Kiprop placed last and top-seeded Ayanleh Souleiman took a tumble at the start of the third lap and did not finish.

“I feel good,” Kwemoi said. “I made mistakes, but the last 200 I came back.”

In the men’s Invitational mile, 16-year-old Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway ran a sub-4 race with a time of 3:58.07 and became the youngest competitor in the event to do so.

“It’s amazing,” said Ingebrigtsen, who finished 11th overall. “I felt really strong this week.”

Ingebrigtsen has been a middle distance runner since age 10 and trains daily with his brothers Filip and Henrik. Henrik ran in the 2012 London Olympics, placing fifth in the 1,500 meters and setting a new national record. He also placed third Saturday in the Invitational mile with a time of 3:53.79. Filip won the 1,500 meters at the 2016 European Championships in Amsterdam and placed eighth in this year’s Bowerman mile.

CASTER SEMENYA WINS PRE CLASSIC 800, HER 13TH STRAIGHT VICTORY

By Sierra Webster

Caster Semenya of South Africa, two-time Olympic gold medalist in the women’s 800 meters, came into the Prefontaine Classic on Saturday hoping to clinch her 13th consecutive 800-meter victory since 2015.

Semenya was joined in the 800 by fellow Olympic medalists Francine Niyonsaba and Margaret Nyairera Wambui, who took silver and bronze, respectively, behind her in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Semenya’s streak remained unbroken on Saturday as she crossed the finish line in 1 minute, 57.78 seconds, only 0.10 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.

“It’s pretty good, you know, going with a strip like that,” Semenya said. “But, if you ask me, it’s all about being healthy and consistent in the races we run.” (more…)

KIPYEGON WINS SECOND CONSECUTIVE 1,500 METERS AT PRE CLASSIC

By Linden Moore

Kenyan Faith Kipyegon battled sun and wind as she won her second consecutive 1,500-meter race at Hayward Field on Saturday, crossing the finish line with a time of 3 minutes, 59.67 seconds in her second Prefontaine Classic.

“I’m so happy about the race today,” she said. “The weather was very good. It was windy, so it was normal.”

Kipyegon had a similar finish last year. She won the 1,500 at her first Prefontaine Classic in with a personal record of 3:56.41 in her Hayward Field debut.

“I’m training to work hard and forecast for the best,” Kipyegon said. “I know the 1,500 is a tactical race and everybody can win.”

The 23-year-old won the 1,500 at the Shanghai Diamond League event in both 2016 and 2017. She set a Kenyan national record of 3:56.82 in 2016, then returned this year and win again with 3:59.22.

“In Shanghai I ran under 4, so I’m happy,” she said. “I’m progressing well toward world championships, so I’m hoping for the best.”

(more…)

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