Women’s 800: Eunice Sum wins in successful sprint to the finish

Eunice Jepkoech Sum of Kenya outsprinted American Anjee Wilson in the final straightaway to win the 800 meters at the Prefontaine Classic Saturday afternoon.

She finished in 1 minute, 57.82 seconds, with Wilson coming in at 1:57.87.

Sum is the only two-time IAAF Diamond trophy winner in this event, as well as the reigning world champion. The 27-year-old won four straight Diamond League races in 2014, the most in one year for any competitor. (more…)

Bowerman Mile: Streak of sub-3:50 miles ends at Pre Classic

As a former NCAA champion for the Oregon Ducks, Matthew Centrowitz Jr. is comfortable in front of the crowd at Hayward Field, and he knows how to feed off of its energy. So he was comfortably near the front of the pack as it approached the final 200 meters in the Bowerman Mile at the Prefontaine Classic.

Sitting in second place with 200 meters to go, Centrowitz heard the growing roar of the crowd and decided it was time to make his move on defending champion Ayanleh Souleiman, who had been just a step ahead of him the whole race. (more…)

Gatlin cruises to win in 200 meters in 19.68 seconds; Young finishes fourth

American sprinter Justin Gatlin was asked on Friday, in the lead-up to his appearance at the Prefontaine Classic, how he’s still able, at 33, to post world-leading marks. Gatlin was quick to respond: “Because I have teammates like Isiah Young.”

Young and the rest of the field pushed Gatlin to a victory in the 200 meters with a time of 19.68 seconds, matching his personal best.

“I just wanted to be able to dominate coming off the turn and hold my form coming home,” Gatlin said.

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Men’s High Jump: Barshim picks his spots for the win

It only took Mutaz Essa Barshim four jumps to solidify his domination over the competition in the high jump at the 2015 Prefontaine Classic, which he won with a jump of 7 feet, 10 3/4 inches (2.41 meters), the highest jump ever on U.S. soil.

The No. 1 high jumper in the Diamond League jumped only three times before hitting his final mark, and he never once touched the bar.

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Women’s 400: Felix beats rival Richards-Ross

In her first 400-meter race in over a year, Allyson Felix just wanted to see how she compared to the competition.

Felix was up against American record holder Sanya Richards-Ross and the 2014 Diamond League champion, Novlene Williams-Mills, and she measured up. Felix won this event in the Prefontaine Classic for the first time since 2010 in 50.05 seconds.

Felix, whose specialty is the 200-meters, has recently started focusing more on the 400. Runner-up Richards-Ross, who has made her career as a sprinter in the 400-meters, finished in 50.29. Third place was Stephenie Ann McPherson in 50.4, her season’s best. (more…)

Women’s 1,500: Simpson first American winner since 2005

American Jenny Simpson won the women’s 1,500-meter race at the Prefontaine Classic Saturday afternoon at Hayward Field. It’s the first time an American has won this race since Christin Wurth-Thomas did in 2005.

Simpson kicked past fellow American Shannon Rowbury off the Bowerman Curve to take the lead in the final 100 and finish in 4 minutes .98 seconds.

“Being able to transition from the really hard grind of practice to coming out in front of a stadium full of people that are super hyped up in a place that I personally care about performing well at and running well here and actually executing — it feels good,” she said.

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Men’s 110 hurdles: France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde a repeat winner

A couple of weeks ago, French hurdler Pascal Martinot-Lagarde decided to sit out the second leg of the IAAF Diamond League meet at Shanghai Stadium in hopes of running at the Prefontaine Classic.

Martinot-Lagarde called the decision “the best entry of the season of my life.”

In his first race of the season after a left hamstring injury suffered at the Open Championships this past winter, Martinot-Lagarde edged world record-holder Aries Merritt to win the 110-meter hurdles for the second consecutive year at the Pre Classic.

He did this against a tough American group that included David Oliver, the bronze medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, who finished third.

“This field is pretty much the World Championships,” Merritt said. “You may see these same people at worlds.”

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Men’s steeplechase: Ezekiel Kemboi leads Kenyan sweep

Going into the final hurdle, Kenya’s Ezekiel Kemboi and Jairus Kipchoge Birech were neck-and-neck in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase. And as the two prepared for the final stretch, one clean jump was the only difference between first and second.

After trailing just behind Birech for the entire of the race, Kemboi calmly overtook the lead with a routine jump, cruising to a victory in 8 minutes, 1.71 seconds, the world’s leading time this year and a Prefontaine Classic record.

Birech, whose only error appeared to come on that final jump, claimed second in 8:01.83, a season best for the veteran Kenyan. Birech admitted that the last jump was the difference.

“The race was so tough,” Birech said. “I’m so happy to race with guys like Kemboi. Very strong field.”

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Gay’s competitive drive carries him to 100-meter win

The gun sounded, and runners were off their blocks sprinting down the track in the 100 meters on Saturday afternoon at the Prefontaine Classic. American record holder Tyson Gay was slow out of his stance, falling toward the back of the pack.

“I was a little bit nervous because it was my first race, and my start was horrible,” said Gay. “I think I was just trying to get the jitters out.”

He shook the nerves quickly, and he went on to kick in the last 50 meters, winning the race by .02 in 9.88 seconds.

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Women’s 100 Meters: Former Duck English Gardner wins in Photo Finish

Former Oregon star English Gardner won the women’s international 100 meters Saturday at the Prefontaine Classic in a photo finish —  by a mere .002 second over Jamaican Elaine Thompson.

Gardner’s time, 10.84, is the fastest in the world so far this year.

After a false start was called due to movement from one of the outer lanes, Gardner was able to take another moment to concentrate. “You always get scared at the beginning getting set at the blocks,” she said, “so I’m kind of glad it happened and I could check myself.”

(more…)

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