Two American records highlight hot Nike Pre Classic

Two American records highlight hot Nike Pre Classic

Provided by USATF

EUGENE, Oregon - As the greatest invitational track meet on U.S. soil, the Nike Prefontaine Classic has long delivered the best track & field performances the world has to offer.

As the final stop of the USATF Championship Series prior to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Saturday was no different. A crowd of 13,223 fans saw two American records fall, eight world-leading marks set, clashes of titans in several marquee events, and two high school boys dip under 4:00 for the mile in two separate races.

All the action from the 42nd Nike Prefontaine Classic can be seen on demand on USATF.TV +PLUS.

Harrison crushes 100H field, AR

Keni Harrison was quick out of the blocks and kept putting distance between herself and a stacked field in the 100 hurdles. Coached by University of Kentucky head coach Edrick Floreal, the Team USA men’s head coach at the 2015 World Championships, the 2015 NCAA champion finished in 12.24 to break the American record of 12.26 held since 2013 by Brianna Rollins. It was the second-fastest time in history and the fastest ever on American soil. Rollins finished second in 12.53, with Jasmin Stowers third in 12.55 to round out the top three. Only Yordanka Donkova’s world record of 12.21, set in 1988, is faster than Harrison’s winning time.

Harrison’s performance also etched another record in the stat books. Hayward Field now claims the title as the fastest straightaway in track & field history, as measured by combining the fastest times run on a track in the men’s and women’s 100m dash, women’s 100 hurdles and men’s 110 hurdles. With a cumulative time of 45.61, it overtakes the 2012 London Olympic Track as fastest sprinting strip in history (45.65).

Coburn claims SC AR

The women’s steeple provided sweet vindication for Emma Coburn. Long the top U.S. athlete in the event, Coburn ran inconspicuously at the back of a large lead pack for most of the race, then began moving up. With the eyes of most Hayward Field fans on Bahrain’s Ruth Jebet and Kenya’s Hyvin Kiyeng battling for the victory, Coburn kept moving up in the race to finish third in 9:10.76, claiming the American record. Jenny (Barringer) Simpson’s 9:12.50 at the 2009 World Outdoor Championships in Berlin stood as the official American record until Saturday. Coburn ran her personal best in 2014 with a time of 9:11.42 - also faster than the old American record - but the mark was unable to be ratified. Her performance at Pre shed the asterisk and gave her the outright record. Jebet held off Kyeng for the win, with a world-leading time of 8:59.97 to Kiyeng’s 9:00.01.

Taylor wins battle with Claye

The men’s triple jump saw Olympic gold medalist Christian Taylor and two-time Olympic medalist Will Claye do battle, round by round, as two former Florida Gators showed a return to top form. Taylor held the lead with a world-leading 17.46m/57-3.5 in the third round, but Claye in the sixth and final round popped off a mark of 17.56/57-7.5 to storm to the top of the leaderboard. With just one jumper - Taylor - left, the crowd clapped in unison. The No. 2 jumper all time and reigning world champion didn’t disappoint, soaring 17.76m/58-3.25 for the victory and a world-leading mark. American Omar Craddock, another University of Florida product, was third with 17.15m/56-03.25.

Mile races provide elite, high school highlights

Filling its traditional slot as the final event of the meet, the Bowerman Mile featured 2008 Olympic gold medalist and three-time defending World Outdoor champion Asbel Kiprop. The lanky Kenyan came through, pulling away easily in the final stretch to win in a world-leading time of 3:51.54, to relegate Abdelaati Iguider of Morocco to second in 3:51.96. Ben Blankenship of the U.S. was the top American, seventh in 3:53.83, while Virginia high schooler Drew Hunter was 12th in 3:58.86.

Hunter was the second American prepster to break 4:00 at Hayward on Saturday. In the international men’s mile earlier in the meet, Idaho high schooler Michael Slagowski ran 3:59.78 to place fourth.

In the women’s 1,500m, Chanelle Price turned in brisk pace-setting duties through 800 meters, helping Faith Kipyegon of Kenya to a U.S. all-comers and Hayward Field record of 3:56.14, which also stands as the 2016 world leader. Dawit Seyaum of Ethiopia also broke 4 minutes, placing second in 3:58.10. Jenny Simpson was the top American finisher, fourth in 4:01.57.

Sprinters slug it out

Tori Bowie passed go to collect a women’s 200m world lead with her 21.99 finish. The 2015 World Outdoor 100m bronze medalist changed gears on the straightaway to gain a strong win over defending World Outdoor 200m champion Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands and Elaine Thompson of Jamaica. Schippers finished second in 22.11 with Thompson third in 22.16; American Jenna Prandini was fourth in 22.61 with Joanna Atkins fifth in 22.62.

Justin Gatlin turned in a wire-to-wire win in the men’s 100, blasting out of the blocks and finishing in 9.88, by far his fastest time of the year, with a tailwind of 2.6 meters per second. His fellow former world record holder, Asafa Powell of Jamaica, was second in 9.94, with Tyson Gay third in 9.98. The win was Gatlin’s sixth career title at Prefontaine, as the two-time World medalist from Beijing has five 100m victories and the 2015 200m win to his credit.

In the women’s 100, University of Oregon alumna English Gardner was first out of the blocks and kept cruising, turning in a scorching 10.81 to win the women’s 100m on her favorite track. Tianna Bartoletta began closing late in the race to finish second in 10.94, with the Ivory Coast’s Murielle Ahoure third in 11.01.

400 fireworks

The men’s 400 provided a familiar sight, with 2008 Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt and 2012 gold medalist Kirani James duking it out in the final straight. The two men ran shoulder to shoulder for most of the race, but James pulled away down the stretch and locked up the win with 40 meters to go. Already the world leader, James stopped the clock ini 44.22 to Merritt’s 44.39.

In women’s 400m, Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas took control of the race over in the final 100 meters to finish in 50.15 with Americans Francena McCorory second in 50.23 and Natasha Hastings third in 50.86.

All McLeod in men’s hurdles; other track highlights

Jamaica’s Omar McLeod made it a one-man race in the 110-meter hurdles, finishing well ahead of the field in 13.06. Americans placed second through fifth, with David Oliver second in 13.38, Jeff Porter third in 13.48, Aries Merritt fourth in 13.51 and Jarret Eaton fifth in 13.52.

The men’s 400 hurdles provided a who’s who of U.S. hurdling over the past decade. 2007 world champion Bershawn Jackson got out strong and 2009 world champion Kerron Clement had the lead coming off the curve, but 2012 Olympic silver medalist Michael Tinsley took the reins when Clement stutter-stepped before the last hurdle, moving up to win in 48.74. Clament finished second in 48.87 with Jackson third in 49.04.

In the men’s 800, World Indoor champion Boris Berian fought off Ferguson Roti Cheruiyot of Kenya and Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia to break the tape in 1:44.20. Cheruiyot was second in 1:44.56 and Aman was third in 1:44.70.

Lowe still jumping High in return to form

American record holder and 2016 world leader Chaunte Lowe was flawless through five rounds in the women’s high jump. She had no misses throughout the competition and needed only one jump to clear the winning height, 1.95m/6-4.75. Lowe attempted a new world lead at 1.97m/6-5.5, but missed all three attempts. World Indoor champion Vashti Cunningham finished fifth at 1.92m/6-3.5 in her first professional meet.

Other Prefontaine winners included Renaud Lavillenie of France in the pole vault with a 5.81m/19-00.75 clearance, Muktar Adris of Ethiopia with a world-leading time of 12:59.43 in the men’s 5,000, and Ihab Abdelrahman of Egypt in the javelin with a Hayward-field record and 2016 world leader of 87.37m/286-7.

For complete results and event replays from the 2016 Prefontaine Classic, visit

Christa Mann