Wonder Women: Two world marks, meet, collegiate, and HS records highlight 2018 NYRR Millrose Games

Wonder Women: Two world marks, meet, collegiate, and HS records highlight 2018 NYRR Millrose Games

Provided by USATF

NEW YORK - The 2018 USATF Indoor Championship Series got into high gear Saturday, with two world marks and one meet record etched in the books in women’s competition at the 111th running of the NYRR Millrose Games. The American women’s 4x800 took down the world record, Shaunae Miller-Uibo tied the 300 world best, and Vashti Cunningham tied a women’s high jump meet record that had stood for 29 years. The future is equally bright as Karissa Schweizer broke the 3,000m collegiate record and Taylor Ewert broke the high school 1-mile race walk record.

For complete results from the 111th NYRR Millrose Games, including high school, college, masters and youth events, visit www.nyrrmillrosegames.org. Watch select video highlights on demand on USATF.TV+.

Record runs

The New Balance Armory Track & Field Center was rocking as the women’s 4x800m made history with a big world record. 2016 Olympian Chrishuna Williams opened in 2:05.89; the 2017 Bowerman Award winner Raevyn Rogers split 2:00.05 on the second leg; and American indoor record holder Charlene Lipsey turned in 2:01.98 on the third. The American record holder outdoors, World Indoor silver medalist and World Outdoor bronze medalist, Ajee Wilson ripped a 1:58.37 on anchor to bring the team home in 8:05.89, easily breaking the world record of 8:06.24 set in Moscow by the Russians in 2011.

The Rio Olympic gold medalist at 400 meters, Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas put on a one-woman show in the women’s 300. Going hard from the gun, she powered to a solo-effort time of 35.45 to tie the world indoor best at the distance set in Moscow in 1993 by Irina Privalova of Russia. Sage Watson of Canada was second in 37.08.

The 2016 World Indoor champion and world junior record holder, Vashti Cunningham cleared 1.96m/6-5 in the John Thomas Women’s High Jump, posting only one miss over the five heights she cleared. Her performance tied the 1989 Millrose record set by 1988 Olympic gold medalist and Hall of Famer Louise Ritter.

The trio of record-setting performances highlighted an afternoon of thrilling competition.

Thrills over the middle distances

The women’s 3,000 proved to be one of the most exciting races of the meet. Raised in the United States but a Jamaican Olympian, Aisha Praught-Leer engaged in a cat-and-mouse battle with world champion steeplechaser Emma Coburn and the University of Missouri’s three-time national champion, Karissa Schweizer. The three continually changed the lead over the final 1,500 meters of the race, and with 300 meters to go it was Praught-Leer, Coburn, Schweizer, 2016 NCAA 5,000 and 10,000m champion Dominique Scott of South Africa, and 2017 USATF road mile champion Katie Mackey running in single file. Coburn took the lead, but Praught-Leer again moved to the front at the bell and held on for the biggest win of her career, in 8:41.10. The win comes after Praught-Leer in January 2017 moved to Colorado to train with Coburn, who placed second in 8:41.16. Scott was third in 8:41.18 and Schweizer fourth in a collegiate-record time of 8:41.60.

In the NYRR Women’s Wanamaker Mile, a tightly bunched pack began to stretch out with two laps to go. On the bell lap, 2016 steeplechase Olympian Colleen Quigley went to the lead, and 800m Olympian Kate Grace moved up out of the pack to start closing. As Quigley raised her arms and jumped in celebration while hitting the finishing tape, apparently in first, Grace continued to charge and nearly nipped her. Quigley did emerge victorious in 4:30.05, with Grace second in 4:30.08.

The men’s Wanamaker Mile took shape much differently. After sitting in third throughout the race, Chris O’Hare of Great Britain made a bold move with three laps to go, putting a huge gap on the field. He gritted his teeth and looked back in the final 100 meters as he held on, taking the win in 3:54.14 to countryman Josh Kerr’s 3:54.72. 2016 U.S. Olympic finalist Ben Blankenship was third in 3:54.77.

In the Dr. Sander men’s 3,000, 2016 U.S. Olympian Shadrack Kipchirchir took the lead with 300 left and began pulling away, but 2017 NCAA cross country champion Justyn Knight made a chase at him to make it interesting. Despite stepping on the rail on the final curve, Kipchirchir won in 7:45.49, with Knight of Canada second in 7:45.86.

In the Mel Sheppard men’s 800, Emmanuel Korir of Kenya overcame a big lead held by American junior record holder Donavan Brazier, running clear of Brazier in the final two laps to win in 1:44.21 to the 20-year-old Brazier’s 1:45.35. The time makes Brazier the second-fastest American ever indoors, behind Johnny Gray. Drew Windle’s third-place time of 1:45.53 makes him the number three all-time U.S. performer.

Sprinting to wins

In a highly anticipated duel in the Fred Schmertz men’s 60m hurdles, 2016 Olympic Trials and NCAA Outdoor champion Devon Allen overtook 2012 Olympic gold medalist and outdoor world record holder Aries Merritt, winning in 7.50 to Merritt’s 7.53.

The 2017 NCAA Outdoor champion in the 100 hurdles while at UTEP, Nigerian Tobi Amusan won the Howard Schmertz women’s 60m hurdles going away in 7.90 with 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Kristi Castlin second in 8.02 and 2008 Olympian Queen Harrison third in 8.03.

The man with the world’s fastest indoor time in 2017, Ronnie Baker got out quickly and kept pulling away to win the Joe Yancey men’s 60 in 6.48, with Noah Lyles second in 6.59 and Xie Zhenye of China third in the same time of 6.59.

2014 World Indoor silver medalist Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast burst out of the blocks, winning the women’s 60 in 7.11. The late-closing World Outdoor champion Tori Bowie was second in 7.14, with Javianne Oliver third in 7.15. Michael Cherry took the NYAC men’s 400 meters, running strong in the final 100 to win in 46.46.

Competing against a different field than she expected and struggling on her early attempts, Olympic and world champion Katerina Stefanidi delivered in the John Catsimatidis Women's Pole Vault, winning with a clearance of 4.71m/15-5.25. The NYAC’s Katie Nageotte also cleared 4.71 and placed second. Olympic and World Championships silver medalist Sandi Morris was forced to withdraw from the competition, suffering from back spasms.

Christie, Michta-Coffey take RW national titles; Ewert breaks HS mark

Two race walkers earned USATF national titles in the 1-mile race walk. Fresh off winning the USATF 50 km title last month, Nick Christie showed amazing range in following up with a win Saturday at Millrose in 6:00.37, while two-time Olympian and multiple American record holder Maria Michta-Coffey took the women’s USATF title in 6:35.77. A high school sophomore, Taylor Ewert of Southwest Ohio Track Club broke the national high school record with her third-place time of 6:45.68.

In other action at Millrose, high schooler Brodey Hasty of Brentwood (TN) High School came heartbreakingly close to dipping under the 4-minute barrier, finishing fifth in the men’s mile in 4:00.05, and the Bullis (MD) High School team of Ashley Seymour, Masai Russell, Leah Phillips, Shaniya Hall ran the third-fastest girls’ 4x200 in history, running 1:36.34.

Gabrielle Wilkinson of Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, brought the crowd to its feet with a come-from-behind win in the high school girls mile, running 4:42.94.

The 2018 USATF Indoor Championship Series continues February 10 at the New Balance Boston Indoor Grand Prix and concludes February 16-18 at the USATF Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, NM. Both events will be broadcast by NBCSN and streamed on NBC Sports Gold.