(For coverage of Friday night’s Pre Classic events, click here)
The Prefontaine Classic had typical Oregon weather on Saturday afternoon, with overcast skies, light drizzle and 59 F temperatures, perfect for distance running, but it was the sprints that were the feature this year. Saturday’s meet produced world-leading performances in eight events:
● Men/400 m: 43.60, Michael Norman (USA)
● Men/Mile: 3:49.76, Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR)
● Men/5,000 m: 12:50.05, Berihu Aregawi (ETH)
● Men/400 m Hurdles: 47.23 Alison Dos Santos (BRA)
● Men/Shot Put: 23.02 m (75-6 1/4), Ryan Crouser (USA)
● Women/800 m: 1:57.2, Keely Hodgkinson (GBR)
● Women/1,500 m: 3:52.59, Faith Kipyegon (KEN)
● Women/3,000 m Steeple: 8:57.97, Norah Jeruto (KAZ)
And there were five world leaders during the Friday evening program:
● Men/5,000 m: 12:57.99, Joshua Cheptegei (UGA)
● Women/3,000 m: 8:24.27, Francine Niyonsaba (BDI; en route)
● Women/Two Miles: 8:59.08, Francine Niyonsaba (BDI)
● Women/5,000 m: 14:12.98, Ejgayehu Taye (ETH)
● Women/High Jump: 2.00 m (6-6 3/4), Yaroslava Mahuchikh (UKR)
Olympic and Worlds medalists were all over the men’s 100 m, the last race of the day, including 2019 World Champion Christian Coleman, Tokyo Olympic silver winner Fred Kerley, Tokyo 200 m medalists Andre De Grasse (CAN), Kenny Bednarek and Noah Lyles and a lot more.
But it was Trayvon Bromell, one of the disappointments of the Tokyo Games, who lit up the track. Off the gun, it was Bromell and Coleman out best, and Coleman had a slight lead at 60 m, but then Bromell came back strongly and had a clear lead by 70 m. He surged to the line and was celebrating when he crossed in 9.93 (wind: -0.2 m/s). Coleman gave way to Kerley at the 85 m mark, 9.98-10.04, with Lyles fourth in 10.05.
In his four meets in 2022, Bromell has won in 9.75w, 9.92, false-started out of the Birmingham Diamond League meet and won here in 9.93.
The women’s 100 m featured double Olympic 100 m champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, but also comebacking Sha’Carri Richardson of the U.S. Off the start, it was British star Dina Asher-Smith who grabbed the lead after 20 m and looked strong, but by 60 m, it was Thompson-Herah who got into another gear and ran away in 10.79 (wind: +1.7 m/s), a season best and no. 2 in the world for 2022.
Asher-Smith faded in the final 20 and it was Richardson and Jamaican Olympic bronze winner Shericka Jackson battling for second. Richardson got there first, with both timed in 10.92, with Asher-Smith fourth (10.98). Those are season’s best for all three and an encouraging run for Richardson, who ran her fastest since the U.S. Olympic Trials last year.
The non-Diamond League women’s 200 m was a showcase for Jamaican superstar (and 100 m world leader) Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. She came off the turn just ahead of American Jenna Prandini, but no one could match her strength and won easily in 22.41 (+0.8), ahead of Brittany Brown (USA: 22.74) and Anthonique Strachan (BAH: 22.76). Prandini was fourth in 22.77.
The women’s 100 m hurdles was also not a Diamond League event, but saw world leader Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (PUR) take control in the middle of the race and pulled away to win decisively in 12.45 (-0.7), with Tobi Amusan (NGR: 12.58) and Tonea Marshall (12.66) running 2-3. World-record holder Keni Harrison was eighth in 12.78. This was a happy performance for Camacho-Quinn, who had suffered losses in her last two races.
The question in the men’s 400 m has been … what’s with Michael Norman? The American star made a statement in Eugene, with 2012 Olympic champ Kirani James and Trinidad & Tobago’s Jareem Richards leading him on the backstraight. But Norman was chasing James – one lane to his outside – and showed the power and speed that had been missing in his races and he exploded down the straight to win in a world-leading 43.60. James was strong to the finish and was second in 44.02, followed by Matthew Hudson-Smith (GBR: national record of 44.35) and American Vernon Norwood (44.66). It was Norman’s second-fastest time ever; his best of 43.45 was in 2019.
Olympic bronze medalist Alison Dos Santos was a clear winner in the men’s 400 m hurdles, taking the lead on the backstraight and charging home hard to win in a world-leading 47.23, a 1/100th improvement on his 47.24 win in Doha. Americans Khallifah Rosser and Quincy Hall went 2-3 in 48.10, lifetime bests for both.
On the infield, Olympic champion Ryan Crouser of the U.S. underscored his dominance in the men’s shot, reaching a sensational 23.02 m (75-6 1/4) in the second round, the no. 5 performance of all-time!
The rains came in the fourth round, and hampered the rest of the event. Two-time World Champion Joe Kovacs of the U.S. got out to 22.49 m (73-9 1/2) for second in the third round – no. 2 for 2022 – but could not improve. New Zealand’s 2017 World Champion Tom Walsh was third with a season’s best 21.96 m (72-0 3/4), no. 4 on the world list.
In the events over one lap:
The men’s mile was all about Olympic champ Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who left no doubt with a stirring 3:49.76 world-leading win. He took the lead with 650 m to go, ahead of Kenya’s Olympic silver medalist Timothy Cheruiyot and Jake Heyward (GBR), and they were also the top three at the bell, before Ingebrigtsen just sailed away with 300 m to go. He was untouched to the finish, looking back at the competition twice on the home straight before crossing the line.
Behind him was a torrid race for second, with Australia’s Ollie Hoare passing Cheruiyot, 3:50.65-3:50.77 in a bunch finish, with world 1,500 m leader Abel Kipsang (KEN: 3:50.87) and Americans Cole Hocker (3:50.97) and Cooper Teare (3:51.70) trailing. Prep Colin Sahlman of Newbury Park HS in California was 13th in 3:56.24, making him the no. 3 performer (and performance) of all-time among U.S. preps. Wow!
The men’s 5,000 m featured Tokyo 10,000 m gold medalist Selemon Barega (ETH), but it was countryman Berihu Aregawi who raced away at mid-race with six straight laps under 62 seconds. With six laps left, he had a 20 m lead and was extending it, passing 3,000 m at 7:43.64. He was 50 m up with four laps left and ran all alone, as the rest of the pack let him go. At the bell, Aregawi charged and finished in 58.74 for a world-leading 12:50.05 finish, shattering his prior best of 13:08.91 from 2020. He’s now no. 23 all-time.
The rest of the pack was in a separate race, with 1,500 m star Sam Tefera (ETH) out-racing Barega and Canada’s Mo Ahmed, 13:06.86-13:07.30-13:07.85.
Jamaica’s Natoya Goule was – as she usually is – the leader of the women’s 800 m at the bell, but it was Britain’s 20-year-old Tokyo silver winner Keely Hodgkinson running wide and taking over around the turn and into the straight to win in 1:57.72. No one could match her speed, even with Americans Ajee Wilson and Raevyn Rogers charging at her down the straight, but they had to settle for second (1:58.06) and third (1:58.44) with Goule at 1:59.39. Very, very impressive.
The women’s 1,500 m was another measuring stick for Britain’s Laura Muir against Kenya’s double Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon, but it was Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay and Kipyegon who ran with the pacesetter, 20 m ahead of the pack. Tsegay and Kipyegon passed 800 m in 2:03.88, and at the bell, the pair were more than 50 m up. Tsegay tried to open up on the backstraight, but Kipyegon blew by with 230 m to go and she stormed to the finish in 3:52.59, the second-fastest ever and the no. 9 performance of all-time.
Tsegay was second in 3:54.21, followed by Canada’s Gabriela DeBues-Stafford (3:58.62), then Sinclaire Johnson of the U.S. with a lifetime best 3:58.85; Johnson is the 10th American women to break 4:00 and now sits at no. 7 all-time U.S. Muir faded to 11th (4:04.45).
Ex-Kenyan Norah Jeruto – now running for Kazakstan – led the women’s 3,000 m Steeple ahead of four others, including Olympic champ Peruth Chemutai (UGA) through 2,000 m. She and Winfred Yavi (BRN) kept the pace strong and ground down the field and were 20 m up on the field at the bell. Jeruto and Yavi ran together to the water jump, but Jeruto was too strong and ran away to win in a world-leading 8:57.97, to move to no. 5 all-time.
Yavi wasn’t far back at 8:58.71, no. 7 all-time and the eighth woman to break the 9:00 barrier. Ethiopia’s Mekides Abebe made a charge on the final lap to get third (9:03.26) ahead of Chemutai (9:05.54). Emma Coburn was the top American in eighth (9:18.19).
The women’s long jump was an upset win for Sweden’s Khaddi Sagnia, who got out to 6.95 m (22-9 3/4) in the second round and no one could match her. Nigeria’s Ese Brume jumped 6.82 m (22-4 1/2), also in round two as did American Tara Davis (6.73 m/22-1), who finished third.
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