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What We Learned: Pre Classic - Day 1

Published by
DyeStatPRO.com   May 31st 2014, 3:32am

An American Record, Meet Record and So Much More

By Scott Bush

Friday was considered the warm-up to Saturday’s main action at the Nike Prefontaine Classic, but as usual the events under the Hayward Field lights came up big-time. Whether it was Chanelle Price’s win from the gun in the women’s 800, Maggie Vessey’s wild uniform, Elijah Greer bringing the estimated 7,500 members of the Hayward faithful to their feet or the new meet record in the women’s discus set by Croatian Sandra Perkovic, Friday night was a spectacle of the world's best track and field talent. Oh yeah, and there was an American record.

Men’s 10,000m

An American record was on the line and Galen Rupp came up big, breaking his own mark of 26:48.00 with a 26:44.36 effort. Rupp ran even from the start, following the lead of a few different pace makers. As Stephen Sambu (Kenya) hit the half way point in 13:26.44, Rupp sat in the pack of five. Lap by lap the pace remained the same and heading into the final 800m, Rupp was nearly three seconds behind his record...until he unleashed a furious two lap kick. As the crowd roared to their feet, Rupp sprinted past the leader, putting a five meter gap between himself and his new chasers. Then it became 10 meters, then 15, as the crowd stomped, clapped, yelled and shrieked, Rupp continued his charge. Hitting his second to last lap in 58 seconds, fans could sense the record was going down. Then there isn't much more to say besides, AMERICAN RECORD!

*On a more personal note, Rupp announced he and his wife are expecting twins in a month. 

Women’s Discus

Sandra Perkovic (Croatia) is queen of the discus and Friday’s Diamond League competition didn’t prove anything different. The Croatian star threw a new meet record to take home a mosterous win in 69.32m, besting her meet record from 2012 of 66.92m. Her closest competition came from Shanice Craft (Germany) in a personal best of 65.38m, while American Gia Lewis-Smallwood (USA) set a seasonal best in 64.98m on her final throw.

Men’s Shot Put

While World Champion Ryan Whiting (USA) scratched out prior to competition due to injury, the men's shot put offered the most drama of the field events Friday evening. While Christian Cantwell (USA), who's been on a tear this season and was undefeated coming in, threw twice over 21 meters by his fourth throw, it was rival Reese Hoffa (USA) who stole the show. Hoffa won his third consecutive Pre Classic shot put and fourth in five years with his winning throw of 21.64m, not too far off Cantwell's top throw in the world of 21.85m. Upcoming star Joe Kovacs placed second in 21.46m, while Cantwell finished third in 21.38, being the only three runners to go over the 21 meter mark. 

Women’s Long Jump

While Brittney Reese (USA) set the tone early, it was Ivana Spanovic (Serbia) coming up as the win on her sixth and final jump in 6.88m. Not only did Spanovic’s best equal the world leader by Darya Klishina (Russia) but also set a national record in the process. Spanovic’s second best leap of 6.86m was better than Klishna’s 6.81m second best, which was a good thing considering Klishna actually lept 6.88m on her third jump. Reese finished fourth overall in 6.86m, just behind Éloyse Lesueur’s 6.87m third place mark. Talk about a close top four!

Women’s 800m

To lead from the gun is Chanelle Price’s style and she pulled off a win again despite nearly fading to a loss in the final 50 meters of the race. Price followed the rabbit through the first 400m in 56.97, extender her lead from 400-600m, but the final stretch of the race saw her tying up badly, as Maggie Vessey nearly caught her, 2:00.38-2:00.48.

Price’s victory was mighty impressive and was a great continuation of her beautiful indoor season, but in many ways it was the “Wow” outfit of Vessey that stole the show. It was something of a swimsuit, sleeved, patriotic pattern cut to fit a middle distance star.

As for the Mary Cain show, which debuted outdoors, the still-in-high school athlete never put herself in position for top three, moving to the back right from the opening gun and never moving up past fifth place. While she finished eighth overall in 2:02.31, it was a rust buster and sets her up for bigger things ahead.

Men’s 800m

While Job Kinyor (Kenya) took home the top spot in 1:44.70, it was former Duck Elijah Greer setting a season best and moving up to second in the final stretch, placing second in 1:45.30. Greer got a late start to his season, with an eye on the bigger European meets later this season.

Even more important, Greer bested Erik Sowinski, who placed third in 1:45.64. While Duane Solomon easily claimed the top position in the men’s 800m in the U.S. this season thus far, the second spot is wide open. With Nick Symmonds out with an injury and Brandon Johnson yet to find the same groove he found last year when he made Team USA, Greer could be ready for a breakthrough season.

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