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You are here: Home Track and Field Menu Track and Field News 2018 Prefontaine Classic

Track and Field Menu

2018 Prefontaine Classic

 

Prefontaine Classic says farewell to Hayward Field  

 

 

EUGENE – The Prefontaine Classic returns to Hayward Field for the 44th consecutive year this Friday and Saturday, and most of the top track and field athletes in the world will be on hand to compete in their specialties.  The "Friday Night at Pre" portion of the meet remains the best value in all of sports, as it has been free entry since its inception in 2008.  Don't let the "free" price tag fool you, the competition on Friday night is no mere sideshow.  A legion of crazed distance running fans have been treated to some memorable performances in Eugene's cool night air.

 

 

 Pre's Rock, a memorial to Steve Prefontaine on Skyline Blvd. in Eugene, is a popular spot during Pre-Classic weekend.

Pre Classic Press Conference May 30 1975 060

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2008, Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele ran 10,000-meters in 26:25.97, which is fourth fastest in world history.  Running 75 times around Hayward's oval in 2011, Kenya's Moses Mosop broke the track World Records in the 25K (1:12:25.4) and 30K (1:26:47.4).  Oregon's Galen Rupp broke the American Record in the 10K in 2014, running a wicked fast 26:44.36, finishing his last 800-meters in 1:57.  Those are just a few of the memorable performances and this year should be no different. 

 

The pole vault opens the meet at 6:37 p.m. on Friday and features France's reigning World Indoor Champion and World Record Holder Renaud Lavillenie facing off against 2017 World Outdoor Champion Sam Kendricks of Oxford, Mississippi.  Joining them will be 18-year-old Mondo Duplantis and five other vaulters who have gone at least 19-5.5.  Also, on Friday the Diamond League Men's Javelin competition features German rivals Thomas Rohler and Johannes Vetter, the 2nd and 3rd farthest throwers in history.  With both throwers having Personal Records well over 300-feet, the Hayward Field record of 286-7 is in serious jeopardy and we may see the first 300-foot throw on U.S. soil.   

 

Don't show up late on Friday or you will miss the meet, as the four running events are scheduled to last a little more than 40 minutes.  Beginning with the National Women's 800-Meter race at 7:30 p.m. and ending with a rarely run 2-Mile race at 8:06 p.m., featuring former Oregon Ducks NCAA Champions, Edward Cheserek and Eric Jenkins.  The former Ducks will be chasing the favorites from Ethiopia, 2017 Outdoor 5K World Champion Muktar Edris and two-time World Indoor 3K Champion, 20-year-old Yomif Kejelcha. 

 

The main portion of the meet on Saturday will be televised live by NBC, beginning at 1 p.m.  The meet is loaded in every event with former Olympic Champions, reigning World Champions and a few World Record Holders!  Familiar names include; Justin Gatlin, Christian Coleman, Allyson Felix, Thomas Walsh, Ryan Crouser, Elaine Thompson, Katerina Stefanidi and Sandi Morris. 

 

The "Pre" Classic is simply the best Track and Field meet in the United States and one of the best in the world every year.  This edition will be special, as the historic 99-year-old East Grandstands – and for that matter, the entire stadium – is scheduled to be demolished and rebuilt into a luxurious and futuristic track and field playground after the NCAA Championships in two weeks.  The $200 Million facility, to be completed in 2020 and funded mainly by Phil and Penny Knight (Nike), is proposed to hold 12,900 permanent seats with the ability to expand to more than 30,000 spectators for the scheduled 2021 IAAF World Track and Field Championships. 

 

Oregon fans will be treated to some familiar faces on Saturday, as five former Ducks that won NCAA Championships take to the track, headlined by 1,500-Meter-run Olympic Gold Medalist Matthew Centrowitz in the meet's signature event, the Bowerman Mile.  Centrowitz has been slowed by injuries over the past year, but showed his fitness a couple weeks ago, running a solid distance-double in less than an hour, (1:48 in the 800m, 3:39 in the 1,500m).  Centrowitz, who set his Mile Personal Record (3:50.53) at the 2014 Pre Classic, faces most of the world's best, including lifetime 3:47 Milers in Kenyan Silas Kiplagat and Djibouti's Ayanleh Souleiman.  17-year-old Norwegian phenom Jakob Ingebrigtsen is also in the field, although he seems a bit overmatched and better suited for the International Mile field. 

 

 BowermanMileStart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Former Oregon Duck Matthew Centrowitz (center, in black) and Ayanleh Souleiman (far left, yellow) are two of the favorites in the Bowerman Mile.  They are pictured at the start of the 2014 Bowerman Mile, won by Souleiman in 3:47.32, the fastest ever run on American soil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raevyn Rogers will have her work cut out for her in a women's 800-meter race featuring three runners that joined the 1:55 club last year; Caster Semenya, Francine Niyonsaba, and Ajee' Wilson.  Phyllis Francis, a surprise World Champion last year, headlines a superb field of elite women's quarter milers that includes; Allyson Felix, Shaunee Miller-Uibo, Courtney Okolo.  Zoe Buckman from Australia is entered in the women's 1,500-meter-run.  Devon Allen has been running well this season, setting a Personal Record in the 100-meter-dash (10.26) in Australia.  Allen, whose 110-hurdles PR of 13.03 is from the 2016 Olympic Trials at Hayward Field, seems poised for a breakout hurdles performance.  He faces Omar McLeod and three other runners who have dipped under 13 seconds in the deepest hurdles race in Pre-Classic history.  McLeod, the reigning Olympic and World Champion, is seeking a 3rd straight Pre-Classic title. 

 

With Bend native Ashton Eaton retired and Portland's Galen Rupp focusing brilliantly on the Marathon, the only former Oregon prep competing at this years meet is Barlow H.S. alum Ryan Crouser.  A former Texas Longhorn, Crouser set the Hayward Field record last year, throwing the shot put 73-7.25, and had the farthest in the world since 2003 when he set the Olympic Record of 74-4.75 at the 2016 Rio Games to win the Gold Medal.  Crouser and all of the former Ducks will be treated as if they are family to the Hayward Field faithful, as will anybody who performs magnificently. 

 

 

Prefontaine Classic Website 

 

 

Pre-Classic: History/Records 

 

 

Keep reading for full schedule and event previews. 

 

 

 

Schedule/Event Previews 

Friday, May 25th 

6:37 PM – Men's Pole Vault: Lavillenie, Kendricks, Duplantis lead talented field of vaulters that have all made at least 19-5.5. 

6:40 PM – Men's Javelin Throw: Rohler and Vetter try to become first 300-foot thrower at Hayward Field. 

7:35 PM – Women's National 800-meters: The entries have not been finalized yet. 

7:42 PM – Women's National 1,500-meters: The entries have not been finalized yet. 

7:52 PM – Men's 800-meter run: Oregon Track Club's Nijel Amos, a native of Botswana with a lifetime PR of 1:41.73, headlines a stellar field that includes 21-year old American Donavan Brazier and the World Indoor Gold Medalist from Poland, Adam Kszczot. 

8:06 PM – Men's 2-MILE Run: America's best 5K runners will try to get near the 8-minute mark in this rarely run distance to cap the free "Friday Night at Pre" portion of the meet.  In addition to the two Ducks talked about above, his group includes; Ryan Hill, Paul Chelimo, Ben True, Hassan Mead and Shadrack Kipchichir. 

 

Saturday, May 26th 

12:45 PM – Men's Triple Jump: The horizontal jump should be a two-man competition between USA's duo of Will Claye and Christian Taylor who have been battling each other since 2009 when they were freshmen in college.  Taylor (59-9) owns the second farthest jump in history and 5 Gold Medals (2 Olympic and 3 World Championship).  Claye (58-9.25) has two Gold Medals (World Indoor) and in the 2012 London Olympics, he became the first man since 1936 to medal in both the Long Jump and Triple Jump.   

 

12:48 PM – Women's Pole Vault: It will be a battle of two members of the elite 16-foot club, when reigning World and Olympic Champion, Katerina Stefanidi of Greece, faces off against USA's Sandi Morris in the women's pole vault.  All the vaulters entered were ranked in the top 10 in the world last year by Track and Field News.  

 

12:52 PM – Men's International Mile: 18-year-old Oregon Duck recruit Brodey Hasty of Brentwood, TN faces a loaded field as he tries to become the 10th high school runner to break 4-minutes in the mile, in what will be a very historic race in the history of Hayward Field and the Prefontaine Classic.  Hasty faces current Duck, redshirt junior Blake Haney, former Washington Husky Isaac Yorks and high school to the pro's sensation, 20-year-old Drew Hunter.  The winner becomes the 400th sub-4-minute miler in the history of the Prefontaine Classic and the 6th place finisher will become the 500th sub-4-minute miler in the history of Hayward Field. 

 

1:00 PM – Men's High Jump: Qatar's Mutaz Esha Barshim has been a fan favorite wherever he competes and Eugene is no different, as he famously showed up to the 2014 Pre-Classic press conference decked out in full Duck regalia.  Barshim owns the Pre-Classic and Hayward Field Record of 7-10.75, set in 2015, but with his personal best of 7-11.5, one question always remains.  When will we see the next 8-foot high jump? 

 

1:03 PM – Women's 400-meter hurdles: A trio of the United States fastest 400m hurdlers (Shamier Little, Dalilah Muhammad, and Ashley Spencer) face off against a talented field, including 2-time World Champion Zuzana Hejnova' of the Czech Republic. 

 

1:10 PM – Women's 800-meter run: The controversial Caster Semenya, South Africa's World and Olympic Champion with elevated testosterone levels, brings her physical running back to Eugene in a race that features the return of multiple NCAA Champion Raevyn Rogers, a former Oregon Duck standout.  USA's best Ajee' Wilson and Burundi's Francine Niyonsaba pose the biggest threat to beating Semenya, having both run 1:55 for 800-meters. 

 

1:18 PM – Men's 100-meter dash: In this non-Diamond League race, the top two U.S. sprinters will face off in a battle for the ages.  Christain Coleman, the 22-year-old who just set the World Indoor Record for the 60-Meter-Dash, will try to unseat 2017 100-Meter-Dash World Champion, the ageless and controversial 36-year-old Justin Gatlin. 

 

1:25 PM – Men's 3,000-meter steeplechase: 8 of the top 10 from last year's World Rankings are scheduled to compete in a steeplechase field that will look to dip under the 8-minute mark.  Kenya's World and Olympic Champion Conseslus Kipruto and USA's Evan Jager are the favorites.  Jager, a 6-time U.S. Champion, Olympic Silver Medalist and World Championship Bronze Medalist, set his American Record of 8:00.45 in 2015.  Two Ethiopian teenagers are in the field; 19-year-old Tesfaye Deriba (8:13.33) and 17-year-old Ethiopian Getnet Wale (8:12.28). 

 

1:40 PM – Women's 100-meter dash:  U.S. champ Torie Bowie, the 2017 World Champion, faces off with the 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist, Elaine Thompson of Jamaica and most of the best women's sprinters in the world.  I feel for the track announcer during this race introduction; Dafne Schippers, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, Murielle Ahoure Ahoure', Marie-Josee' Ta Lou. 

 

1:50 PM – Women's 1,500-meter run:  USA's top middle-distance runner Jenny Simpson, who won Silver at the World Championships last summer, headlines a talented field of metric-milers including England's Laura Muir.  Brenda Martinez, Kate Grace and Shelby Houlihan round out the entrants for Team USA.  Former Duck Zoe Buckman from Australia is also entered.

 

1:58 PM – Men's Shot Put: Oregon's Ryan Crouser and New Zealand's Tom Walsh continue their rivalry with five other throwers that have launched the shot over 72-feet in their careers. 

 

2:03 PM – Men's 110-meter hurdles: All of the big names are here; McLeod, Merritt, Shubenkov, Allen, Ortega, Pozzi, Levy, Bascou. 

 

2:10 PM – Women's 5,000-meter run: In a clash of reigning World Champions and two of only five women in history to run sub-14:20, Kenya's Hellen Obiri and Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba are sure to put on a show.  Both women love to run at Hayward Field, winning multiple Prefontaine Classic titles over the years. 

 

2:31 PM – Women's 400-meter dash: Former Duck Phyllis Francis headlines a superb field of elite women's quarter milers, including; Allyson Felix, Shaunee Miller-Uibo, and Courtney Okolo. 

 

2:44 PM – Men's 200-meter dash: In this non-diamond league event, entries were finalized on Wednesday and this race is going to be epic.  Noah Lyles (19.83) and Christian Coleman (19.85) are scheduled to rip apart the Bowerman curve with many of the best half-lap sprinters in the world, including;  Ameer Webb (19.85), Ramil Guliyev (19.88), and Isaac Makwala (19.77).

 

2:51 PM – Men's Bowerman Mile: Oregon alum and 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist Matthew Centrowitz faces the most talented milers in the world in the Pre-Classic's signature event.  USA's Clayton Murphy, Craig Engels and Ben Blankenship join Centro in facing a field that has 5 members of the prestigious sub-3:50 club. 

 

Excerpts below are from Pre-Classic Website:  

Steve Prefontaine is a legend in the sport of track & field and is the most inspirational distance runner in American history. He set a national high school 2-mile record (8:41.5) while at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay, Oregon, that is the fastest ever in a National Federation-sanctioned race. While competing for the University of Oregon, he won national cross country championships (3) and outdoor track 3-Mile/5000-meter championships (4), and never lost a collegiate track race at any distance. As a collegiate junior, he made the 1972 U.S. Olympic Team and nearly won an Olympic medal, finishing 4th in the 5K at the 1972 Munich Olympics, at age 21. After finishing college in 1973 and preparing for a return to the Olympics in 1976, he continued to improve, setting 18 American records. His life ended tragically on May 30, 1975, the result of an auto accident, at age 24. The Pre Classic began that year and has been held every year since." 

Tickets for the 44th annual edition of the Prefontaine Classic, to be held May 25-26 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., are available at www.ticketmaster.com, as well as at 1-800-WEBFOOT or in person at the Autzen Stadium ticket window. Sponsored by NIKE continuously since 1984, the Prefontaine Classic will be shown live to an international audience by NBC. 
 
The Prefontaine Classic is the longest-running outdoor invitational track & field meet in America and is part of the elite IAAF Diamond League of meets held worldwide annually. The Pre-Classic’s results score has rated No. 1 or No. 2 in the world in each of the last seven years by All-Athletics.com, the official data partner of the Diamond League. 

 

 

 

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