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Track and Field Menu

Friday Night at Pre

 

Germany's Thomas Rohler sets Hayward Field record  

 

EUGENE –  One of the largest crowds to ever witness a free "Friday night at Pre", estimated at 7,500 by meet directors, showed up at historic Hayward Field to witness some impressive performances on the field and track.  Although, there were no World Records or even World leading marks set, three German javelin throwers did rewrite the Hayward Field and Prefontaine Classic record books in the men's javelin competition.  

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Johannes Vetter had two throws that beat the old Hayward Field record (289-11 and 293-1) to hold the lead early in the men's javelin competition, but countryman Thomas Rohler unleashed the winner, 294-10, in round four to unseat Vetter from the record books.  Fellow German Andreas Hofmann made it a clean sweep finishing in 3rd place with a toss of 283-7, also farther than the old Hayward field record.  Another highlight of the evening was 18-year-old Selemon Barega of Ethiopia running a blistering 54.8 final lap to win a slow 2-Mile race (8:20.01).  The pack didn't run with the pacesetters in the opening half of the 2-Mile race, leading to slow finishing times.  

Prefontaine Classic Results/Start Lists

 

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Keep reading for Friday night event recaps and story from the Press Conference earlier in the day with quotes from former Oregon Ducks Matthew Centrowitz, above, and Phyllis Francis, below, about their last time competing at this version of Hayward Field.

 

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Friday – Event Recaps  

Men's Pole Vault:  In what turned out to be a rather lackluster competition, where three athletes failed to make the opening height, American Sam Kendrick's ruled the roost as the only vaulter over 19-feet, with a winning vault of 19-0.75.  France's World Record holder Renaud Lavillenie got a clutch third attempt clearance at 18-3 stay alive early but missed his next three attempts to exit the competition in 5th-place.  18-year-old high schooler Mondo Duplantis was in the lead early with three first attempt clearances, but failed to make it over 19-feet, finishing in second place (18-8.75).  

Men's Javelin Throw:  Germany's Johannes Vetter unleashed two throws that beat the old Hayward Field record (289-11 and 293-1) to hold the lead early in the men's javelin competition, but countryman Thomas Rohler unleashed the winner, 294-10, in round four to unseat Vetter from the record books.  Fellow German Andreas Hofmann made it a clean sweep finishing in 3rd place with a toss of 283-7. 

Women's National 800-meters: Jamaica's Natoya Goule outkicked the field to win in 2:00.84.  Former Oregon Duck Laura Roesler finished 5th in 2:02.68.  Former Canby High School runner McKayla Fricker, a national Division II Champion for Seattle Pacific, served as the pacesetter, looking good while taking the women through a fast opening 500-meters. 

Women's National 1,500-meters: Dani Jones took control with a lap remaining and stayed strong down the stretch to win the women's 1,500-meters in a new Personal Record 4:07.74.  Former Camas HS runner Alexa Efraimson, who turned pro after her junior year, finished strong to place second in 4:08.70, while fellow Nike runner Cory McGee placed third in 4:09.09. 

Men's 800-meter run: Oregon Track Club Elite's Nijel Amos, a native of Botswana, darted to the lead with 200-meters remaining, causing Kenya's Emmanuel Korir to stumble.  But Korir came back and outkicked Amos down the final straightaway to win in 1:45.16.  Amos finished second in 1:45.51.  2018 World Indoor Gold Medalist from Poland, Adam Kszczot, was last until the final 150-meters and couldn't make up the gap down the stretch, finishing 6th in 1:46.64. 

Men's 2-MILE Run: 18-year-old Selemon Barega of Ethiopia ran a blistering 54.8 final lap to win a slow 2-Mile race (8:20.01) to cap an evening where the pack didn't want to run with the pacesetters in any of the distance races.  American Paul Chelimo gave a game effort in the final 100-meters, but Barega was able to hold him off.  Chelimo finished 2nd in 8:20.91.  Former Duck Eric Jenkins finished 7th in 8:23.50, while Edward Cheserek struggled home in 15th (8:31.43). 

 

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Earlier friday afternoon, Tom Jordan, author of the definitive Steve Prefontaine biography and longtime Pre-Classic meet director, greeted a throng of media at the press conference for the 44th Prefontaine Classic in front of some track and field royalty.  American stars Christian Coleman, Noah Lyles, Torie Bowie, Evan Jager and Duck great Phyllis Francis were joined by an all-star cast of track and field athletes from around the world.   

 

France's World Record holding pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie, 2016 400-meter Olympic Champion Shaunee Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas, Qatar's high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim – the second highest jumper in world history, Jamaica's double Olympic Champion sprinter Elaine Thompson and China's only sub 10-second 100-meter sprinter Su Bingtian.  

 

Jordan said they are "expecting a sellout", as the last Pre-meet at this version of Hayward Field has led to increased early ticket purchases.  Jordan added that Oregon Duck great Claudette Gronenendaal and American Record holder Alan Webb are just two among the many athletes who are coming back to remember historic Hayward Field.  Jordan added that "the 2019 Prefontaine Classic will definitely happen next year, June 28-29, and we hope it will be in the region." 

 

Jordan announced that superstar sprinter Allyson Felix was a late scratch from tomorrow's 400-meters with no reason was given.  This comes a day after Justin Gatlin pulled out of the men's 100-meters with a balky hamstring.  Some other late scratches include; 21-year-old Hayward Field record holder Donovan Brazier in the men's 800-meters; Sifan Hassan of the Nike Oregon Project in the women's 5K; and Olympic Silver Medalist in the 400-hurdles, Sara Peterson.  

 

Both former Ducks in attendance at the press conference, Matthew Centrowitz and Phyllis Francis, were in high spirits and ready for their final performance at historic Hayward Field.  Centrowitz, the 2016 Olympic Champion in the 1500-meters, sounded a bit emotional when asked about his last race at the classic version of Hayward field. 

 

"Obviously, it's gonna be pretty exciting out there," said Centrowitz.  "Unlike most Pre-Classics, I'm going to take everything in. Being under the grandstands, to warmup like I normally do and just take it all in.  I guess, I took it for granted the past 10 years, just went through the motions without soaking it in.  This year, I'm going to be soaking in the moment." 

 

Francis, who broke through in a big way last summer by winning the World title in the women's 400-meters, was stoked when I told her I was a Duck fan.  "Nice!", Francis said.  "Go Ducks!"  Francis still feels the tingle when her name is announced on the Hayward loudspeaker and the fans roar as only the Eugene crazies can. 

 

"Yeah, it pumps me up," added Francis.   "I also have anxiety to, like, oh God, everybody's watching me, don't mess up!  It's a great feeling.  It's unexplainable.  You have to go to school here.  You have to train here to understand. The fans here are loyal."   She emphasized and stretched the word loyal - "Loyyyyaaaaallllllll". 

 

Francis thinks she still needs to work on her start more than anything else.  "I would say my start," said Francis.  "My start sucks so bad, so that is something I always try to work on.  Just practice a lot of starts!" 

  

Francis thinks she's in great shape overall at this point in the season.  "I think training is going well," said Francis.  "Alot of people are saying I slimmed down."  Her plan on Saturday against the world's best 400-meter women?  "Go out there, have a nice opener and have fun," said Francis.  "I have a good team behind me and I'm just focusing on what I need to do." 

 

Schedule - 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 an absolutely loaded field 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. Gatlin has pulled out of the event due to a balky hamstring.

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; 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. 

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; Allyson Felix, Shaunee Miller-Uibo, Courtney Okolo. Felix has scratched.

2:44 PM – Men's 200-meter dash: In this non-diamond league event, the entries have not been finalized. 

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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