EUGENE, Oregon – As the greatest invitational track meet on U.S. soil, the Nike Prefontaine Classic has long delivered the best track & field performances the world has to offer.
As the final stop of the USATF Championship Series prior to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Saturday was no different. A crowd of 13,223 fans saw two American records fall, eight world-leading marks set, clashes of titans in several marquee events, and two high school boys dip under 4:00 for the mile in two separate races.
All the action from the 42nd Nike Prefontaine Classic can be seen on demand on USATF.TV +PLUS.
Harrison crushes 100H field, AR
Keni Harrison was quick out of the blocks and kept putting distance between herself and a stacked field in the 100 hurdles. Coached by University of Kentucky head coach Edrick Floreal, the Team USA men’s head coach at the 2015 World Championships, the 2015 NCAA champion finished in 12.24 to break the American record of 12.26 held since 2013 by Brianna Rollins. It was the second-fastest time in history and the fastest ever on American soil. Rollins finished second in 12.53, with Jasmin Stowers third in 12.55 to round out the top three. Only Yordanka Donkova’s world record of 12.21, set in 1988, is faster than Harrison’s winning time.
Harrison’s performance also etched another record in the stat books. Hayward Field now claims the title as the fastest straightaway in track & field history, as measured by combining the fastest times run on a track in the men’s and women’s 100m dash, women’s 100 hurdles and men’s 110 hurdles. With a cumulative time of 45.61, it overtakes the 2012 London Olympic Track as fastest sprinting strip in history (45.65).
Coburn claims SC AR
The women’s steeple provided sweet vindication for Emma Coburn. Long the top U.S. athlete in the event, Coburn ran inconspicuously at the back of a large lead pack for most of the race, then began moving up. With the eyes of most Hayward Field fans on Bahrain’s Ruth Jebet and Kenya’s Hyvin Kiyeng battling for the victory, Coburn kept moving up in the race to finish third in 9:10.76, claiming the American record. Jenny (Barringer) Simpson’s 9:12.50 at the 2009 World Outdoor Championships in Berlin stood as the official American record until Saturday. Coburn ran her personal best in 2014 with a time of 9:11.42 – also faster than the old American record – but the mark was unable to be ratified. Her performance at Pre shed the asterisk and gave her the outright record. Jebet held off Kyeng for the win, with a world-leading time of 8:59.97 to Kiyeng’s 9:00.01.
Tori Bowie passed go to collect a women’s 200m world lead with her 21.99 finish. The 2015 World Outdoor 100m bronze medalist changed gears on the straightaway to gain a strong win over defending World Outdoor 200m champion Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands and Elaine Thompson of Jamaica. Schippers finished second in 22.11 with Thompson third in 22.16; American Jenna Prandini was fourth in 22.61 with Joanna Atkins fifth in 22.62.
Justin Gatlin turned in a wire-to-wire win in the men’s 100, blasting out of the blocks and finishing in 9.88, by far his fastest time of the year, with a tailwind of 2.6 meters per second. His fellow former world record holder, Asafa Powell of Jamaica, was second in 9.94, with Tyson Gay third in 9.98. The win was Gatlin’s sixth career title at Prefontaine, as the two-time World medalist from Beijing has five 100m victories and the 2015 200m win to his credit.
In the women’s 100, University of Oregon alumna English Gardner was first out of the blocks and kept cruising, turning in a scorching 10.81 to win the women’s 100m on her favorite track. Tianna Bartoletta began closing late in the race to finish second in 10.94, with the Ivory Coast’s Murielle Ahoure third in 11.01.