THE LAST MONTH’S BIGGEST news came at meets with separate coverage—Sander Invitational, New Balance Boston, Millrose Games, Tiger Paw Invitational, the PV Scene—but there was plenty more deserving of mention.
Fast 800s For Wilson & Murphy
The Camel City Elite meet in Winston-Salem (February 1–2) produced a couple of the fastest times ever run on an unbanked 200m track, most notably in the women’s 800, where Ajee’ Wilson blistered a world-leading 1:59.26—the No. 8 U.S. performance ever—to better the old unbanked best of 1:59.41 set by Maria Mutola in ’96. Wilson followed rabbit Georganne Moline through 400 in 59.42, then continued on her own through 1:29.73 at 600 before finishing well clear of Hanna Green (2:03.08) and Raevyn Rogers (2:03.09). In 5th, Athing Mu (Central, Trenton, New Jersey) became the No. 4 prep ever with her 2:03.98.
Said Wilson, “Once the pacer dropped, it was easy to get into a rhythm and slow things down a bit. I really wanted to be aggressive and make sure I didn’t fall into a slow lull. The last two was about digging deep and going hard.”
Clayton Murphy dominated the men’s 4-lapper with his 1:45.92 to become the No. 10 American ever. It too was a non-banked best. Mile wins went to Edward Cheserek (3:55.74) and Grace Barnett (4:33.94), as Aussie Patrick Tiernan (7:48.86) and Emily Lipari (8:59.96) took the 3000s.
20.30 For Kenny Bednarek
He was the high school leader in the 200 outdoors last year with his 20.43, but Kenny Bednarek, now running for Indian Hills JC, stunned with a world-leading 20.30 in the 200 at Nebraska’s Sevigne Invitational (February 2). The 20-year-old yearling won the race by nearly 3 seconds. Coach Brent Ewing seemed a little shocked, saying, “After missing two weeks in November with an injury, we almost didn’t race him. He wasn’t given the green light to race until Thursday, two days before the meet. Neither of us expected he would run something so fast, so early.”
Quincy Hall Runs 45.81, Relays 44.81
The Carolina Challenge (February 2) featured a pair of nice runs by South Carolina junior Quincy Hall, a 44.60/49.02 pickup who had been undefeated in the JC ranks, showed his mettle at the Div. I level, winning the 400 in 45.84 and running 44.81 on the Gamecocks’ 3:05.68 relay. Of the 400, South Carolina head Curtis Frye said, “That’s one of the most tremendously even races I’ve ever seen. He actually went out in 22-flat and came back in 23.7, which is very unusual. It’s a matter of getting him to go out a little faster. The rest of the guys are going out in 21.5, and they’re coming back, so if he can go out in 21.5 and come back in 23, he’s going to do quite well this year and be a contender.” At the Tiger Paw meet a week later Hall lowered his best to 45.72.
Holloway Stays Busy, Just Misses CR
Grant Holloway is continuing his versatile ways. At the Clemson Invitational (January 19) he PRed in winning the 200 at 20.62, hurdled a world-leading 7.49 in the heats and matched that in the final, then finished off with a 45.62 second leg on Florida’s 3:04.74 winners. Then came two weekends in Arkansas. At the first he PRed with a 6.59 in the flat 60 before running a world-leading 6.51 to take the final. He also captured the long jump, stretching out to 26‑3¾ (8.02).
At the Tyson Invitational he starred with a near-Collegiate Record 60H, his 7.43 just 0.01 off but still a world leader. In the 4×4, Florida produced a solid 3:03.17 to beat Baylor’s 3:04.49, with Holloway contributing the fastest leg of the race, a 44.94 second carry.
Distance Crew Outruns Seattle Storm
Even condensed down to a one-day meet in a race against Seattle’s “Snowpocalypse,” the Husky Classic (February 8) on the large UW oval (307m unbanked) produced notable distance times. Texas soph Sam Worley led 4 under 4:00 in the mile with his 3:57.98. Cooper Teare of Oregon took the 3000 in 7:50.66 as the first 13 all broke 8:00. Colorado’s Joe Klecker ran 13:35.97 in the 5000, outkicking Eastern Kentucky frosh James Sugira (13:37.88).
Nikki Hiltz took the women’s mile in 4:31.42 ahead of the 4:31.71 for Hannah Fields. Kim Conley grabbed 3rd in 4:33.72. Oregon’s Jessica Hull ran 8:53.91 to win a loaded 3000. Boise State’s Allie Ostrander ran 2nd in 8:55.26 as Nicole Hutchinson of Villanova (8:55.68), Arkansas frosh Lauren Gregory (8:55.97) and teammate Tayler Werner (8:56.97), and New Mexico’s Ednah Kurgat (8:59.78) all dipped under 9:00.
McGorty Shines In 5000
In a night of notable races at the Hemery Valentine Invitational in Boston (February 8), the best was crafted by Stanford alum Sean McGorty, now running for the Bowerman TC. His world-leading 13:21.35 win over Britain’s Mark Scott (13:21.97) made him the No. 10 American ever. “I trusted my gut,” he said. Laura Roesler looked sharp in a powerful 1:59.80 win over 4 laps, briefly moving to No. 10 on the U.S. all-time list. It was her second race indoors this season after a nearly 3-year gap since she ran in the ’16 World Indoor.
A Profitable Distance Medley Weekend
The weekend before the bulk of the Conference championships go off is typically low-key… except in the distance medley, where many of the nation’s top foursomes go for fast NCAA qualifiers, since at their loop meets many of those same legs will be stretched doing multiple races.
Notre Dame’s Wilson Invitational, with its oversized 352y oval, is annually a favored destination, and this year was no different. The host men ran 9:26.10, a time bettered only 4 times in history. Wisconsin was just 0.14 behind, for the No. 6 time ever. Illinois also cracked 9:30 with its 9:29.19 in 3rd. Washington’s last-chance affair also produced a pair of sub-9:30s, the hosts winning in 9:28.14 to beat Oregon’s
9:28.62. On the women’s side, the Notre Dame meet featured 4 sub-11:00 performances: 1. Michigan 10:54.47; 2. Indiana 10:57.76; 3. Kansas 10:58.31; 4. Wisconsin 10:59.72. □