Pre Classic Men — Michael Norman Back Under 44

A year-leading 43.60 made Michael Norman 2–1 all-time against Kirani James. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

EUGENE, OREGON, May 27-28 — Just under 4 years ago, in the ’18 NCAA 400 Michael Norman raced to a 43.61 PR at Hayward Field. The afternoon was chilly and gray with intermittent rain, and the then-USC soph’s prodigious time broke the Collegiate Record.

Here at the Prefontaine Classic (aka Eugene DL) in similar though incrementally warmer weather, Norman, a pro ever since that afternoon, went 0.01 faster for a stirring DL Record.

Reaching the head of the homestraight just inches ahead of Kirani James a lane to his outside, Norman hammered the stretch to finish 3m up on the 3-time Olympic medalist Grenadan, 43.60–44.02.

Matthew Hudson-Smith recovered composure after a tumble from his blocks that triggered a recall gun on the first attempted getaway well enough to grab 3rd in 44.35, a British Record. Expert compatriots of Hudson-Smith’s complained his gaffe surely would have triggered a DQ on their side of the pond.

Norman’s smooth run, throughout which he appeared composed, marked a return to form and his first sub-44 race since his 43.45 PR run in April of ’19. He was pleased after an up-and-down patch that included an OT win last summer but a disappointing 5th-place Olympic finish.

“You know, besides the win and the time, I think the execution of the race was much more traditional than I’ve been running the past 2 years,” he said. “I’ve been really working on it all this year, especially the last 3 weeks with Coach [Quincy] Watts. We’ve been really working on the race pattern. So it feels good to be able to run the way that I’ve been training finally and piece it together at the meet.”

Norman reached the 100-meter mark in 10.9 even with James, covered the backstretch in 10.4 (21.3) and the second curve in 10.9 (32.1), down a 10th to the ’12 Olympic champ at each of the latter two posts before his 11.6 homestretch carried the day.

“If you looked at me racing all last year, you could obviously see I was struggling just to find race rhythm again, and I think I kind of lost a sense of how to run the race,” he said. “Coach Watts and I have been really working hard at practice and even at meets to really kind of run it the correct way. It seemed like I was an impatient runner.” Not here.

Ryan Crouser, 11 months removed from his boggling 76‑8¼ (23.37) World Record in the Hayward shot ring at the Olympic Trials, again took pride of place among field eventers.

The tally of 75-foot puts is now at 19; Ryan Crouser has 14 of them. (KEVIN MORRIS)

The Olympic champion did so from the get-go, spinning out a 72-3 (22.02) opener to lead rivals Joe Kovacs and Tom Walsh.

In round 2, though, Crouser went to “Crouser-ville,” the 23m territory in which only he operates, as his cast flew out to 75-6¼ (23.02), history’s No. 5 all-time mark.

Kovacs went big in rounds 2 and 3 with 73-7¼ (22.43) and 73-9½ (22.49), though not big enough, and Walsh’s 72-¾ (21.96) garnered 3rd, remarkable throwing in cool conditions, as rain riskily slickened the ring for the last round. After three fouls, Crouser passed on his last.

“For sure that that ring is very fast,” Crouser said. “It feels great when it’s dry, it’s slick when it’s wet. So that was the main reason I passed in the last round. I slipped in round 5. I was fine, but just was pretty much unable to throw on it in round 5.”

It’s more than noteworthy, also, that Crouser threw from a “static start” throughout, a less than fully aggressive technique.

He explained, “A static start, as opposed to a full throw, is go back with a wind, one fluid motion and go — just like if you’re thinking of a classic golf swing you’re back and you’re forward — where static is you take the wind out of it, essentially. So I’d be like winding back in golf and hold there for a 2 count and then go in. So it’s more controlled, but you’re bringing a lot less energy into it.

“Usually I can go significantly farther, about half a meter farther, with a full throw than I can with statics. So right now my full throws are kind of lacking in finesse and execution.”

Crouser aims to find his finesse before his return to Hayward for the USA World Champs Trials next month.

OT winner Trayvon Bromell topped a classic Pre meet 100 field that included Olympic Tokyo Olympics silver and bronze medalists Fred Kerley and Andre De Grasse plus reigning world champion Christian Coleman.

Bromell — motivated after his elimination in the Tokyo semis and just recently what he apologized for as a “rookie mistake” false start in Birmingham — reacted perfectly to the gun to take an instant lead. Coleman cut it down fast and looked to draw inches ahead around 50m.

But Bromell used fantastic turnover to take the lead back. He threw his arms out to celebrate 9m from the line and still crossed in front of form-holding Kerley 9.93–9.98 with Coleman 3rd in 10.04 and 200 world champ Noah Lyles 5th at 10.05.

“I was happy to come out with the win but there’s a lot of technical stuff that I feel I messed up on,” said Bromell. “I’m pretty sure I’m already getting messages from my coach on things that we could fix.

“But I’m just happy that, you know, I’ve focused a lot this season on my top end speed, staying calm and composed, running through the — well, I ain’t run through the line today. But to be able to run through the line and get on top of the win.”

Besides Norman and Crouser’s world-leading marks, bests for the young season came in the 400H (Alison dos Santos 47.23), Bowerman mile (Jakob Ingebrigtsen 3:49.76 for an outdoor low) and the 5000, which saw two of them.

First Olympic champion and WR holder Joshua Cheptegei got his own 5K on Friday night. It was billed as a World Record chase, though Cheptegei played that down at the pre-meet press conference, and did not come close. He won in 12:57.99.

On Saturday, a stellar field raced to win. Berihu Aregawi ran away from World Indoor 1500 champ Samuel Tefera with a 12:50.05 PR that rates as the fastest-ever on U.S. soil.


(5/27—Open 5000, PV)

100(-0.2): 1. Trayvon Bromell (US) 9.93; 2. Fred Kerley (US) 9.98; 3. Christian Coleman (US) 10.04; 4. Noah Lyles (US) 10.05; 5. Letsile Tebogo (Bot) 10.12; 6. Erriyon Knighton (US) 10.14; 7. Kyree King (US) 10.16; 8. Kenny Bednarek (US) 10.18; 9. Andre De Grasse (Can) 10.21.

400: 1. Michael Norman (US) 43.60 (WL, AL) (x, 13 W; x, 10 A) (10.9, 10.4 [21.3], 10.7 [32.0], 11.6) (21.3/22.3);

2. Kirani James (Grn) 44.02 (10.9, 10.3 [21.2], 10.9 [32.1], 11.9) (21.2/22.8); 3. Matthew Hudson-Smith (GB) 44.35 NR; 4. Vernon Norwood (US) 44.66; 5. Jereem Richards (Tri) 44.79 PR; 6. Michael Cherry (US) 45.04; 7. Isaac Makwala (Bot) 45.35; 8. Bryce Deadmon (US) 45.35; 9. Kahmari Montgomery (US) 46.04.

Non-DL 1500: 1. Sam Tanner (NZ) 3:34.37 PR; 2. Neil Gourley (GB) 3:34.85 PR; 3. Vincent Ciattei (US) 3:35.07; 4. Sam Prakel (US) 3:36.43 PR;

5. Hobbs Kessler (US) 3:36.63 (x, 3 AJ);

6. Luke McCann (Ire) 3:36.93; 7. Colby Alexander (US) 3:37.15; 8. Charles Hunter (Aus) 3:37.33 PR; 9. Marc Scott (GB) 3:37.68; 10. James West (GB) 3:38.44; 11. Christian Noble (US) 3:38.95; 12. Thomas Ratcliffe (US) 3:40.43; 13. Jonas Raess (Swi) 3:42.56; 14. Caleb Lakeman (US) 3:55.20.

Mile: 1. Jakob Ingebrigtsen (Nor) 3:49.76 (out WL) 56.3, 57.6 [1:53.9], 58.4 [2:52.3], 57.5—409m);

2. Olli Hoare (Aus) 3:50.65 PR; 3. Timothy Cheruiyot (Ken) 3:50.77; 4. Abel Kipsang (Ken) 3:50.87 PR;

5. Cole Hocker (US) 3:50.97 out PR (out AL);

6. Cooper Teare (US) 3:51.70 out PR; 7. Jake Heyward (GB) 3:51.99 PR; 8. William Paulson (Can) 3:52.42 PR; 9. Charles Philibert-Thiboutot (Can) 3:53.82; 10. Ignacio Fontes (Spa) 3:54.38 PR; 11. Filip Ingebrigtsen (Nor) 3:55.26; 12. Vincent Kibet (Ken) 3:55.41;

13. Colin Sahlman (US) 3:56.24 PR (HSL) (3, 3 HS; 4, 7 AJ);

14. Clayton Murphy (US) 3:57.16.

Non-DL 5000: 1. Joshua Cheptegei (Uga) 12:57.99 (WL);

2. Milkesa Mengesha (Eth) 13:01.11; 3. Daniel Simiyu (Ken) 13:10.61; 4. Nibret Melak (Eth) 13:12.88; 5. Sam Atkin (GB) 13:15.31 PR; 6. Zouhair Talbi (Mor) 13:24.21 PR; 7. Edward Cheserek (Ken) 13:25.19; 8. Abdessamad Oukhelfen (Spa) 13:25.33; 9. Mark Lomuket (Ken) 13:25.82; 10. Mason Ferlic (US) 13:48.79.

5000: 1. Berihu Aregawi (Eth) 12:50.05 PR (WL) (U.S. all-comers record—old 12:53.73i Grant Fisher [US] ’22) (14.1, 29.2, 58.8, 2:00.8, 4:04.8);

2. Samuel Tefera (Eth) 13:06.86 PR (debut); 3. Selemon Barega (Eth) 13:07.30; 4. Moh Ahmed (Can) 13:07.85; 5. Getnet Wale (Eth) 13:11.68; 6. Matthew Ramsden (Aus) 13:17.11; 7. Brett Robinson (Aus) 13:21.59; 8. Sam Parsons (Ger) 13:21.85; 9. George Beamish (NZ) 13:29.88 PR; 10. Richard Yator (Ken) 13:31.88; 11. Luis Grijalva (Gua) 13:36.93;… dnf—Paul Chelimo (US).

400H: 1. Alison dos Santos (Bra) 47.23 (WL);

2. Khallifah Rosser (US) 48.10 PR; 3. Quincy Hall (US) 48.10 PR; 4. Carl Bengtström (Swe) 48.52 PR; 5. Rasmus Mägi (Est) 48.66; 6. CJ Allen (US) 48.76; 7. Jaheel Hyde (Jam) 50.38; 8. Kemar Mowatt (Jam) 50.81.

Field Events

PV: 1. Mondo Duplantis (Swe) 19-4¾ (5.91) (18-4¾, 19-¾, 19-4¾ [2], 19-11 [xxx]) (5.61, 5.81, 5.91 [2], 6.07 [xxx]); 2. Chris Nilsen (US) 19-¾ (5.81); 3. Sondre Guttormsen (Nor-Prin) 19-¾ (5.81) =PR (out CL); 4. KC Lightfoot (US) 18-8¾ (5.71); 5. Jacob Wooten (US) 18-8¾; 6. Clayton Fritsch (US) 18-4¾ (5.61); 7. Renaud Lavillenie (Fra) 17-9 (5.41);… nh—Valentin Lavillenie (Fra).

SP: 1. Ryan Crouser (US) 75-6¼ (23.02) (WL, AL) (x, 5 W; x, 4 A) (72-3, 75-6¼, f, f, f, p) (22.02, 23.02, f, f, f, p);

2. Joe Kovacs (US) 73-9½ (22.49) (70-11¾, 73-7¼, 73-9½, 72-11¾, 68-10, 68-9¾) (21.63, 22.43, 22.49, 22.24, 20.98, 20.97); 3. Tom Walsh (NZ) 72-¾ (21.96) (71-4¼, 72-¾, 69-11¾, 69-11¾, f, 69-6) (21.75, 21.96, 21.33, 21.33, f, 21.18); 4. Darrell Hill (US) 71-8 (21.84); 5. Zane Weir (Ita) 68-7¾ (20.92); 6. Nick Ponzio (Ita) 68-5¾ (20.87).

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