USATF Women’s 800 — Wilson Leads A Quick Parade

Ajee’ Wilson didn’t score a PR, but nearly everybody behind her did as 5 broke 2:00. (KEVIN MORRIS/PHOTO RUN)

Four Americans had broken 2:00 this year before the Nationals, and 6 others who entered the 2-lapper in Des Moines came in with season’s bests under 2:01. This promised to be a close, fast race, and it did not disappoint as 5 of the first 7 scored PRs. The clear favorite, of course, was American Record holder Ajee’ Wilson, who had not lost to an American since ’16. She won her heat and her semi and then successfully defended her title with apparent ease.

In the final, Olivia Baker took the lead on the first turn but Wilson and her training partner, Charlene Lipsey, overtook the Stanford senior before the 200 mark. On the first homestretch, Wilson stayed in front, with Lipsey just outside of her taking the lead very briefly as they passed the 400 in 58.82, a step ahead of Ce’Aira Brown and Baker.

That quartet continued to lead coming off the final turn. In the homestretch, Wilson pulled away from the field to win comfortably in 1:58.18. Former NCAA champ Raevyn Rogers made a big move from the rear pack and passed Brown on the outside 20m before the finish line to take 2nd as each PRed, in 1:58.57 and 1:58.65. Kaela Edwards (1:59.68 PR) also ran well in the homestretch to overtake a fading Lipsey (1:59.95) for 4th. The 6th- and 7th-placers, Baker (2:00.08) and Hanna Green (2:00.09), also notched lifetime bests.

Reviewing the race, Wilson said that after finding herself in the lead after the first turn, “I just wanted to stay there and relax.” In the last 120, she said, “It was just about finishing hard. I heard the rest of the field coming. I wasn’t sure how close they were, but I heard the announcer saying that Raevyn was making a move and I’m like: ‘I gotta make sure it’s not on me.’”

Rogers, who remained in Eugene after her last year of eligibility at Oregon in ’17, is now coached by Derek Thompson, who also coaches Wilson and Lipsey. She was pleased with her finishing kick. She said, “I remember my coach saying, ‘Make sure you have enough for the last 50.’ This race really taught me the importance of finishing.”


USATF WOMEN’S 800 RESULTS

FINAL (June 24)

1. Ajee’ Wilson (adi) 1:58.18 (27.4, 31.4 [58.84], 30.2 [1:29.0], 29.2) (58.84/59.34) (14.2);

2. Raevyn Rogers (Nik) 1:58.57 PR (27.8, 31.4 [59.22], 30.6 [1:29.8], 28.8) (59.22/59.35) (13.8);

3. Ce’Aira Brown (HokaNJNY) 1:58.65 PR (27.6, 31.4 [58.97], 30.2 [1:29.2], 29.5) (58.97/59.68) (14.4);

4. Kaela Edwards (adi) 1:59.68 PR (59.9, 30.0 [1:29.9], 29.8)

(59.89,/59.79) (14.9);

5. Charlene Lipsey (adi) 1:59.95 (27.4, 31.4 [58.82], 30.3 [1:29.1], 30.9) (58.82/61.13) (15.7);

6. Olivia Baker (Stan) 2:00.08 PR (27.6, 31.5 [59.09], 30.2 [1:29.3], 30.8) (59.09/60.99) (15.6);

7. Hanna Green (OTC) 2:00.09 PR (59.37/60.72) (14.9);

8. Sabrina Southerland (Or) 2:01.62 (59.39/62.23).

HEATS (June 21)

I–1. Lipsey 2:02.06; 2. Dana Mecke (TxEl) 2:02.41; 3. Skylyn Webb (CoCS) 2:03.00; 4. Cecilia Barowski (HokaNJNY) 2:03.97;

5. Madeline Kopp (unat) 2:04.08; 6. Baylee Mires (BB) 2:05.66; 7. Savannah Colon (BB) 2:08.82.

II–1. Brown 2:01.38; 2. Edwards 2:02.47; 3. Baker 2:02.49; 4. Meghan Manley (NBalCP) 2:02.99 PR; 5. Chrishuna Williams (Nik) 2:04.05;

6. Darroneshia Lott (unat) 2:04.82; 7. Dalanne Zanotelli (unat) 2:05.30; 8. Raquel Lambdin (unat) 2:06.28.

III–1. Wilson 2:02.63; 2. Southerland 2:03.15; 3. Danae Rivers (PennSt) 2:03.27; 4. Emily Richards (HokaNJNY) 2:03.35;

5. Kendra Chambers (Ois) 2:04.16; 6. Heather MacLean (Ma) 2:06.14; 7. Anna Shields (PtP) 2:06.71; 8. Carly Muscaro (Sauc) 2:08.01; 9. Tracee van der Wyk (unat) 2:08.30.

IV–1. Rogers 2:02.74; 2. Laura Roesler (Nik) 2:02.95; 3. Green 2:03.36;

4. Hannah Fields (BB) 2:04.22; 5. Angel Piccirillo (unat) 2:04.24; 6. Kenyetta Iyevbele (HokaNJNY) 2:04.38; 7. Rachael Walters (GVal) 2:05.01; 8. Michelle Howell (Jack) 2:05.39.

SEMIS (June 22)

I–1. Wilson 1:59.34; 2. Brown 1:59.49 PR; 3. Southerland 2:01.28; 4. Edwards 2:01.35;

5. Williams 2:02.50; 6. Rivers 2:02.88; 7. Mecke 2:02.89; 8. Webb 2:03.04.

II–1. Rogers 2:00.17; 2. Lipsey 2:00.25; 3. Baker 2:00.63 PR; 4. Green 2:00.69 PR;

5. Roesler 2:00.84; 6. Manley 2:02.10 PR; 7. Richards 2:02.78; 8. Barowski 2:09.50. □

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