Millrose Games Women — 800 AR For Ajee’ Wilson

Ajee’ Wilson was well clear as she crossed the 800’s finish in 1:58.60. (KEVIN MORRIS)

New York City, February 09—New Jersey native Ajee’ Wilson feels right at home at the Armory, where she has raced countless times since her prep days. She set an American Record in the 800 for the top women’s performance at the 112th Millrose Games.

Following the brisk early pace of rabbit Kendra Chambers (26.85, 56.19), Wilson came through halfway in 57.19, with Jamaica’s Natoya Goule right on her heels. At 500m the two runners appeared to make momentary contact and Wilson briefly stumbled. The American quickly righted herself and powered to the finish in 1:58.60, surpassing not only the AR of 1:58.71 set by Nicole Teter in winning the ’02 USATF title but also the never-ratified 1:58.64 by Charlene Lipsey in ’17. “I got clipped up in the back so I was a little worried about that,” said Wilson, who also took the yearly world lead. “I just wanted to make sure I was keeping my form tight and kept moving.”

Wilson, who set the outdoor AR of 1:55.61 in ’17, came into the meet aiming to add the indoor mark to her résumé and didn’t worry about the aggressive pace leaving her vulnerable. “We train for this,” she said. “Everything I’m attempting to do in the race, I’ve got that confidence in my back pocket, knowing that I’ve done worse in practice.”

Goule clocked a Jamaican Record 1:59.13 in 2nd, while Ce’Aira Brown (1:59.74) broke 2:00 indoors for the first time and moved to No. 10 on the U.S. list.

In the 60, comebacking English Gardner shocked the field, the crowd and especially herself to win in a PR 7.10 in her first race of the season. She surged past Trinidad’s Michelle-Lee Ahye (7.15) in the final 15m to chip 0.02 off her previous best, set while winning the NCAA title back in ’12.

Following surgery in August ’17 to repair a torn ACL, the Oregon star moved from LA back home to New Jersey to be coached by her father after amicably leaving John Smith’s group. She raced only twice last year, but clocked 11.02 in the 100 to signal that her comeback was on track. “I had no preparation for this meet, no speedwork,” said Gardner, who won Olympic gold in the 4×1 in Rio after making the final in the 100. “I literally came off of all my high volume. I have yet to do anything to make me fast. To see my natural ability to just flourish like that I’m super excited, because a lot has changed with my training.”

Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen, now training in Oregon, broke away from the mile field just before 700m and won in a world-leading 4:19.98. Training partners Colleen Quigley and Kate Grace dueled for the runner-up spot, with Quigley pulling away on the final lap for a PR 4:22.86, moving to No. 4 on the all-time U.S. list.

Alicia Monson, the Big 10 cross country champ, was a surprise winner of the women’s 3000. The Wisconsin junior ran in the lead pack until the final straightaway, where she had to veer into lane 3 to get by Rachel Schneider for the win, 8:45.97–8:46.44. That lowered her PR by more than 28 seconds and moved her to the No. 3 spot on the all-time collegiate list. “I honestly wasn’t expecting this, but I figured it was such a great opportunity I might as well take advantage of it,” she said. “The goal for me today was to stick on the line and stay attached and be a contender.”

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MILLROSE WOMEN’S RESULTS

New York City, February 09 (200 banked)—

60: 1. English Gardner (US) 7.10 PR; 2. Michelle-Lee Ahye (Tri) 7.15; 3. Javianne Oliver (US) 7.19; 4. Deajah Stevens (US) 7.20; 5. Marybeth Sant (US) 7.23; 6. Shania Collins (US) 7.25 PR; 7. Thelma Davies (US) 7.45.

400: 1. Jaide Stepter (US) 53.25; 2. Phil Healy (Ire) 53.72; 3. Brittany Brown (US) 53.76 PR; 4. Gabby Thomas (US) 54.50; 5. Maya Stephens (Can) 54.52.

HS 600: 1. Athing Mu (US) 1:27.36 PR.

800: 1. Ajee’ Wilson (US) 1:58.60 AR (old AR 1:58.71 Nicole Teter [Farm Team] ’02) (WL) (27.21, 29.98 [57.19], 30.82 [1:28.01], 30.59] (57.19/61.41);

2. Natoya Goule (Jam) 1:59.13 NR;

3. Ce’Aira Brown (US) 1:59.74 PR (10, x A);

4. Raevyn Rogers (US) 2:01.33; 5. Olivia Baker (US) 2:03.57; 6. Chrishuna Williams (US) 2:03.68;… rabbit—Kendra Chambers (US) (26.85, 29.34 [56.19]).

Mile: 1. Konstanze Klosterhalfen (Ger) 4:19.98 (WL) (5, 6 W) (4:02.70 WL—5, 6 W)

2. Colleen Quigley (US) 4:22.86 (AL) (9, x W; 4, 6 A; in/out: 7, x A) (4:06.16 AL—8, x A);

3. Kate Grace (US) 4:24.27 (4:06.55); 4. Shannon Osika (US) 4:25.71 (4:07.64); 5. Katie Mackey (US) 4:26.39 (4:08.59); 6. Cory McGee (US) 4:26.79; 7. Helen Schlachtenhaufen (US) 4:28.81 PR (4:11.55);

8. Danae Rivers (US-PennSt) 4:29.47 ((10, 11 C; 9, 10 AmC; in/out: 10, 11 AmC (4:11.24— 6,6 C; 5, 5 AmC);

9. Amanda Eccleston (US) 4:29.54 (4:10.98); 10. Emily Lipari (US) 4:33.97 (4:14.09); 11. Kaela Edwards (US) 4:40.74 (4:18.73); 12. Karisa Nelson (US) 4:44.23 (4:24.41);… rabbit—Stephanie Herrick (US) (65.07 for 409m).

3000: 1. Alicia Monson (US-Wi) 8:45.97 PR (AL, CL) (3, 3 C; in/out: 3, 3 C);

2. Rachel Schneider (US) 8:46.44 PR; 3. Jessica O’Connell (Can) 8:46.50 NR; 4. Aisha Praught Leer (Jam) 8:46.60; 5. Emma Coburn (US) 8:52.27;

6. Weini Kelati (Eri-NM) 8:53.98 PR (10, x C);

7. Elinor Purrier (US) 8:57.30; 8. Lauren Paquette (US) 8:57.51; 9. Mel Lawrence (US) 8:57.58; 10. Sara Sutherland (US) 9:07.00.

60H: 1. Sharika Nelvis (US) 8.01; 2. Tobi Amusan (Ngr) 8.03; 3. Isabelle Pedersen (Nor) 8.24; 4. Astrid Nyame (Can) 8.34; 5. Phylicia George (Can) 8.37; 6. Lauren Micham (US) 8.60.

MileW: 1. Taylor Ewert (US) 6:28.21 AJR, HSR (6:02.85 AJR, HSR);

2. Rachel Seaman (Can) 6:28.39; 3. Katie Burnett (US) 6:50.08 PR.

HS 4 x 200: 1. Bullis, Potomac, Maryland, 1:37.78 (AL).

Field Events

HJ: 1. Vashti Cunningham (US) 6-4¾ (1.95) (AL) (5-10¾, 6-¾, 6-2 [AL], 6-3¼ [AL], 6-4¾ [2], 6-6 [xxx]) (1.80, 1.85, 1.88, 1.91, 1.95 [2], 1.98 [xxx];

2. Priscilla Frederick (Ant) 6-2 (1.88); 3. Levern Spencer (StL) 6-2; 4. Inika McPherson (US) 6-¾ (1.85); 5. tie, Jelena Rowe (US) & Amina Smith (US) 5-10¾ (1.80).

Wt: 1. Jeneva Stevens (US) 74-6¼ (22.71); 2. Destiney Coward (US) 68-5¾ (20.87). □