Millrose Games Women — Big Meet Back In Big Way

Elle Purrier St. Pierre was indeed a big whoop in the women’s Wanamaker Mile. (JOHN NEPOLITAN)

NEW YORK CITY, January 29 – Returning after a pandemic-related hiatus, the Millrose Games was nearly derailed again by a blizzard that bludgeoned the East Coast.

Luckily the meet went off as planned, and for Elle Purrier St. Pierre, it was as if no time had passed since the last edition. Two years ago the then-unheralded Vermont native surprised the track world by winning the women’s Wanamaker Mile in an American Record 4:16.85, outkicking a strong field.

This time around, she wasn’t going to sneak up on anyone, so she found herself controlling the back half of the race and earning a comfortable victory in 4:19.30. That’s the second-fastest U.S. time ever indoors, behind her own AR of course. Josette Norris (4:20.81) gamely went with Purrier St. Pierre, but couldn’t match her final kick, while Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen (4:22.59) was 3rd and Jessica Hull (4:24.06) set an Australian Record in 4th.

“Obviously the last time I raced here I set the bar pretty high, so coming back from that can be pretty hard to top,” said Purrier St. Pierre, who turns 27 in February. “But I went in with confidence and believed in all the training that I’ve done over the years and that’s helped me get to where I am.”

The field had little interest in following pacesetter Charlene Lipsey (63.92, 2:08.40), but once she stepped off, Purrier St. Pierre was happy to lead the way. “The pace felt a little bit fast from the start, so I didn’t necessarily feel all that good, but I just tried to stay consistent with my pace and not let anybody get by,” said the New Hampshire alum. “I couldn’t hear anybody [behind me], it was just so loud. I really didn’t know what was happening behind me at all.”

She covered the final two laps in 63.69 to easily pull away from Norris (64.97), who was nonetheless pleased with her performance. “To come out in January and run a personal best, there’s not much more I could ask for,” said Norris, who moved to No. 3 on the all-time U.S. indoor list for both the mile and the 1500 (an en route split of 4:03.16).

“I gave it my best shot. I thought I had great positioning. My plan was to stick behind Elle and just match every move that she made. She had that final gear that I didn’t have. But I’m really proud to walk away with my first Wanamaker in 2nd and a personal best.”

Olympic 800 champ Athing Mu made a much-hyped step up to the mile after originally being announced for her specialty, but lost contact with lead pack with two laps to go and stepped off the track before the bell.

Like Purrier St. Pierre, Alicia Monson was rewarded for frontrunning tactics. The Wisconsin grad won the 3000 in 8:31.62, moving to No. 4 on the U.S. all-time list. With Weini Kelati on her heels it quickly became a replay of their recent duel at the U.S. cross country championships. As in that race, Monson pulled away gradually, sealing the win with a 32.22 final lap.

“We wanted to make it fast,” Monson said of the prerace plan set by coach Dathan Ritzenhein. “Whether that meant me being right behind the rabbit or someone else, we wanted to make sure the pace was hot.” She benefited from Kelati’s company, admitting, “it does make you a little bit nervous, but forces you to keep the pace up and not lag too much.”

Kelati (8:33.72) also made an impact on the U.S. all-time indoor list, landing at the No. 6 spot. Laura Galván was 3rd with a Mexican Record 8:42.29, while 6th-placed Courtney Wayment of BYU moved to No. 6 on the collegiate list (8:50.05).

Sandi Morris made a triumphant return to the vault runway after hyper-extending her hip flexor in the Olympic qualifying round last summer. The ’18 World Indoor champion won the competition easily at 14-7¼ (4.45) before making three more bars, topping out at 15-7 (4.75). Emily Grove finished 2nd (14-7 ¼), ahead of Olympic champ Katie Nageotte, who cleared only a single height vaulting off 6 lefts, 14-3¼ (4.35).

Said Morris, who is now coached by Brad Walker in Atlanta, alongside Nageotte, “My hip is still a little bit away from being 100% healed, so we’re just being careful with the volume in training. This was a season opener from my full approach. It just feels really good to be back, shaking off the demons from last season. I’m back on the runway, I’m feeling healthy, so it’s just onwards and upwards from here.”

Also taking a step forward after a disappointing Olympic year was Ajee’ Wilson, who won a tactical 800 in 2:01.38. Her final lap of 29.89 was enough to hold off Jamaican Natoya Goule (2:02.14).

Aleia Hobbs won the 60 comfortably ahead of Mikiah Brisco, 7.11–7.15, with North Carolina prep Shawnti Jackson finishing 3rd in a HS Record 7.18 (see HS story).


60: 1. Aleia Hobbs (US) 7.11; 2. Mikiah Brisco (US) 7.15;

3. Shawnti Jackson (US) 7.18 HSR;

4. Briana Williams (Jam) 7.22; 5. Kiara Parker (US) 7.23; 6. Gabby Thomas (US) 7.25; 7. English Gardner (US) 7.38; 8. Chloe Abbott (US) 7.90.

400: 1. Wadeline Jonathas (US) 52.51; 2. Jessica Beard (US) 52.95; 3. Tovea Jenkins (Jam) 54.14; 4. Roneisha McGregor (Jam) 54.24; 5. Raevyn Rogers (US) 55.58.

800: 1. Ajee’ Wilson (US) 2:01.38 (60.28/61.10); 2. Natoya Goule (Jam) 2:02.14 (60.45/60.93); 3. Michaela Meyer (US) 2:02.94 PR; 4. Roisin Willis (US) 2:03.28 (x, 7 HS); 5. Sophia Gorriaran (US) 2:03.66 (x, 9 HS); 6. Olivia Baker (US) 2:06.11; 7. Nia Akins (US) 2:08.56;… rabbit—Olga Kosichenko (US) (28.33, 59.22).

Mile: 1. Elle Purrier St. Pierre (US) 4:19.30 (x, 9 W; x, 2 A; in/out: x, 7 A) (4:02.13—3, 3 A); 2. Josette Norris (US) 4:20.81 PR (3, 4 A; in/out: 6, x A) (4:03.16 PR—4, 6 A);

3. Konstanze Klosterhalfen (Ger) 4:22.59 (4:22.59); 4. Jessica Hull (Aus) 4:24.06 NR (4:06.03);

5. Shannon Osika (US) 4:24.19 PR (10, x A) (4:06.18 PR);

6. Sage Hurta (US) 4:25.45 PR (4:06.43 PR); 7. Heather MacLean (US) 4:28.05 (4:09.89); 8. Ella Donaghu (US) 4:30.27 PR (4:11.79 PR); 9. Nikki Hiltz (US) 4:30.75 (4:13.01); 10. Cory McGee (US) 4:33.23 (4:13.12); 11. Anna Camp Bennett (US) 4:37.58 (4:18.33 PR);… dnf—Athing Mu (US);… rabbit—Charlene Lipsey (US) (64.32, [2:09.19]).

3000: 1. Alicia Monson (US) 8:31.62 PR (4, 4 A; in/out: 8, x A); 2. Weini Kelati (US) 8:33.72 PR (6, 6 A; in/out: 10, x A);

3. Laura Galván (Mex) 8:42.29 NR; 4. Amy-Eloise Markovc (GB) 8:49.49; 5. Elly Henes (US) 8:49.52 PR;

6. Courtney Wayment (BYU) 8:50.05 PR (6, 6 C; 4, 4 AmC; in/out: 8, 8 C; 6, 6 AmC);

7. Dani Jones (US) 8:54.06 PR; 8. Marta Pen Freitas (Por) 8:56.31 PR; 9. Whittni Orton (US) 8:56.43; 10. Allie Buchalski (US) 8:58.46 PR.

60H: 1. Britany Anderson (Jam) 7.91 PR; 2. Devynne Charlton (Bah) 7.95; 3. Tonea Marshall (US) 7.99; 4. Keni Harrison (US) 8.00; 5. Gabbi Cunningham (US) 8.00; 6. Anna Cockrell (US) 8.02; 7. Sarah Lavin (Ire) 8.14; 8. Akala Garrett (US) 8.47.

3000W (USATF Ch): 1. Maria Michta-Coffey (US) 13:24.73; 2. Miranda Melville (US) 13:25.70; 3. Katie Burnett (US) 13:58.63; 4. Janelle Branch (US) 13:58.76; 5. Celina Lepe (US) 14:21.68; 6. Katherine Miale (US) 14:38.49; 7. Anali Cisneros (US) 14:54.14; 8. Madison Morgan (US) 14:58.54; 9. Kayla Shapiro (US) 15:05.76; 10. Angelina Colon (US) 15:16.30.

Field Events

PV: 1. Sandi Morris (US) 15-7 (4.75) (missed 15-9/4.80); 2. Emily Grove (US) 14-7¼ (4.45); 3. Katie Nageotte (US) 14-3¼ (4.35); 4. Kristen Brown (US) 13-9¼ (4.20); 5. Natalie Uy (Phi) 13-3½ (4.05);… nh—Olivia Gruver (US).

LJ: 1. Tara Davis (US) 21-7½ (6.59); 2. Quanesha Burks (US) 21-5½ (6.54); 3. Keturah Orji (US) 21-5½ (6.54); 4. Sha’keela Saunders (US) 21-3½ (6.49); 5. Jazmin Sawyers (GB) 20-3 (6.17); 6. Avery Lewis (US) 19-2¾ (5.86).

Wt(1/27): 1. Erica Belvit (Jam) 65-½ (19.82) PR.