The 99th Inaugural US Open Track and Field Recap: Silas Kiplagat Over Lagat, Asafa Powell is Back, So is Lolo Jones and Terrence Trammell

by: Tim Loh for LetsRun.com
January 28, 2012

NEW YORK – In the inaugural U.S. Open at Madison Square Garden, nearly 6,000 fans watched as Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell captured the men's 50 meters, hurdler Lolo Jones returned to form after back surgery, and Kenyan Silas Kiplagat outkicked Garden-legend Bernard Lagat to win a men's mile that retained its excitement, if not its storied name.

With the Millrose Games -- and its landmark Wanamaker Mile -- relocating 135 blocks north to the Armory for the first time in a century, USA Track and Field had to scramble in recent months to put on a high-profile winter meet on New York's largest stage.

"We really did not know what to expect," Jill Geer, the chief USATF spokeswoman, said afterwards. "We're trying to rebuild the brand of professional track and field in the Garden, and it's going to take more than a year." (Editor's note: If the meet takes place next year it will be the 100th year of track and field in the Garden)

Citing three benchmarks, Geer claimed success: She said more reporters came to the press conferences Thursday and Friday than she'd seen in 12 years helping put on the Millrose Games, that USATF and the Garden combined to put out a wide breadth of pre-meet advertising and promotions, and that the new event attracted a boutique of athletes including Lagat, Powell and Jones.

Official attendance was 5,844, Geer said, which is about a third of the Garden's capacity. While that is smaller than last year's roughly 7,000 people who attended the Millrose Games, Geer said meet promoters were excited they had surpassed the 5,000-mark.

Men's Mile: Kiplagat's Burst of Speed Holds Off Lagat

It seemed that little had changed when the men's milers took the stage. The lights dimmed as usual, and the national anthem was sung, which Bernard Lagat later said had long been his favorite part of the Millrose Games.

And for the first nine of 11 laps, it looked like many Wanamaker Miles gone by. Lagat traded the lead with Kenyans Silas Kiplagat and Daniel Komen. Clipping off quarter mile splits of 1:00 and 1:59, the three of them built a tension in the stands that burst into loud cheering as Lagat took the lead on the backstretch of the penultimate lap – just as he'd said he wanted to do in pre-race interviews.

Komen faded, leaving a two-man race as Lagat led Kiplagat toward the bell lap.

But then Kiplagat blew past Lagat heading into the final lap, a move that Lagat said later surprised him. Kiplagat, with Lagat on his heels, held on to win by hardly a meter – 4:00.65 to Lagat's 4:00.92.

Afterward, Lagat said he wasn't happy with his place or his time. But felt he's in shape to run 13:00 in the 5,000 on February 11 at the Millrose Games

"It didn't go well today," Lagat said. "(Kiplagat) surprised me by going at the curve, and I tried to chase him down, and I was late…I always say, if someone passes you there before the straightaway, it's going to be over almost, but I didn't want to give up."

Bernard Lagat Talks About Kiplagat
Asking Him How to Beat Kiprop

Lagat said he didn't feel tired afterwards. "I am really ready now for a 5,000," he said.

Event 13  Men 1 Mile Run
===============================================================
       World: W 3:48.45  1997        Hicham El Guerrouj, MAR   
    American: A 3:49.89  2005        Bernard Legat, Nike       
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals
===============================================================
Finals                                                         
  1 Silas Kiplagat               Kenya                  4:00.65
  2 Bernard Lagat                USA                    4:00.92
  3 Daniel K Komen               Kenya                  4:03.82
  4 Anthony Famiglietti          USA                    4:07.77
  5 Matt Elliott                 USA                    4:09.60
 -- Matt Scherer                 USA                        DNF

Women's Mile: Brenda Martinez Dominates

Brenda Martinez kicked in a 65-second last quarter-mile to claim a convincing win in the women's mile.

After Sara Vaughn led the small field through a 69-second opening quarter, Martinez moved to the front and slowly pulled away from the field. Unlike the men's race, there was very little changing of positions. 3:59 1500m runner Anna Pierce who struggled in 2011, was only third in her 2012 opener.

"I've never really focused on indoors, but I'm having a blast here now," Martinez, 24, said. "I'm just having fun. I'm just trying to run fearless now. I'm still learning. I have a lot to learn before the Olympic Trials."

Martinez, who lives in Big Bear, Calif., has been working this year with Dr. Joe Vigil (former coach of Deena Kastor), whom she credited Saturday with getting her strength up and preparing her for a shot at the World Indoor Championships, and later, the London Olympics.

Sara Vaughn said she thought with two laps remaining that she might catch Martinez; instead, Martinez pulled further ahead of her. In Vaughn's first mile race in over six months – and first since moving her training to Portland, Ore. (her husband is 2011 USATF XC Champ Brent Vaughn)-- she said she felt aerobically strong but not sharp in her speed.

"I've always had my speed," she said. "I've always been able to run a 27 second 200. My weakness has always been my aerobic strength…and getting to 200 to go feeling well."

Vaughn said she's focusing on the 1,500 for outdoor track and, though she has no set indoor plans, that she'll try to get into a couple of more meets.

Event 10  Women 1 Mile Run
===============================================================
       World: W 3:58.28  2006        Yelena Soboleva, RUS      
    American: A 3:59.98  2003        Regina Jacobs, Nike       
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals
===============================================================
Finals                                                         
  1 Brenda Martinez              USA                    4:34.62
  2 Sara Vaughn                  USA                    4:37.12
  3 Anna Pierce                  USA                    4:39.97
  4 Stephanie Garcia             USA                    4:45.90
 -- Leslie Higgins               USA                        DNF
 -- Lauren Hagans                USA                        DNF

Men's 50 Meters Asafa Powell Impresses

In the shortest – and arguably the most impressive – race of the night, Jamaica's Asafa Powell nosed out his fellow countryman Nesta Carter to claim the 50-meter dash.

In his first indoor race since 2004, Powell said he "kind of" changed his start for the short distance, but he called his tactics a secret.

"I would say right now I'm fit, I'm very fit, but I'm not fast," he said. "Wednesday I ran 15 (times) 100 meters. I've been working hard this week. To come here and run this time, I'm very fit."

Powell entertained the notion that his country could sweep the medals at 100 meters in the Summer Olympics. He said that, personally, he needed to work on the latter stages of the race. Asked when he would next compete, he joked: "Maybe next Tuesday, in Jamaica, in training."

 
Event 18  Men 50 Meter Dash
===============================================================
       World: W  5.56  1996        Donovan Bailey, CAN         
    American: A  5.56  1999        Maurice Greene, Nike        
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals
===============================================================
Finals                                                         
  1 Asafa Powell                 Jamaica                   5.64
  2 Nesta Carter                 Jamaica                   5.67
  3 Trell Kimmons                USA                       5.68
  4 Justin Gatlin                USA                       5.71
  5 Kimmari Roach                Jamaica                   5.74
  6 Daniel Bailey                ANT                       5.75

Women's 50 Meter Hurdles Lolo Jones is Back

Lolo Jones, in her first race back from surgery last summer to repair her spinal cord, won the 50 meter hurdles convincingly and restored some of her battered confidence.

"Last night, I was just like, ‘Am I ready? Did I prepare myself right? Have I had enough time to recover from the surgery? Was the surgery the right move?'" she said after winning.

"I'm just so glad that I have this under my belt," she added. "I can just go back to the (past) couple months where I'm like crying my eyes out, doing two to three workout sessions a day, just to get back to normal, not even advance myself. Just to get back to where I used to be last year."

Jones said she's heading to Europe to stay race-sharp in coming months.

"Just pure joy to be able to run again," she said of competing in New York. "At one point (last summer), I thought my career was over."

Event 15  Women 50 Meter Hurdles
================================================================
       World: W  6.58  1988        Cornelia Oschkenat, GDR      
    American: A  6.67  1995        Jakie Joyner-Kersee, World Cl
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals 
================================================================
Finals                                                          
  1 Lolo Jones                   USA                       6.78 
  2 Tiffany Porter               Great Britain             6.83 
  3 Kellie Wells                 USA                       6.84 
  4 Ginnie Crawford              USA                       6.90 
  5 Dawn Harper                  USA                       6.96 
  6 Kristi Castlin               USA                       6.98 

Men's 50 Meter Hurdles: Terrence Trammel Upsets David Oliver

After dominating the 110 hurdles in 2010, David Oliver struggled at the end of 2011. So 2012 is a comeback of sorts. Getting the win however was veteran Terrence Trammell who is attempting an even bigger comeback. Trammell, the Olympic silver medallist in 2000 and 2004, had made the US team at every Worlds and Olympics from the year 2000 on, until he missed making last year's US team for the World Champs.

Oliver told USATF, "The 50m was kind of cool. There was an emphasis on the start, but it's the outdoor season that matters. Things really didn't feel any different. I'm just here having fun. This is definitely one of the best indoor meets around. There was a good crowd. I would have given anything to feel this good five or six months ago. I have to execute my start and I didn't execute it well. Terrence (Trammell) has an amazing start. He is a tough guy to beat indoors. Right now it's really competitive practices."

Event 16  Men 50 Meter Hurdles
===============================================================
       World: W  6.25  1986        Mark McKoy, CAN             
    American: A  6.35  1987        Greg Foster, World Class AC 
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals
===============================================================
Finals                                                         
  1 Terrence Trammell            USA                       6.45
  2 David Oliver                 USA                       6.50
  3 Omo Osaghae                  USA                       6.52
  4 Jeff Porter                  USA                       6.53
  5 Aries Merritt                USA                       6.54
  6 Richard Phillips             Jamaica                   6.58

Women's 50m Veronica Campbell Brown Wins

Veronica Campbell Brown, two time defending 200m Olympic champion, and last year's 200m World Champion and 100m runner-up, won easily.

Event 17  Women 50 Meter Dash
===============================================================
       World: W  6.02  1999        Gail Devers, Nike           
    American: A  5.96  1995        Irina Privalova, RUS        
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals
===============================================================
Finals                                                         
  1 Veronica Campbell-Brown      Jamaica                   6.08
  2 Jessica Young                USA                       6.20
  3 Gloria Asumnu                Nigeria                   6.22
  4 Tahesia Harrigan             IVB                       6.25
  5 Bianca Knight                USA                       6.28
  6 Alexandria Anderson          USA                       6.28

Women's 800m High Schooler Ajee Wilson Takes on the Pros

World Youth Champ and high schooler Ajee Wilson took on the pros and 1:59 runner and African Games silver medallist Fantu Magiso. Magiso was too good for Wilson here.

Event 7  Women 800 Meter Run
================================================================
       World: W 1:55.82  2002        Jolanda Ceplak, SLO        
    American: A 1:58.71  2002        Nicole Teter, Nike Farm Tea
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals 
================================================================
Finals                                                          
  1 Fantu Magiso                 Ethiopia               2:07.54 
  2 Ajee Wilson                  USA                    2:09.09 
  3 Stephanie Charnigo           USA                    2:09.39 
  4 Jessica Smith                Canada                 2:10.52 

Jesse Williams Starts Off 2012 Well

Jesse Williams was the best high jumper in the World in 2011 and the World Champ started 2012 with a win, 7 centimeters (2.75 inches) higher than his 2011 debut.

Event 4  Men High Jump
==========================================================================
 2.15,2.20,2.25,2.29,2.31                                                 
       World: W 2.43m  1989        Javier Sotomayor, CUB                  
    American: A 2.40m  1991        Hollis Conway, Nike Int'l              
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals           
==========================================================================
Finals                                                                    
  1 Jesse Williams               USA                      2.29m    7-06.00
     2.15 2.20 2.25 2.29 2.31                                             
        O   XO    O    O  XXX                                             
  2 Dusty Jonas                  USA                      2.25m    7-04.50
     2.15 2.20 2.25 2.29                                                  
        O    O    O  XXX                                                  
  3 Jaime Nieto                  USA                      2.20m    7-02.50
     2.15 2.20 2.25 2.29 2.31                                             
        O    O  XXP    P    X                                             
  4 Jim Dilling                  USA                      2.20m    7-02.50
     2.15 2.20 2.25                                                       
        O   XO  XXX       

High School MSG Record by Samantha Nadel in Girls Mile

Samantha Nadel dominated her teammate Brianna Nerud to win the Girls mile in a Madison Square Garden record 4:47.66. It was her second straight MSG win.

Event 5  Girls 1 Mile Run Invit HS
===============================================================
    American: A 4:38.50  1972        Debbie Heald, LaMirada,CA 
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals
===============================================================
Finals                                                         
  1 Samantha Nadel               North Shore NY         4:47.66
  2 Brianna Nerud                North Shore NY         4:54.65
  3 Dana Giordano                Bernardsville NJ       4:59.61
  4 Sara Sargent                 Pensbury-Fairles       5:01.91
  5 Marisa Ruskan                Bridgewater NJ         5:02.69
  6 Maddy Berksen                Classical -Provi       5:02.77
  7 Keelin Hollowood             Saratoga Springs NY    5:03.40
  8 Emily Waligurski             Onteora NY             5:03.55
  9 Sarah Jane Underwood         West Potomac - VA      5:03.65
 10 Taylor Driscoll              Saratoga Springs NY    5:05.84

In other action Jenn Suhr no heighted in the pole vault, Ryan Whiting won the shot, and Renny Quow beat Batman at 600. Results of everything not discussed above below.

Event 9  Women 500 Yard Dash
===============================================================
       World: W 1:00.61  2000        Jearl Miles Clark, USA    
    American: A 1:00.61  2000        Jearl Miles Clark, USA    
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals
===============================================================
Finals                                                         
  1 Keshia Baker                 USA                    1:03.74
  2 Fawn Dorr                    USA                    1:04.35
  3 Jasmine Chaney               USA                    1:05.90
  4 Christine Amertil            Bahamas                1:06.46


Event 6  Boys 1 Mile Run Invit HS
===============================================================
    American: A 3:59.86  2001        Alen Webb, Reston, VA     
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals
===============================================================
Finals                                                         
  1 Zavon Watkins                Liverpool NY           4:19.86
  2 Wesley Gallagher             Pembroke MA            4:20.01
  3 Nick Christensen             Peabody MA             4:20.23
  4 Dustin Wilson                Chestnut Hill -P       4:22.95
  5 Tom Awad                     Chaminade NY           4:25.06
  6 Mike Libruk                  Shaker NY              4:26.41
  7 Konrad Surkont               Stuyvesant NY          4:27.66
  8 Chris Cogliano               Bishop Guertin -       4:30.46
  9 Zach Cammer                  Walt Whitman -Hu       4:30.46
 10 Erik Holt                    Carmel NY              4:33.12


Event 3  Girls 4x400 Meter Relay CHSAA HS
===============================================================
    Team                                                 Finals
===============================================================
Finals                                                         
  1 St. John Villa                                      4:02.08
  2 St. Anthony's                                       4:03.05
  3 Notre Dame                                          4:09.83
  4 St. John the Baptist                                4:14.19
  5 The Mary Louis Academy                              4:15.79
  6 Archbishop Molly                                    4:18.18


Event 8  Boys 4x800 Meter Relay CHSAA HS
===============================================================
    Team                                                 Finals
===============================================================
Finals                                                         
  1 Kellenberg                                          8:07.40
  2 St. John the Baptist                                8:09.20
  3 St. Anthony's                                       8:09.66
  4 Xavier                                              8:10.09
  5 Fordham Prep                                        8:19.12
  6 Monsignor Farrell                                   8:20.58


Event 4  Men High Jump
==========================================================================
 2.15,2.20,2.25,2.29,2.31                                                 
       World: W 2.43m  1989        Javier Sotomayor, CUB                  
    American: A 2.40m  1991        Hollis Conway, Nike Int'l              
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals           
==========================================================================
Finals                                                                    
  1 Jesse Williams               USA                      2.29m    7-06.00
     2.15 2.20 2.25 2.29 2.31                                             
        O   XO    O    O  XXX                                             
  2 Dusty Jonas                  USA                      2.25m    7-04.50
     2.15 2.20 2.25 2.29                                                  
        O    O    O  XXX                                                  
  3 Jaime Nieto                  USA                      2.20m    7-02.50
     2.15 2.20 2.25 2.29 2.31                                             
        O    O  XXP    P    X                                             
  4 Jim Dilling                  USA                      2.20m    7-02.50
     2.15 2.20 2.25                                                       
        O   XO  XXX                                                       



Event 14  Men Shot Put
==========================================================================
       World: W 22.66m  1989        Randy Barnes, USA                     
    American: A 22.66m  1989        Randy Barnes, Mazda TC                
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals           
==========================================================================
Finals                                                                    
  1 Ryan Whiting                 USA                     21.16m   69-05.25
      20.06m  21.10m  21.16m  FOUL                                        
  2 Christian Cantwell           USA                     20.72m   67-11.75
      FOUL  FOUL  20.53m  20.72m                                          
  3 Adam Nelson                  USA                     20.68m   67-10.25
      19.92m  FOUL  20.68m  FOUL                                          
  4 Cory Martin                  USA                     19.55m   64-01.75
      FOUL  19.07m  19.42m  19.55m                                        


Event 11  Women Pole Vault
==========================================================================
 4.22,4.42,4.52,4.62,4.72                                                 
       World: W 5.00m  2009        Yelena Isinbaeva, RUS                  
    American: A 4.86m  2011        Jenn Suhr, adidas                      
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals           
==========================================================================
Finals                                                                    
  1 Jillian Schwartz             ISR                      4.52m   14-10.00
     4.22 4.42 4.52 4.62                                                  
        O   XO   XO  XXX                                                  
  2 Janice Keppler               USA                      4.42m   14-06.00
     4.22 4.42 4.52                                                       
        O    O  XXX                                                       
  3 Becky Holliday               USA                      4.42m   14-06.00
     4.22 4.42 4.52                                                       
      XXX    O  XXX                                                       
  4 Lacy Janson                  USA                      4.22m   13-10.00
     4.22 4.42                                                            
       XO  XXX                                                            
  5 Mary Saxer                   USA                      4.22m   13-10.00
     4.22 4.42                                                            
      XXO  XXX                                                            
 -- Jenn Suhr                    USA                         NH           
     4.22 4.42 4.52                                                       
        P    P  XXX

The Visa Championship Series continues next Saturday, Feb. 4, with the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston. Then it heads to the USA Track and Field Classic on Feb. 11 in Fayetteville, Ark., and concludes with the USA Indoor Championships on Feb. 25 and 26 in Albuquerque, N.M.

LRC: 2012 US Open Photo Gallery 

*Full Results  *Quotes

*NY Times: Williams Rules High Jump in New Meet at the Garden
*AP Recap of Millrose: Lolo Jones, Powell, Kiplagat Win

TV Reminder the Meet is on ESPN2 on Sunday 1/29 from 7-9pm Eastern

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