A Fan’s Guide To The 2013 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix

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By LetsRun.com
January 31, 2013

We think it’s hard to properly enjoy a track meet unless you know what you are watching. Thus we try to preview most of the major meets for US fans. Below we take a crack at previewing Saturday’s New Balance Indoor Grand Prix which will be shown live online on ESPN3 from 6-8 pm ET and on tape delay on ESPN2 on Sunday from  2-4 pm ET.

We preview the events in the order they are occurring so you can just print this up and use it as a program of sorts. Unfortunately, roughly half of fields for the pro events still have not been released by meet management to the public. Thankfully, we got them to give us info on all of the mid-d/distance events even if it’s not officially out yet.

The meet is sold out and we can see why as a few events are worth the price of admission alone. Under the motto of “save the best for last” the men’s 3000 will end the night and it has the makings of an epic clash. The Olympic 5000 silver medallist, Dejen Gebremeskel, versus America’s star, Galen Rupp, the Olympic 10k silver medallist. And they both might not win as the event also includes perhaps Ethiopia’s third king in the Gebrselassie – Bekele line of distance rulers as 18-year old Hagos Gebrhiwet with his 12:47 pb is racing.

The women’s 2-mile won’t have nearly the same type of win/loss drama but it’s worth watching as US high school phenom Mary Cain will almost certainly take down the US HS 2-mile record and she can always remember the time she raced arguably the greatest female distance runner in history – Tirunesh Dibaba – who might be running one of the last track races of her amazing career as she’s making her marthon debut in April.

The men’s mile with Matt Centrowitz should be a competitive affair plus fans will get to see Olympic champion and world record holder Aries Merritt in the hurdles (he’s pulled out with a leg cramp) and Olympic champion Jenn Suhr in the women’s pole vault.

TimeEvent
4:40PMMen’s Pole Vault
4:55PMWomen’s High Jump
5:00PMMen’s Masters Mile
5:10PMYouth Relay
5:20PMNew England vs New York – Girls’ 4 x 400m Relay
5:30PMNew England vs New York – Boys’ 4 x 800m Relay
5:54PMGirls’ Junior Mile
6:04PMMBTA Women’s 400m
6:12PMBoys’ Junior Mile
6:22PMWomen’s 60m
6:32PMMen’s 60m
6:35PMWomens’ Pole Vault
6:40PMNew Balance Women’s Mile
6:50PMMen’s Mile
7:00PMWomen’s 60m Hurdles
7:13PMPowerade Men’s 60m Hurdles
7:23PMWomen’s 800m
7:33PMWomen’s Two Mile
7:48PMNew Balance Men’s 3000m

Men’s Pole Vault

Fields haven’t been released yet. We will update when we get them.

They are out now and appear below. Sorry we don’t have time to find the stats due to their late release.

Athlete NameAffiliation
MARK HOLLISUSA
JORDAN SCOTTUSA
DUSTIN DELEOUSA
KIM YOO-SUKKOR
LEVI KELLERUSA

Women’s High Jump

Fields haven’t been released yet. We will update when we get them.

They are out now and appear below. Sorry we don’t have time to find the stats due to their late release.

Athlete NameAffiliation
BECKY CHRISTIANSENUSA
ALLISON BARWISEUSA
PRISCILLA FREDERICKUSA
SHANAY BRISCOEUSA
LIZ PATTERSONUSA

Men’s Masters Mile:

NameHometown/Club
Brad BartonOgden, UT
Jason CakourosHFC Striders
Chris ChisholmHartford TC
Lance ElliottEdina, MN
Jayme FishmanEliot TC
Chris LawrenceBAA
Kent LemmeGreater Springfield Harriers
Anselm LebourneMaplewood, NJ
Chris MagillBAA
Mark MayallNew Balance Boston
Titus MutindaTeam Run
Sandu RebenciucGreater Springfield Harriers
Andy SpauldingDirigo RC
Scott WeeksSyracuse Chargers

Youth Relay: New England vs New York – Girls’ 4 x 400m Relay

New YorkNew England
Villa BearsSouth Shore TC
Kell TCMansfield TC
TMLA TCKing Phillip TC
SJB Elite TCNeedham TC
Stanners TCUrsuline TC
Lexington TC

Boys 4 x 800 Relay: New England vs New York – Boys’ 4 x 800m

New YorkNew England
St. A’s TCLowell AC
Firebrids TCHingham TC
Flyers TCBrookline TC
Fidelis TCMarshfield TC
Knights TCBillerica TC
SJB Elite TCWellesley TC

Girl’s Junior Mile: Wesley Frazier Leads The Way

NameHigh SchoolHometown Comments
Annika GompersGann AcademyWaltham, MA9:59 3,000 meters; 4:40 1,500
meters, 14th in the 2 mile indoor and outdoor nationals.
Sarah GillespieNW Catholic HSHartford, CTCT State Record Holder in the 800m and 1000m indoor. 4:49.89 1600m, 2:51.31 1000m
Wesley FrazierRavenscroft HSRaleigh, NC 4:42 mile
Ryen FrazierRavenscroft HSRaleigh, NC 5:02-mile, 10:34-3200
Bethanie BrownWaterville HSWaterville, MENew England champ in 3200. 2:15 800, 4:50 1600, 10:29 2-mile pb.
Marissa RuskaBridgewater-Raritan HSBridgewater, NJ18th at Footlockers, 4:54 1600 pb.
Sara SargentPennsbury HSYardley, PA4:51 1600,  10:21 3200.
Katie LemboPenfield HSPenfield, NY 21st at Footlockers. 4:38 1500.
Keelin HollowoodSaratoga Springs HSSaratoga Springs, NY 4:33 1500/9:53 3k pbs.
Julie WilliamsTatnall HSWilmington, DE 2:12, 4:55 mile. Team won indoor and outdoor 4 x mile titles last year.
Julie McConvilleHingham HSHingham, MA5:04 mile, 10:27 2mile.
Sheridan WilburLa Salle AcademyNorth Smithfield, RI5:02 mile pb.

LRC Analysis: Wesley Frazier, who will be running for Duke next year, is the young woman to beat here. She ran 4:48 in December – a time which is better than most girls PBs and is the #2 time in the country behind Mary Cain.

We don’t follow the high school scene too closely but reached out to one of our favorite high school coaches and he wrote the following, “Wesley Frazier for the easy win. Frazier also has major big race experience with footlocker, nxn, brooks (won), dream mile, this meet last year, outdoor Nats as a soph (won).”

If you are looking for a wild-card in a tactical race, Gillespie might be your pick.

MBTA Women’s 400m

Fields haven’t been released yet. We will update when we get them.

Boys Mile: Henry Wynne Has Run 4:10 & Is The Favorite

NameHigh SchoolHometownComments
Michael O’DonnellMethuen HSMethuen, MA 1:55.25, 2:27.22 (US #1), 4:17.05
Henry WynneStaples HSWestport, CT400 = 49.7, 600 = 1:25.7, 800 = 1:52.4, 1600/1 mile = 4:10.35/ 4:11.59, 3200 = 9:39.76. UVA recruit.
James RandonMiddlesex HSNew Canaan, CT3:57.5 outdoors 1500 m, 8:35.9 indoor 3000 m.
Jonathan GreenSt. John HSBerlin, MA2 time FL finalist (22nd both years). Going to Gtown.
Trevor CrawleyCumberland HSCumberland, RI 8:42 3k pb. 38th at Footlockers.
Jay NavinSaratoga Springs HSSaratoga Springs, NY 4:18 indoors.
Jack HagoodTatnall HSWilmington, DE4:20.02 (Soph), 3200 – 9:26.53 (Soph).
Keith PeaseGreece-Athena HSRochester, NY2:33/4:18
Rob NapolitanoRed Bank Catholic HSBrick, NJ1:53/4:12
Jack StevensonStuyvesant HSNew York, NYRan 4:18 last week.
Garrett O’TooleMiddlesex School HSConcord, MA8:39 3000m indoors.
Bryce KelleyChariho Regional HSHope Valley, RI1:53.77  –  mile 4:15.6

LRC Analysis: UVA recruit Henry Wynne ran 4:10 last year which makes him the class of the field. Wynne 1st, Napolitano 2nd.

Women’s 60

Fields haven’t been released yet. We will update when we get them.

Men’s 60

Fields haven’t been released yet. We will update when we get them.

Women’s Pole Vault

Athlete NameAffiliationComments
JENN SUHRUSA Turned 30 and won Olympic gold in 2012. Aging isn’t so bad after all.
BECKY HOLLIDAYUSA Olympic Trials runner-up was 9th in London.
MARY SAXERUSAFormer Notre Dame vaulter was 4th at Trials last year.
APRIL STEINER-BENNETTUSA2008 Olympian was 5th at Trials last year.
JANICE KEPPLERUSAFormer E. Michigan vaulter was 9th at Trials last year.

Men’s Mile – Can Matt Centrowitz Get The Win?

This is an interesting field led by 2011 world championship bronze medallist Matt Centrowitz. Centro’s bronze in Daegu was a big surprise but he showed it was no fluke last year when he got 4th at the Olympics despite missing two months of the season with an injury. When is the last time the US has had an elite miler with back to back top 5 finishes at the world level? Email us if you know but it has to have been 20+ years.

Take a look at everyone in the field including Canada’s Taylor Milne – the man who when he’s old can say when he ran his pb of 3:36.00 he beat Galen Rupp by 7+ seconds in 2008 – a year that Rupp ran 27:36 and was top 15 at the Olympics. That’s a stat we throw out to you all so you can appreciate how remarkable Rupp’s improvement in speed has been over the last few years.

Take a look at all of the scheduled competitors and then we’ll break it down for you. We bolded in black the three guys we think are most likely to win the race. The three guys in red are interesting as they were all very strong as young guys but have struggled of late to regain their old form. The three guys in red are interesting as they were all very strong as young guys but have struggled of late to regain their old form. Could one of them pull a stunner? We’ll see.

Athlete NameAffiliation Notes
BRIAN GAGNONUSAFormer UCONN 800 runner ran 3:57.91 last year in Boston in Feb. PBs of 1:46.40/3:38.36. Made semis of US Olympic Trials in 1500. 2013 opener.
MATTHEW CENTROWITZUSA2011 world championship bronze stunned many but he backed that up with a 4th place Olympic showings after missing about 2 months with a knee injury. The real deal in our minds but he got smoked in Scotland last week when he ran 3:40.27 and the winner ran 3:38.37.
WILL LEERUSASavvy racer’s PB came at this meet in 2010 when he pushed Nick Willis to the line and ran 3:55.66 for 2nd. Great in real races – not time trials as shown by his 4 top 5 finishes at USAs in last 5 years – 4th in 2008, 5th in 2009, 3rd in 2010 and 5th in 2011.
TAYLOR MILNECAN2008 Canadian Olympian is now 31. Here is a stat for you. When he ran his pb of 3:36.00 back in 2008, he crushed Galen Rupp by 7+ seconds.
DORIAN ULREYUSAThe former Arkansas Razorback ran 3:35.23 back in 2009 at age 21 but now is best known for being Galen Rupp‘s training partner. He did a great job of rabbitting Rupp to his 3:50 last week and likely is in great shape. Only ran 4:04 in Seattle though on January 12th.
CRAIG HUFFERAUSAt age 20, in 2010, he ran a stellar 3:36.35. Then he stunned people by choosing Adams State for college but was injured in 2011. He’s now pro and training with Ron Warhurst’s group. Seems to be returning to good form as had 8:01 3k win in December.
HENOK LEGESSEETH24-year old ran 3:34 as a 19-year old but has struggled to regain that form. No outdoor results for 2010 or 2012. Was 7th at this meet in 2010 and 4th in 2011.
JAMES BREWERGBR24 year old has PBs of 3:37.17 and 3:54.80. Was 2nd in mile in New York last week in 4:00.77.
MATTHEW SCHERERUSA1:46.11 guy is one of the best rabbits in the world.
CRAIG MILLERUSAFormer Wisconsin Badger was 8th at Olympic Trials last year. Also ran his 3:#6.35 pb last year. Seems to be in great form as he dominated the mile in New York and one by nearly 4 seconds in 3:56.90.
JEFF SEEUSASee has the ‘A’ standard for this year’s world championships thanks to the 3:35.21 he ran prior ot getting 9th at the US Olympic Trials last year. Scratch that. The standard was 3:35.50 for London but is 3:35.00 for Moscow. Man, we bet he’s pissed by the IAAF’s whimsical nature.

Centrowitz was beaten handily last week in Scotland so we think a win here is far from a guarantee. Leer is a great racer who has done well in Boston before but it’s hard to know what to expect as this is his season opener. Former Badger Craig Miller was dominant in New York last week and will look to get a real quality win here, but the quality of competition in New York wasn’t up to task as only one guy broke 4. We’d be stunned in Centrowitz and Miller aren’t in the mix on this one and think Leer deserves more publicity than he generally gets.

See ran 3:35 last year but only has a 3:58 indoor career best so we don’t see him winning here.

LRC Prediction: Matt Centrowitz’s training partner, Galen Rupp, was a ton better last week in race # 2 of the year after he had a rust-buster. We think Centrowitz will be a ton better as well.

1) Centrowitz FTW

Women’s 60m Hurdles

Fields haven’t been released yet. We will update when we get them.

Powerade Men’s 60m Hurdles

Athlete NameAffiliationComments
TY AKINSUSA2007 NCAA 110h champ has 13.25 pb. Made finals of OTrials last year.
DOMINIC BERGERUSA13.44 last year.
JEAN-LOUIS BERTONYUSAFormer Sacred Heart hurder has 13.88 pb outdoors, 7.76 indoors.
JARRET EATONUSA2012 NCAA indoor champ for Syracuse. 7.49 pb is close to that of Merritt. Has run 7.70 this year.
DEVON HILLUSA7.55 indoor pb. 13.35 outdoors for former Miami Hurricane who was ACC champ last year.
ERIC KEDDOJAM 28 yr old has run 7.65 and 13.49.
ARIES MERRITTUSAOlympic champ and WR holder at 110h. Ran 7.63 last week. PB is 7.43a.
JEFF PORTERUSATalk about dreams coming true. 2007 NCAA champ ran PB in semis of OTs at 13.19 (previous pb was 13.26) and then again in finals with 13.08 to make Olympics last year in stunner.

LRC Analysis: Aries Merritt took hurdling to a level never seen before last year. World indoor gold, then an Olympic gold and then a 12.80 world record which knocked .09 off the old record. Does he keep going in 2013? We’ll find out. No we won’t as he’s pulled out with an injury. If he’s off his game, then look for Eaton or Porter to get a big win on national tv.

Women’s 800: A Tough One To Call

Athlete NameAffiliationComments
Melissa BishopCAN24-yr old Canadian ran 1:30.79 for 600 last week. Ran 1:59.80 last year and made the Olympics where she let her heat be won in 2:08.35.
Erica MooreUSAWon surprise world indoor bronze last year with 1:59.97 pb. *MoreErica Moore 800m at Worlds 
Chanelle PriceUSA2:01.61 in HS. Ran 2:00.15 last year after finishing up at Tennessee.
Jessica SmithCAN1:59.87 last year and Olympic semis.
Latavia ThomasUSARan 1:59.67 in 2011. 2008 NCAA indoor champ for LSU.
Phoebe WrightUSA1:58.22 in 2010. 5th at Olympic Trials last year.

LRC Analysis: A very evenly matched field in terms of PBs. Your guess is as good as any. We’ll go with the person who has the best PB in the field – Phoebe Wright as she seems to be in at least decent shape this year given the fact she’s run a 4:45 mile.

Women’s 2-Mile: Tirunesh Dibaba and Mary Cain

Athlete NameAffiliation
TIRUNESH DIBABAETHThe 3-time Olympic gold medallist won this race by 30-seconds last year in 9;21. Her pb is 9:12. Fans should enjoy this run as it might be one of her last track races ever as she’ll be making her marathon debut in London in April.
ASHLEY HIGGINSONUSA4th placer in OTrials steeple last year. 5th in this event last year in 9:54.
SARAH BROWNUSARan as Sarah Bowman for Tennesee and won 2009 NCAA indoors mile title. Beat Mary Cain and won mile in New York last week in 4:31.61. 6th at OTrials last year.
BRENDA MARTINEZUSASet 800 (1:59.14) and 1500 (4:06.96) pbs in 2012. 12th at OTrials.
SHEILA REIDCANTwo time NCAA champ in xc is hoping to focus on 1500 this year. Made Canadian Olympic team last year in 5000.
MARY CAINUSAShattered US high school record in mile last week. Set 3000 record on January 12th of 9:02.10 which converts to 9:45.45 according to John Kellogg. That would have placed her 2nd last year.
NICOLE SIFUENTESCANFormer Michigan runner ran 4:04 last year and made Olympic semis.
GOTYTOM GEBRESLASEETH2011 world youth champ was 2nd last year in 3000 in Boston in stellar 8:46 at age 17. Rest of year was a big struggle. Just turned 18 on Jan. 15th.
TARA ERDMANNUSAFinished 2nd to Mary Cain in 3000 a few weeks ago in 9:32 high.
MARDREA HYMANJAM 40 year old only ran 5:12 in road mile this year.

LRC Analysis: In terms of win/lose drama, we don’t expect the women’s 2-mile to be very interesting as it would be a stunner if 3-time Olympic gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba loses.

That being said, the race is one that might be noteworthy down the road for a number of reasons.

1) Mary Cain almost certainly will set the fastest 2-mile time run by a US high schooler. Her 3000 pb from earlier in January equates to a 9:45.47 2 mile according to John Kellogg and the best 2-mile ever run by a HSer was Melody Fairchild‘s 9:55.92 for 2 miles back in 1995 (The fastest 3,200 ever run came outdoors when Kim Mortensen ran 9:48.59).

2) If US HS 1,500 mile and 3000 record holder Mary Cain goes on to be a star, this race will be remembered as time she raced Olympic legend Tirunesha Dibaba at age 16.

3) This could be one of the last track races of the Dibaba’s career as she’s moving up to the marathon in April. Given the money of that event, if she takes off like Radcliffe, it’s hard to see her coming back to the track.

Dibaba’s pb is 9:12.60. She ran 9:21.60 here last year. That makes Defar’s WR of 8:58 seem out of this world.

Update: Our original preview failed to talk about the final 4 entrants. We’ved added in their info and note that it’s very likely that Cain isn’t the first teenager in the results.

New Balance Men’s 3000: Rupp vs. Gebremeskel and Gebrhiwet

Athlete NameAffiliation Notes
GALEN RUPPUSAThe Olympic silver medallist comes into this race full of confidence as he just ran 3:50.92 for the mile and his coach is raving about his fitness.
DEJEN GEBREMESKELETHRan 12:46 last year and got the Olympic 5000 silver and might have won gold had he not run an incredibly stupid race. Has run well in Boston before. Remember he beat Mo Farah in 2011 with one shoe on. Was 2nd last year to Caleb Ndiku.
HAGOS GEBRHIWETETHThis guy has run 12:47. And he’s still just 18 years young. Crazy. World record holder Kenenisa Bekele‘s 5000 pb at age 18 was 13:13. Bekele’s WR came two weeks before his 22nd bday. Got injured and was a non-factor in Olympic 5000 final. 4th last year in Boston.
GARRETT HEATHUSA 27 year old former Stanford runner had a great 2012 as he set PBs at 1500 (3:#6.03), mile (3:55.24), 3000 (7:45.80), and 5000 (13:27.07).
MILES BATTYUSALast February, Batty set the collegiate indoor mile record at 3:54.54. He also was in the indoor mile and DMR champ in 2011 for BYU. Has 7:49 3000 pb.
ANDY BADDELEYGBR2008 Olympic 1,500 finalist and 2012 Olymic 1,500 semifinalist is 30 now. Ran 7:39 for 3000 outdoors last year.
CIARAN O’LIONAIRDIRL24 year old was a 5000 and 10000 runner mainly at Florida State. His inability to score at 2011 NCAA meet really hurt FSU’s team title chances but he ended up being the opposite of Ryan Hall (in the sense that Hall was trying to be a 1,500 guy in college but should have been doing the 10,000) as later that summer he’d run 3:34.46 for 1,500.
TOM LANCASHIREGBRAlso competed at FSU collegiately. The now 27 year old ran 3:33.96 in 2010 – 3:38.00 last year. ONly ran 4:03 last week in New York. His 3000 pb is just 8:00.29 and seems way over-matched here as he’s an 800 (1:45.7 pb)/1500 guy.
MARK WIECZOREKUSA 800 runner was 7th at US Olympic trials in 1:45.62. A cult-hero on LetsRun as for a long-time he was unsponsored despite being very good. He raced in crazy singlets that look a lot like his twitter picture. We even ended up giving him a pair of Puma’s in our Puma FAAS challenge last year. Now gets support from Brooks.
DONN CABRALUSAFinest graduate of Princeton in 15+ years since Running With The Buffaloes author Chris Lear and LRC co-founder Robert Johnson graduated in 1996 (that’s a joke). Cabral ran 8:19 last year and was 8th at Olympics. His indoor 3000 pb is just 7:58 – look for that to fall here.
ERIK VAN INGENUSAFormer Binghamton runner has pbs of 3:38 and 7:56. Won mile last week in Seattle over Elijah Greer by nearly a second inin 4:00.80.

The 2013 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix is saving the best for last. The New Balance 3000 features the Olympic 10k silver medallist Galen Rupp, who undoubtedly will be getting nearly all of the non-Ethiopian crowd support, versus the 2012 Olympic 5k silver medallist Dejen Gebremeskel.

As good as Rupp is and as much as his speed has improved and as impressive as his 3:50.92 mile was last week, we’d still say on paper Gebremeskel would be considered the favorite here – assuming we knew he was in good shape. We know Rupp and USA fans will find that blasphemous but Gebremeskel is a 2-time medallist at 5000 whereas up until last year Rupp had never broken 13:06. Moreover, Rupp has only once ever won a 5000 race over a sub-13:00 guy. Admittedly that one time was VERY impressive as Rupp won the Olympic Trials 5000 in such impressive fashion we started to wonder if he could win Olympic 5000 gold. But at the Olympics, Rupp was no match for Gebremeskel at 5000 so while Rupp seems to be in the form of his life the facts are he likely needs to be in the form of his life to beat an in-form Gebremeskel.

But, and this is a big but, since we have no idea of the form of Gebremeskel, and given Rupp’s strong form, if you are betting with a friend, we think you should take Rupp.

But there is a possibility that neither of them wins. What?

Yes that’s right. The field also includes Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet who has run run 12:47 and is still just 18 years young. Considering that world record holder Kenenisa Bekele‘s 5000 pb at age 18 was 13:13, it seems possible that in a few years we’ll be looking at Gebrhiwet as the third heir in the Ethiopian 5,000 and 10,000 reign that began with Haile Gebrselassie – Gebrselassie, Bekele, Gebriwet.

We’ll likely find out very soon if this guy is on his way to being an all-time great or not. In fact, we’d go as far as to say if he wins this race in impressive fashion, watch out world. He was incredibly improved last year as he went from finishing 5th at the World Youth champs in 2011 in 7:45 and having a 14:04 5000 pb to running 12:47 in one year. If he just improves a tiny bit this year, no one in the world will be able to touch him.

We are hesitant to pick him though as this is the first indoor race of his life. Actually, he ran Boston last year and was only 4th in 7:44.08 (winning time 7:38.29). Then a month later in March, he was only 4th at the U-20 African XC champs. Given his less than stellar early year results last year, we are hesitant to pick him this year.

LRC Prediction: Rupp FTW.

Given the fact that we know Rupp’s in great shape and given the fact that his close at the Olympic Trials was gold-medal worthy, Rupp is our pick here but a third place showing wouldn’t shock us at all.

We’ll be paying close attention to Gebriwet to see if we think he’s THE FUTURE KING of distance running on the track.

More: Rupp vs Gebremeskel …- Agree with Brojos – GebreHiwot maybe the big threat -