A Fan's Guide To The 2012 Millrose Games

By LetsRun.com
February 10, 2012
Update: Sanya Richards in the 400m added to this article

While we personally are sad this is the first Millrose Games not at Madison Square Garden (and perhaps more importantly for the sport, the first Millrose in fives year not on live tv (we're not sure the last time Millrose wasn't on any tv at all like this one)), the meet definitely should entertain, particularly for the mid-d and distance fans (the LRC audience). Plus with the US Open at MSG, and the USATF Classic in Arkansas back on the calendar, in many ways, this is now an extra meet on the pro calendar.

1,500 fans will enjoy the fact that US female 1,500 stars Shannon Rowbury and Jenny Simpson will clash in the 1,500 while world #1 in the 1,500 Morgan Uceny will battle Phoebe Wright, Maggie Vessey and Ethiopia's Fantu Magiso at 800. On the men's side, former US 1,500 star Bernard Lagat will try to reclaim his American 5,000 record in a race where the collegiate record will be under assault, as we'll find out if Lawi Lalang is world class just yet. US 1,500 star Matt Centrowitz will battle a talented group of collegians in the Wanamaker mile. (We must point out the best indoor mile in the US in arguably a decade is going on in Arkansas this week). Plus a good men's 60 hurdles and a world record attempt by LaShawn Merritt in the men's 500.

One of the biggest problem with being a track fan is that it takes a ton of time. Well, we are here to help. Below we break down the key events for you from the 2012 Millrose Games (all of the mid-d and distance events for you plus the men's 60 hurdles and men's 500) so you can just log onto your computer and watch the significant races from 8-10 pm ET. The non-collegiate portion of the meet actually starts at 4 pm Saturday, butw ho has six hours to devote to track and the big events don't start until 8 pm. For a full schedule of events, click here.

It's definitely a meet that's worthy logging onto You Tube for. We'll also be embedding it on LetsRun.com

*Millrose Schedule *Youtube Live Broadcast

Saturday 8 PM - NYRR Wanamaker Women's Metric Mile: US 1,500m Medallists Jenny Simpson And Shannon Rowbury Battle

(Editor's Note: A person in red is a likely race winner or someone really worth paying attention to)

The Field:
1 Infeld, Maggie - New York AC (U.S.) - 25-year-old former Georgetown runner has PRs of 2:03/4:10.
2 Sifuentes, Nicole - Saucony (Canada) - 25-year-old former Michigan runner has PRs of 2:02/4:06 and is Canadian Olympic hopeful at 1,500. Last year she ran 2:03/4:08. Ran 2:03.35 last week at New Balance which isn't too far off her PR (2:02.63).
3 Maloy, Liz - New Balance (U.S.) - With zero fanfare, the 26-year-old former Gtown runner now has the Olympic "A" standard at 5,000 thanks to her 15:15.34 PR from last July and thanks to the fact that the IAAF recently lowered it to 15:20. Ran 8:48 3k at New Balance. 1,500 PR is 4:09. Finished 3rd - just ahead of Centrowitz in mile at New Balance Games at Armory on Jan. 21 in 4:40.32.
4 Follett, Katie -  Brooks (U.S.) - Former Washington runner ran 4:07 last year in first year as a pro. Ran 10-second PR in Washington on January 28th at 9:05.
5 Van Dalen, Lucy - Stony Brook (New Zealand) - NCAA runner-up last year has a PR of 4:11.59. The collegiate record is 4:10.20, set in 1985 by Clemson's Tina Krebs. Prepped with a 2:42 1k last week.
6 Centrowitz, Lauren - New Balance (U.S.) - Sister of Matt, ran 4:10 two years ago but only 4:14 last year. She's 25 and needs to have a breakthrough year. Finished 4th in mile at New Balance Games at Armory on Jan. 21 in 4:40.60.
7 Simpson, Jenny - New Balance (U.S.) - World 1,500 champ went out in 4:39 for 1,600 in 3k in Boston last weekend before fading badly over final 800 to 8:58 (her PR is 8:42). Last year in her lone Armory appearance, she looked amazing and won by 2 + seconds in mile in 4:28.60.
8 Rowbury, Shannon - Nike (U.S.) - 2009 World Championships bronze medallist beat Simpson late with a 8:55.06 last weekend in Boston (her PR is 8:47).
9 Macias, Isabel - adidas (Spain) - 27-year-old has PR of 4:06.50. Ran 4:13 all alone last weekend.
10 Muncan, Marina - New Balance (Serbia) - Former Villanova runner is running out of time if she's ever going to make the Olympics. At age 29, her PR is 4:08.02 but she only ran 4:14.97 last year. Was a well-beaten 6th at New Balance Games mile three weeks ago in 4:42. She's the rabbit here.


All Eyes Will Be On Simpson

LRC Analysis: On paper, this race is really about one thing. World Championships gold medallist Jenny Simpson versus World Championships bronze medallist Shannon Rowbury. Rowbury technically beat Simpson last week at 3k in Boston, but in reality that race will have little bearing on this one, as Simpson went out really hard and died last week. Despite last week's stumble, Simpson deserves to be considered the favorite. She's the world champion after all, has the better PR and she blew away the competition last year in the Armory. But it will be interesting to see how they stack up against each other early in the year as later both hope to be battling each other for an Olympic spot and even later after that both hope to be battling for an Olympic medal.

Could anyone else spoil the party? We doubt it. Spain's Isabel Macias is the best bet perhaps to do it, as she ran 4:06.50 last year and seems to be in good form, so she could be in the mix. Canada's Nicole Sifuentes, who also has a 4:06 PR, ran pretty well last week at 2:03. But the odds of a 4:06 person beating a pair of 3:59-4:00 types aren't great. Think about it, would you expect a top college guy who is at best a 3:56-7 guy to beat one of the world's best - say a 3:50 miler?

Another longshot is that Stony Brook's Lucy Van Dalen gets the collegiate record. But if the pace is hot, remember the record is 4:10.20 indoors.

LRC Prediction: 1) Barringer 2) Rowbury

8:10 PM - Mel Sheppard Men's 500m Dash: LaShawn Merritt Goes For The World Record And Sub-60

The Field:
1 Mutekanga, Julius CPTC New Balance (Uganda)
2 Livingston, Strymar Christopher Columbus, NY (U.S.)
3 Hurtault, Erison CPTC New Balance (Dominica)
4 Courtney, Michael U.S.
5 Merritt, LaShawn Nike (U.S.) -
2008 Olympic champ.
6 Anderson, Jeshua Nike (U.S.) -
3-time NCAA champion in 400h.

LRC Analysis: We've long wanted to see someone break 60.00 in the 500. We very well may get to see it on Saturday, as 2008 Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt is taking aim at the world record od 60.17 set by Ken Lowery in 1987. $25,000 is on the line for a new record, so Merritt has plenty of motivation. Considering Lowery's 400 PR was 45.40 and Merritt's is 43.75 (44.93 indoors), we expect Merritt to get the record.

Quite honestly, we think the $25,000 bonus should ony be paid out if Merritt breaks 60.00. But please note, if Merritt breaks 60.00, he won't be the first human being to break 60.00 for 500 according to the people at speedendurance.com. At the 1986 and 1987 NCAA champs, American Roddie Haley (Arkansas star) twice broke 60.00 for 500. In fact, he ran 59.82 on a 10-laps-to-the-mile indoor track. Now neither mark was ever ratified as a world record. Once because the track didn't have a rail, which people didn't think was necessary because if you stepped over the inside, you'd fall off the track. The second time, the staggers were incorrectly drawn for the heats but apparently not the final - but for some reason the track statisticians DQed the time from the final as well. Want to read more about Haley: Check this out from speedendurance.com: What is the Indoor 500m WR?

LRC Prediction: Merritt sub-60!

8:20 PM - Men's 5,000m Run: Bernard Lagat Goes For American Record And Tries To Hold Off Collegiate Sensation Lawi Lalang

The Field:
1 Korir, Leonard - Iona (Kenya) - Ran 13:26.01 indoors last year to claim NCAA indoor crown.
2 Baddeley, Andy - New Balance (Great Britain) - Olympic finalist from 2008 is motivated to get back in top form as he still needs "A" standard in 1,500 after disappointing 2011 (3:36.47 SB). Seems to be running well so far in 2011, as the 3:49 miler won New Balance Games mile at Armory in 3:57 three weeks ago. Then ran 7:47 for 3,000 lasts week in Boson. His 5,000 PR is 13:20.
3 Sambu, Stephen - Arizona (Kenya) - 13:28.48 only got him third at NCAA indoors last year. Lost to Derrick with a 7:51 3k two weeks ago.
4 Derrick, Chris - Stanford (U.S.) - Senior ran 7:50.18 two weeks ago,  defeating Sambu in the process.. 13:29.74 PR.
5 Asmeron, Bolota - Saucony (U.S.) - 13:15 guy hasn't broken 13:30 since '09. 33 years old. Ran 13:51 two weeks ago. That would get him lapped here., but he and Bruce are the rabbits.
6 True, Ben - Saucony (U.S.) - Seasonal debut for former Dartmouth runner, who ran 13:24 last year.
7 Cheserek, Edward - St. Benedict's Prep, NJ (Kenya) - The high schooler has a PR of 14:02. Look for him to crush the national HS record of 14:06.78.
8 Tyner, Justin - WCAP (U.S.) - Former Air Force runner was 5th at NCAA indoors last year. 7:53.91 PR. Last last weekend in 8:02 in Boston.
9 Lagat, Bernard - Nike (U.S.)
- 37-year-old has indoor PR of 13:11.50, which Rupp edged by last year at 13:11.44.
10 Lalang, Lawi - Arizona (Kenya) - 20-year-old opened indoor season with a 3:55.09 mile. Can he hang with Lagat?
11 Barrios, Juan Luis - Nike (Mexico) - Mexican who was 7th at 2008 Olympics in 5,000 likes racing in New York. Showed great range in 2011, as he ran 13:09.81 PR in New York in June and then 2:14:10 at New York City Marathon in November.
12 Bruce, Ben (U.S.) - Steeplechaser ran 8:19 last year over barriers but he's overmatched at this level when there aren't barriers. Flat 3,000 PR is just 7:56.86, which wouldn't even make NCAAs in this day and age. Ran 7:59 last week in Boston. He's a rabbit here.


Lagat Wants His AR Back

LRC Analysis: This race is being billed as an American record attempt by Bernard Lagat and a collegiate record attempt by Kenyans Lawi Lalang and Stephen Sambu of Arizona and Leonard Korir of Iona.

But after Lalang's 3:55 mile win a few weeks ago, we here at LetsRun.com started to wonder just how good is Lawi Lalang might be right now. In our minds, speculation that he could medal at the London Games isn't out of the question. Thus we are really going to be watching this race to see how Lalang stacks up against Lagat. People may think we're crazy, but a Lalang win wouldn't stun us at all.

Barring terrible rabbiting, we can't imagine Galen Rupp's collegiate record of 13:18.12 from 2009 (that mark was the American record at the time, as it beat Doug Padilla's 27-year-old mark of 13:20.55) will survive. Look for that to definitely go down. The question is will Rupp's American record of 13:11.44 survive? It might because it's not easy to go that fast without some help. When Rupp ran 13:11.44, he was alternating laps with teammate Mo Farah. Will Lagat and Lalang work together after the rabbits fall off? We think so, as they share the same coach.

We'll find out.

Oh yeah. Lukas Verzbicas' indoor high school 5,000 record of 14:06.78 is almost certain to fall as well to Edward Cheserek, who ran 14:02 outdoors last year.

LRC Prediction: 1) Lalang 2) Lagat - Both under 13:10.
(Note: Some of us at LRC think any talk of Lalang medalling or beating Lagat is crazy)

8:42 PM - New Balance High School Girls' Mile

The Field (Times are 2012 times):
1 Nadel, Samantha - North Shore, NY 4:46.11
2 Cain, Mary - Bronxville, NY 4:48.98
3 Margey, Kelsey Friends Academy, NY 4:49.03
4 Moye, Megan - Cosby, VA 4:49.36
5 Paul, Rachel - Sachem East, NY 4:52.95
6 Chase, Sophie - Lake Braddock, VA 4:55.79
7 Batzel, Audrey Ocean Lakes, VA 4:58.06
8 Nerud, Brianna - North Shore, NY 4:58.45
9 Gerlach, Tori - Pennridge, PA 4:58.67
10 Sargent, Sara - Pennsbury, PA 4:59.07
11 Panisse, Alexis - Benjamin Cardozo, NY 5:00.87
12 Seykora, Maria - Notre Dame, PA 5:01.09

LRC Analysis: MSG record holder Samantha Nadel already has the Armory record as well from earlier in the year. The question is can she keep it going and possibly get Emily Lipari's New York State indoor record of 4:42.64. Can she keep it going?

9:02 PM - Mushin Men's 60m Hurdles: Oliver Versus Trammell, Round II

The Field:
1 Ryan Wilson (USA)
- 2003 NCAA champ is a 13.02 guy but only ran 13.35 last year. 31 years old.
2 Richard Phillips (Jamaica) - 29 year-old was 7th at 2008 Olympic Games but only 6th (last) at US Open this year.
3 Lehann Fourie (RSA)
- South African went to Nebraska - shows you how loaded the US is at the hurdles, as his 13.44 PR is nothing by US standards, but well under the Olympic A of 13.52. Finished .04 behind Oliver last week in Boston.
4 David Oliver (USA) - American record holder at 110h had world-leading times indoors in the 60m hurdles and outdoors in the 110m hurdles in 2011. Was 2nd at US Open last week to Terrence Trammel at 55m. Should do better at 60m than 55m.
5 Terrence Trammell (USA) - 5-time Olympic or World Championships silver medallist at 110s won the US Open over many of these guys two weeks ago. He's a great indoor hurdler as shown by the two world titles to his name and is the man to beat. Didn't make Worlds last year and is motivated by that and by the fact that it appears he's without a shoe sponsor at age 33.
6 Aries Merritt (USA) - 13.09 man was 5th at Worlds last year. Finished .04 behind Oliver last week at US Open and .02 behind him in Boston.
7 Omo Osaghae (USA) - Big 12 champ last year for Texas Tech fell at NCAAs and didn't make finals at USAs. PR, though, is 13.23. Only .02 behind Oliver last week at US Open and .07 behind him at NBIG. Would be an Olympian in nearly every country but the US.
8. Dembele Moussa (Senegal) - Community college runner is totally overmatched with 7.86 SB.

LRC Analysis: Trammell, Oliver and Merritt met at MSG two weeks ago and Trammel won then. He's the best indoor hurdler of the three, so we expect him to win again.

9:14 PM - Larry Byrne New Balance Boys' High School Mile

The Field (Times Are 2012 Times):
1 Watkins, Zavon Liverpool, NY 4:14.52
2 Marsella, Mike Chariho, RI 4:15.27
3 Willig, Ned Great Valley, PA 4:15.61
4 Delago, Christian Shaker, NY 4:16.00
5 Price, Everett New Providence, NJ 4:16.22
6 Surkont, Konrad Stuyvessant, NY 4:16.31
7 Lewandowski, Stephen Mountain Lakes, NJ 4:16.66
8 McIe, Adam Brewster, NY 4:17.10
9 Holt, Eric Carmel, NY 4:17.42
10 Gorman, Tim CBA, NJ 4:17.67
11 Napolitano, Rob Red Bank Catholic, NJ 4:19.67
12 Rog, Connor Fairfield Prep, CT 4:20.08

LRC Analysis: Penn State signee Zavon Watkins (1:49.70 last year) won in MSG two weeks ago. But last week, he was beaten by Brown signee Ned Willig (1:51.11 800 this year, 4:11.99 1,600 last year) in a super-fast 1,000 before they both were DQed for cutting too early. Who wins in the mile and can either one break 4:10?

9:28 PM - Women's 800m Run : Ethiopia's Magiso Versus Americans Morgan Uceny, Maggie Vessey And Phoebe Wright

The Field:
1 Goldfarb, Aly - Puma (Israel)
2 Wallace, Lea - Nike (U.S.) - Seasonal debut for former Sacramento State star who has pbs of 2:02/4:10.
3 Thomas, LaTavia - Nike (U.S.) - 23-year-old former LSU runner really had a great end of the season after bowing out in the semis at USAs. To little fanfare, she won her last six 800s of the year and lowered her PR from 2:01.40  to 1:59.67 in a single race. Not counting Morgan Uceny, she's one of 7 potential US Olympians with the A standard in the 800. 2nd at the New Balance Games at the Armory in 2:02.71 on January 21st.
4 Wilson, Ajee - Neptune, NJ (U.S.) - High school star was dead last in Boston last week in 2:07.
5 Uceny, Morgan - adidas (U.S.) - World #1 at 1,500 returns to her old stomping grounds of 800, where she has a 1:58.37 PR. Last week in Boston, her final 50 meters in the 1k showed why she's moved up to the 1,500. Still ran 2:38.
6 Wright, Phoebe - Nike (U.S.) - Winner in Armory 3-weeks ago in 2:02.32 but will need to run better to beat this field. 6th in Boston in 1k last week in 2:40. PB of 1:58.22
7 Vessey, Maggie - New Balance (U.S.) - 2011 World Championships finalist (6th) came on late to get win in Boston last week in 2:02.37, which is good considering she had some problems last fall. She has had a great last 3 years as she's broken 2:00 in all three. Her indoor PR came at this meet last year when she was third (2:01.87), but that was her third race of the year and she went from 2:09 to 2:03 to 2:01, so she's maybe a bit rusty here.
8 Magiso, Fantu (Ethiopia) - 19-year-old Ethiopian was the class of the field at the US Open meet at MSG two weeks ago. In our minds, she really also blew away the field last week in Boston even though she finished third, as she had to run an extra 12+ meters. Last year, she was a World Championships semi-finalist, where she ran 1:59:17, Ethiopia's national record (and national junior record) - proving that Ethiopia isn't known for it's middle-distance prowess. That may start to change with her and Mohammed Aman on the men's side.

LRC Analysis: On paper, this should come down to be a battle between 2011 world #1 at 1,500 Morgan Uceny (1:58.37 PR), 1:58.22 performer Phoebe Wright and Ethiopian teen sensation Fantu Magiso (1:59.17 PR).

In our minds, it's easy to pick the winner - Magiso. She looked incredible in winning the US Open two weeks ago. Had she not run an extra 12 + meters and gone out in the equivalent of 26-flat last week, she would have destroyed everyone in the 800 at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. Magiso seems to be the real deal and it wouldn't shock us to see her dip under 2:00 here.

LRC Prediction:
 1) Magiso 2) Wright 3) Uceny

9:49 PM - NYRR Wanamaker Mile : Centrowitz Takes On Many Of The Best Collegians
1 Batty, Miles - BYU (U.S.) - 24-year-old lowered 3,000 PR from 8:02 to 7:49 a few weeks ago. Batty ran 3:55.79 last year indoors.
2 O'Hare, Chris - Tulsa (Great Britain) - Last year, running for Tulsa, he ran 3:56.49. Ran 2:20.99 for 1k last weekend.
3 Van Ingen, Erik - Binghamton (U.S.) - Ran 3:57.11 on this weekend last year.
4 Heath, Garrett - Saucony (U.S.) - 25-year-old Stanford grad lowered his 3,000 PR from 7:50 to 7:45 last week. Last year, he was in 3:55 indoor shape, so he should be very competitive in this field. PhD candidate at the Stanford Technology Ventures Program in the Management Science and Engineering Department.
5 Merber, Kyle - Columbia (U.S.) - After missing 2011, the Ivy Leaguer is looking to get back to form he showed in 2010 when he ran 3:58.52. Rojo is cheering for him, as this guy is a Princeton slayer.
6 Boylan-Pett, Liam - NJ-NY TC (U.S.) - Former Columbia runner ran 3:59.40 for 5th at New Balance Games two weeks ago, but didn't break 4:00 in Boston.
7 Kisorio, Silas - Oklahoma Christian (Kenya) - 3:56.64 last winter.
8 Centrowitz, Matthew - Nike (U.S.) - Bronze medallist got thumped last week, but people need to remember that was a 4-second PR (7:46.19).
9 Milne, Taylor - New Balance (Canada) - Only ran 4:01 three weeks ago at the Armory but improved rapidly to a 3:56.40 2nd-place showing in Boston last weekend.
10 Olmedo, Manuel - Nike (Spain) - 28-year-old ran 3:34.44 last year and 3:40.31 last week.
11 McCarthy, David - Providence (Ireland) - 23-year-old ran 3:55.75 two weeks ago in Boston in a college meet.
12 Levins, Cam - Southern Utah (Canada)
- Can we officially say we love this guy? He ran a 3k/5k double two weeks ago in Washington, a 3k last weekend in Boston and now a mile. 3:59.80 PR.
13 Wieczorek, Mark (U.S.) - 27-year-old 1:46.00 guy is the rabbit. Race directors are hoping for sub-3:54 winning time and sub-3:55 1st collegiate time.

LRC Analysis: The first Millrose Games at the Armory will conclude with the Wanamaker mile at the end of the meet as is tradition. The only problem is that to us the Wanamker mile is a race at the Garden full of the world's best milers. Neither the location nor the description "world's best milers" applies here.

On the same day that Kenyan star Silas Kiplagat is racing the mile in Arkansas against future Kenyan star Caleb Ndiku, Leo Manzano and others, here 2011 World Championships bronze medallist Matt Centrowitz will try to beat a strong field of basically collegiate stars. Now this is a field of VERY good collegiate milers, but you get our point.

In our minds, BYU senior Miles Batty is the collegian to beat. Two weeks ago, he ran a 13-second PR in the 3,000 in Washington (7:49.58), meaning he's in similar fitness to Centro, who ran 7:46.19 last weekend in Boston. Batty ran 3:55.79 indoors last year, so it's possible he could challenge German Fernandez's collegiate record of 3:55.02. Providence's David McCarthy ran 3:55.75 two weeks ago in Boston, so he also could challenge the CR.

In terms of pros that Centrowitz needs to worry about, Garrett Heath leads the list. He lowered his 3,000 PR last week in Boston to 7:45 and beat Centrowitz in the process. Heath ran a 3:55 indoor mile last year, so he should be in the hunt for the win. Canada's Taylor Milne ran 3:56.40 last week at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix as well so he can't be discounted.

In the end, we don't think Centrowiz is all that sharp right now. Only twice in his life has he dipped under 4:00 in the indoor mile. We think that Milne's 3:56 last week was about as good as he can do right now, so we don't think he'll win.

LRC Prediction: A collegian wins it - We guess we'll go with Batty. 1) Batty 2) Heath 3) McCarthy

Women's 400m: Sanya Richards is Back How Fast Can She Go?
Sanya Richards has the world's #1 time at 200m right now and world's #2 at 400m (51.45). She appears to have put her injury troubles behind her and finding her old form at the right time. Can she go sub 51 here?

Women's 400-meter Dash

2  Dorr, Fawn                   Brooks (U.S.)
3  Lloyd, Shereefa              adidas (Jamaica)
4  Hastings, Natasha            Under Armour (U.S.)
5  Richards-Ross, Sanya         Nike (U.S.)
6  Wineberg, Mary               New York AC (U.S.)

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