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