Women’s 800: Teen Phenom Ajee’ Wilson Wins Over Former Teen Phenom Chanelle Price in 2014 World Leading Time

Price Made The Race, But Wilson Had Just Enough Left To Defend Her Indoor National Title As Two Americans Move To 1-2 On 2014 World List

by LetsRun.com
February 23, 2014

Albuquerque, NM – It wasn’t too hard to predict what was going to happen in the women’s 800 final today at the 2014 US Indoor National Championships. Coming into the meet there were three women who were the favorites and after yesterday’s first round, it was pretty clear how those three women would race in the final.

Those three were Chanelle Price, Ajee’ Wilson and Molly Beckwith. Price said she wasn’t afraid to lead and if someone beat her they were going to do it running fast and Beckwith talked about following the top 2. That’s basically how it went as Price led the first 780 meters before just being nipped by Wilson at the line, 2:00.43 to 2:00.48 and Beckwith was a distant third with 2:01.87.

Ajee Wilson Edges Chanelle Price Ajee Wilson Edges Chanelle Price (click for photo gallery)

The Race

As described above, this race started with Price going right to the front and trying to lead it wire-to-wire. She took the field through a 28.15 first lap, was 58.01 at the 400 and 1:29.04 at 600. Wilson sat right on her in second the entire way and Beckwith started in 4th behind Bethany Praska, but moved up to third during the 3rd lap and was right on Wilson’s heels going into the last 100m. Price had gapped Wilson, and even coming off the final turn it looked as if Price would hold on for victory as the 5 + meter gap still existed, but Wilson closed the gap very suddenly in the last 50 meters. In the end, it was clear Price tying up as her last 200 was just 31.45 to Wilson’s 31.01. Like Price, Beckwith faded a bit in the last 100m closing her last lap 31.98.

Quick takes, results and interviews are below.

Quick Thought #1: Price really deserved to win this one. She led the entire race right from the gun and set a blistering pace that almost got her the win as she only lost by .05. Props to her for a gutsy race. It’s good to see Price still competing well after some disappointment in recent years after having been a teen phenom herself like Wilson.

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QT#2: This race truly was quick as using the NCAA-altitude conversion in Albuquerque, both Wilson and Price were under 2-minutes as Wilson’s 2:00.43 converts to 1:59.76 and Price’s mark would be worth a 1:59.81. For Wilson, even without the conversion, that is a new indoor PR has her previous best was 2:01.81 from Millrose. Price had run 2:01.91 indoors so this was also an outright indoor PR for her and with the altitude conversion it’s even better than her outdoor mark of 2:00.15. Price has never gone sub-2, but might have today if this race was at sea level.

Even without the altitude conversions, Price and Wilson now, believe it or not, are 1-2 in the world for 2014.

QT#3: Our praise for Price shouldn’t take away from Wilson. At only 19-years old, Wilson has won her second national title. That’s very impressive and the key to the 800 is to measure your effort properly and she did that perfectly. On her race strategy Wilson said she knew Price would take the lead her coach had told her to just stay within striking distance. She was waiting to the last minute to see if Price would die off and said, “I always have faith in my kick, but I was a little intimidated coming into the last 100 because [Price] was still going just as strong.”

QT#4: At the end, Beckwith was not in the fight for the Worlds spot, but this has definitely been a successful comeback season after being out with two knee surgeries last year. This was actually an indoor PR for her as well as she ran 2:01.87 which converts to a 2:01.19 at sea level and her previous indoor best was 2:02.13 (her outdoor best is 1:59.12).

QT#5: After the race we spoke a bit to 5th placer Phoebe Wright, who won this meet in 2010. She’s been taking her season slow only racing twice before this meet as she’s switched programs and now trains with the (Brooks) Beasts Track Club in Seattle and said that today was only the second quarter she’s done under 60 this year.

We were interested to talk to her a bit about her social media presence this year as her blog has become pretty popular and she says she gets about 50,000 visitors a month on it. She said it was actually Chris Derrick that suggested she start one up. In light of yesterday’s DQ controversy in the women’s 3,000 we were curious to ask her about a particular tweet which she was made to take down. Wright is a Nike athlete, but has tweeted in defense of Gabe Grunewald (see here and here) and apparently crossed some kind of line. We didn’t ask her to repeat what the tweet said, but we did ask why she was forced to remove it and she said “somebody important” called her agent and her agent called her about taking it down.

*Full Lap-By-Lap Results Here

Place Athlete Time 200m 400m 600m >>
1 Ajee’ Wilson
2:00.43 28.41

Rnk: 2
Rnk: 2   
Rnk: 2   
2 Chanelle Price
Speed Factory Athletics
2:00.48 28.15

Rnk: 1
Rnk: 1   
Rnk: 1   
3 Molly Beckwith
2:01.87 28.58

Rnk: 4
Rnk: 4   
Rnk: 3   ↑ 1
4 Bethany Praska
2:03.35 28.44

Rnk: 3
Rnk: 3   
Rnk: 4   ↓ 1
5 Phoebe Wright
2:05.60 28.73

Rnk: 5
Rnk: 5   
Rnk: 5   
6 Stephanie Charnigo
New Jersey New York Track Club
2:05.88 28.80

Rnk: 6
Rnk: 6   
Rnk: 6   


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*Race Photo Gallery
*Race Video Here


LRC Women’s 800 Prelims: Wilson, Beckwith And Price Go Wire-To-Wire The big three looked great here setting up what should be a hard-fought final on Sunday. If you missed our preview, it’s here.

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