Friday Night At The Races: Mary Cain Takes On Chanelle Price And Maggie Vessey At 800

May 29, 2014

Yesterday we previewed the men’s 10,000m at the 2014 Prefontaine Classic, which is the highlight race on Friday night with Galen Rupp going after the American record.

The other big race on Friday night is the women’s 800m with Mary Cain dropping down in distance to take on world indoor champion Chanelle Price and resurgent US star Maggie Vessey. There is also a “B” men’s 800m.

All times are Pacific Time.

Mary cain Prefontaine Mary Cain Went Sub 2:00 for the First Time Last Year at Pre

Women’s 800, Fast Section (7:50 p.m. Friday): Mary Cain Vs. Maggie Vessey Vs. Chanelle Price

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The big news here is the outdoor debut of high school phenom Mary Cain. Cain won the 1500 at USA indoors, but didn’t run at world indoors due to a calf injury. She was initially entered in the 1500 at Pre on Saturday, but coach Alberto Salazar switched her into the 800 on Friday instead. Salazar likely wanted to ease Cain into her outdoor season. The women’s 1500 is loaded while the 800 (a non-Diamond League event) has some fast runners but lacks the star power of the 1500. There will be a high schooler in the stacked women’s 1500m, but it will be Elise Cranny, not Mary Cain.

Cain’s great success at 800m was at Pre last year where she became the first American high schooler under 2:00.Opening that fast will be a tall order, and we expect this race to be sub 2:00.

The other top entrants are world indoor champ Chanelle Price, world indoor silver medalist Angelika Cichocka of Poland (first race outdoors) and Americans Maggie Vessey and Geena Lara, the latter of whom teamed up with Price as half of the U.S.’s gold-medal winning 4×800 team at the World Relays last weekend. Price has been on fire in 2014, breaking 2:00 for the first time in Doha and claiming gold at world indoors and the World Relays, so there is no questioning her fitness.

Vessey was sixth at worlds in 2011 but was just 8th at the Olympic trials in 2012 and couldn’t break 2:01 last season. However, the Vessey of 2011 appears to be back. She was just 0.05 seconds behind Brenda Martinez at the Oxy 800 two weeks ago (1:59.91 to 1:59.96) and Martinez ran great last weekend to anchor the U.S. 4×800 and 4×1500 teams to gold and silver, respectively. Vessey has talent (she was #2 in the world in 2009 at 1:57.84). However, she’s 32 now, so how low she can go in 2014.

Predictions: Maggie Vessey looked great at Occidental. Expect a battle between her and Price, but we like Vessey for the upset in this one. Cain and Cichocka will have their hands full opening up here.

On the boards: Mary Cain Prediction Thread

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Chanelle Price 22.08.1990 USA 1:59.75 1:59.75 14 indoor world champion broke 2:00 at Doha DL. Ran leadoff leg on 4×800 gold medal team at World Relays.
Maggie Vessey 23.12.1981 USA 1:57.84 1:59.96 32-year-old couldn’t break 2:01 in ’13 but already sub-2:00 this year
Angelika Cichocka 15.03.1988 POL 2:00.20 2:00.37 Silver at world indoors on home soil. Outdoor opener.
Melissa Bishop 05.08.1988 CAN 1:59.76 2:00.73 Reigning Canadian champ was third at Oxy 800
Geena Lara 18.01.1987 USA 1:59.24 2:01.10 2 Worlds teams at 800; 2-time NCAA champ at Michigan. Part of 4×800 gold medal team at World Relays.
Jessica Smith 11.10.1989 CAN 1:59.86 2:01.42 Canadian indoor champ was 2nd at American Track League meet in Austin last week
Mary Cain 03.05.1996 USA 1:59.51 2:08.51 2-time defending U.S. indoor champ hasn’t raced since skipping world indoors w/calf injury. Set 800 PB here last year.
Heather Kampf 19.01.1987 USA 2:00.04 2:01.87 Made first US team at world indoors but fell in the final and was later DQ’d for a lane violation. Silver at World Relays 4×1500.
Christina Rodgers 04.08.1988 USA 2:01.75 2:01.75 Former Arizona runner set PB at Oxy
Jemma Simpson 10.02.1984 GBR 1:58.74 2:03.70 4:07 1500 at Oxy; didn’t make 1500 final at world indoors
Shannon Leinert 30.06.1987 USA 2:01.65 2:02.20 Rabbit


Women’s 800, Slow Section (7:30 p.m. Friday)

Wang Chunu 17.01.1995 CHN 2:01.34 N/A
Selma Kajan 30.07.1991 AUS 2:02.13 2:02.13
Justine Fedronic 11.05.1991 FRA 2:00.97 2:02.38
Rachel Francois 14.11.1992 CAN 2:02.18 2:02.18
Diane Cummins 19.01.1974 CAN 1:58.39 2:02.36
Phoebe Wright 30.08.1988 USA 1:58.22 2:02.32
Gabe Grunewald 25.07.1986 USA 2:01.38 N/A
Jessica Judd 07.01.1995 GBR 1:59.85 N/A
Helen Crofts 28.05.1990 CAN 2:01.35 2:02.10
Hillary Holt 24.04.1992 USA 2:06.59 2:06.59
Dana Mecke (rabbit) 20.09.1987 USA 2:04.22 2:04.22


There also is a “B” men’s 800m on Friday night. (The men’s 800m on Saturday is mouth watering with world champion David Rudisha racing World #1 Mo Aman vs Olympic silver medallist Nijel Amos.)

In the field are:
Job Kinyor (1:43.76)
Michael Rimmer (1:43.89)
Tyler Mulder (1:44.34)
Erik Sowinski (1:44.58)
Charles Jock (1:44.67)
Elijah Greer (1:45.04)
Michael Rutt (1:45.08)

Sowinski looks to turn his 800 season around. He started off super fast at Mt. Sac and has been running mediocre since.

Friday Program
18:45 Preview Program
19:00 Women Discus Throw
19:03 Women Long Jump West Outer Runway
19:30 Women 800m USATF High Performance, Section I *
19:40 Men 800m International *
19:50 Women 800m USATF High Performance, Section II *
20:10 Men Shot Put West Ring
21:17 Men 10,000 m *

The Friday night events will be streamed live on the internet.

Editor’s note: The PreClassic has been advertising on this week. They had no say on this article and it is not part of any advertising package.


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