Alysia Montano, Ajee Wilson Advance with Ease in Women’s 600; Charlene Lipsey Leads 1000 Qualifiers

February 28, 2015

BOSTON — 2014 800 world leader Ajee Wilson looked good in rolling to a 1:26.56 600 today (fastest among all qualifiers) as new mother Alysia Montaño returned to USAs for the first time since she ran while eight months pregnant last June in Sacramento. In the 1000, adidas’ Charlene Lipsey, who is being coached by former 800 stud Khadevis Robinson, led all qualifiers with a 2:40.79. High school phenom Alexa Efraimson also made it through, running 2:43.91 for second in heat 2.

Alysia Montano and her daughter were a big hit on TV

Alysia Montano and her daughter were a big hit on TV

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The 1000 heats didn’t offer much action (although Treniere Moser was surprising third in her heat behind Efraimoson)  — nine of the eleven women who competed today advanced to tomorrow’s final — but the 600s gave a glimpse into where Montaño is at right now. Montaño led her entire heat wire-to-wire and looked strong doing it, but minutes later, Wilson looked even better in going wire-to-wire in the next heat, bettering Montaño’s 1:27.47 time by almost a second. There were no major casualties in the women’s 600 — Wilson and Montaño were the two big names in this one — but Mckayla Fricker ended up a hard-luck loser despite winning her heat. Fricker ran 1:28.24 to win heat one, but because there were only six qualifiers from four heats, USATF decided to provide no auto spots and take the top six women on time. Fricker missed by just .05 seconds on time so she must feel a little disappointed that she won’t get to run in tomorrow’s final.

Results below, followed by video interviews. If you want complete results, separated by heat with lap-by-lap splits, click here. For race replays, click here (600) or here (1000).

600 results

Place Name Affiliation Time Heat (Pl)
1 Ajee’ Wilson adidas 1:26.56 q 3 (1)
2 Kendra Chambers Unattached 1:26.73 q 3 (2)
3 Alysia Montaño Asics / N Y A C 1:27.47 q 2 (1)
4 Phoebe Wright Nike 1:27.81 q 2 (2)
5 Megan Malasarte Brooks 1:27.87 q 2 (3)
6 Bethany Praska Unattached 1:28.19 q 4 (1)
7 Mckayla Fricker Unattached 1:28.24 1 (1)
8 Shannon Leinert Brooks/Speed Fac 1:28.25 2 (4)
9 Megan Krumpoch New Balance 1:28.31 1 (2)
10 LaTavia Thomas Unattached 1:28.76 1 (3)
11 Nevada Morrison Unattached 1:30.00 4 (2)
12 BreAnna Smith Speed Factory 1:30.92 3 (3)
13 Stephanie Herrick CPTC New Balance 1:32.06 4 (3)
14 Ena Leufroy The Janes El 1:32.13 1 (4)
15 Samantha Levin Gateway City 1:32.48 4 (4)
16 Lauren Henkel New York AC 1:34.21 3 (4)
Angee Henry Unattached DNF 2

1000 results

Place Name Affiliation Time Heat (Pl)
1 Charlene Lipsey adidas 2:40.79 Q 1 (1)
2 Lauren Wallace Oiselle / SRA El 2:41.23 Q 1 (2)
3 Stephanie Brown Nike 2:41.50 q 1 (3)
4 Geena Lara Unattached 2:42.66 q 1 (4)
5 Stephanie Charnigo N J N Y TC 2:43.72 Q 2 (1)
6 Alexa Efraimson Nike 2:43.91 Q 2 (2)
7 Treniere Moser Nike / Nike Or P 2:44.14 q 2 (3)
8 Elizabeth Staker Embry-Riddle 2:44.38 q 1 (5)
9 Emily Lipari Boston A A 2:47.27 q 2 (4)
10 Stephanie Herrick CPTC New Balance 2:47.64 2 (5)
11 Meggie Sullivan CPTC New Balance 2:50.21 2 (6)
Erin Koch CPTC New Balance DNS 1

600 interviews:  *Photo Gallery Here

Alysia Montaño couldn’t be more excited to get back to racing.

Today’s 600 prelim wasn’t Montaño’s first race since she gave birth to her daughter, Linnea, in August (Montaño cradled Linnea in her arms during her post-race interview with NBC Sports Network) — that came in Seattle two weeks ago. But race #2 was a much bigger stage — the 600 at the U.S. Championships, rather than a 400 in a college meet — and by winning her heat in her usual front-running style (1:27.47) Montaño signaled that she is back in 2015.

Flashing a wide smile with the trademark flower in her hair, Montaño spoke excitedly in the mixed zone after the race about how great it was to be back on the big stage, this time with her daughter in attendance.

Montaño’s initial plan was to skip the indoor season, but she had been feeling good in training and with a 600 on the schedule at USAs, the opportunity was too good to pass up. She said her legs felt good — noting that running during her pregnancy allowed her to come back more quickly than she otherwise would have — and that she feels like she’s “ready to roll,” noting that her 400 from two weeks ago (53.86) is similar to what she ran at the same time last year.

Ajee Wilson isn’t surprised by Montaño’s quick return post-pregnancy.

After winning her 600 heat today, Wilson said when she saw Montaño run while pregnant at USAs last summer that it was clear that Montaño really loves the sport:

1000 interviews:

Alexa Efraimson has been working on her speed indoors.

Efraimson was sick at the end of January which prevented her from getting an endurance base sufficient for the mile or 2-mile. She’s also been focusing on improving her speed this indoor season, thus the decision to run the 1000 at USAs.

This was just her third indoor race of the season (after a couple of low-key victories in Idaho and Seattle) but Efraimson was pleased with the result as her main goal was just to make the final, which she accomplished.

Charlene Lipsey, who has run a 2:02.05 indoor pb this season, training under Khadevis Robinson for the first time now at LSU – and Robinson is officially retired.

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