May 1, 2015
Saturday, May 2, will be one of the best days on the 2015 sporting calendar. In addition to the 141st Kentucky Derby, the much-anticipated Floyd Mayweather, Jr.-Manny Pacquiao boxing match and a Game 7 in the epic first-round Spurs-Clippers series, there’s also day one of the World Relays and the vaunted Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford. Stock the fridges and prepare the guacamole because after about 6 p.m. ET, you shouldn’t be anywhere but on your couch (or at a bar) or at one of the events live.
We already ran through the distance events at the World Relays (men’s DMR; men’s 4×800; women’s DMR; women’s 800) but there are also several sprint races worth watching, including the men’s 4×100 and 4×200, which should serve as the first two installments of the Usain Bolt–Justin Gatlin rivalry in 2015. The best part about Saturday night is that track fans don’t need to choose between World Relays (live on Universal Sports from 7-10 p.m. ET) and Payton Jordan (live on Flopro) as the best races at Payton Jordan don’t start until after 10 p.m. ET. Now boxing fans, you will have to decide as Stanford and Mayweather-Pacquiao overlap. If you don’t get a recap of Stanford until middle of the day Sunday, we apologize. Some of the staff will be enjoying the post-race activities in the Bahamas, others may be watching the boxing, and Stanford is a little down this year.
We run through the marquee men’s races and tell you what to watch for at Stanford below. You can read our separate men’s preview here.
Women’s 3000 steeplechase (Section 1 at 8:34 p.m. ET)
IAAF World Championships standard: 9:44.00
Athletes entered with standard: none
Section 1 Timed Finals 1 Jessica Furlan Excel Athlet 2 Aisha Praught Nike Otc 3 Colleen Quigley Florida Stat 4 Amber Schultz Unattached 5 Marisa Howard Boise State 6 Beverly Ramos Puerto Rico 7 Lennie Waite Adidas Rogue 8 Sarah Pease Adidas/Rogue 9 Courtney Frerichs UMKC 10 Eva Krchova Hudson Elite 11 Ann Dunn Brooks 12 Genevieve Lalonde Speed River 13 Kimber Mattox Team Run Eug 14 Maria Bernard British Colu 15 Valeria Roffino G.S. Fiamme 16 Ingeborg Loevnes Oklahoma Sta
This race pits the last two NCAA runners-up in the event in Florida State’s Colleen Quigley and Boise State’s Marisa Howard. Quigley is in great shape, running a 3+ second PR in the 1500 two weeks ago (an NCAA-leading 4:11.61) so she should have a shot at lowering her 9:38.23 steeple pb on Saturday. Howard also ran a 1500 two weeks ago (4:21.05), though she’s more of a strength-oriented runner. Aisha Praught (9:34.69 pb, 4th at USAs last year) and Jessica Furlan (9:33.45 pb, two-time defending Canadian champ) are the top pros in the field and should contend for the win.
Women’s 800 (Section 1 at 9:17 p.m. ET)
IAAF World Championships standard: 2:01.00
Athletes entered with standard: none
Section 1 Timed Finals 2 Melissa Bishop NIKE 3 Jessica Smith NIKE 4 Natalja Piliusina Oklahoma Sta 5 Claudia Saunders Stanford 6 Chrishuna Williams Arkansas 7 Hanna Green Virginia Tec 8 Olicia Williams Baylor
Olicia Williams (3rd at NCAA indoors), Chrishuna Williams (4th) and Hanna Green (5th) will race in a rematch of NCAA indoors in section 1, where they’ll also face Canadian Olympians Melissa Bishop (1:59.70 last year) and Jessica Smith (1:59.86 pb). Why those two are running for free at Stanford in a meet that cost $20 to watch on the Internet instead of representing their country in the 4 x 800 at the World Relays (which Canada has entered) in front of an international tv audience is totally beyond us. If you know, please email us.
2013 NCAA 1500 champ Natalja Piliusina and Claudia Saunders, who anchored the Stanford 4×1500 to victory at last weekend’s Penn Relays, are also in the field.
Section 2 (9:13 p.m. ET) is just as good, with young pros Megan Malasarte (Brooks Beasts) and Megan Krumpoch (New Balance) taking on NCAA indoor runner-up Kaela Edwards of Oklahoma State.
Women’s 1500 (Section 1 at 10:34 p.m. ET)
IAAF World Championships standard: 4:06.50
Athletes entered with standard: none
Section 1 Timed Finals 1 Brie Felnagle Adidas 2 Cory McGee New Balance 3 Kate Van Buskirk Brooks 4 Heather Wilson Njnytc 5 Stephanie Charnigo Saucony 6 Lauren Johnson Nike Otc Eli 7 Trychelle Kingdom Uts Norths 8 Katrina Coogan Georgetown 9 Elise Cranny Stanford 10 Stephanie Schappert Villanova 11 Becca Addison Unattached 12 Angel Piccirillo Villanova
Two-time defending Canadian champion Kate Van Buskirk is the top returner from last year (she was second to Kate Grace in 4:08.73) and she faces a strong field including Brie Felnagle (3rd at USA indoors in the 2-mile, 4:05.64 1500 pb) and 2013 Team USA member Cory McGee, who ran 2:04.13 for 800 meters in her outdoor opener on April 3. We could also see a collegiate leader as several of the NCAA’s top women will be shooting for Colleen Quigley‘s 4:11.61, run at Mt. SAC two weeks ago. After focusing on the 3000 indoors, we’ll get to see World Juniors 4th-placer Elise Cranny of Stanford (4:10.95 pb) take a crack at a fast time and try to gain revenge on Villanova’s Stephanie Schappert, who outkicked her to win the DMR at Penn last weekend. Katrina Coogan of Georgetown (4:13.63 pb, 4th in NCAA indoor 3000) should also be capable of a fast time.
Section 2 (10:27 p.m. ET) includes 4:05 woman Violah Lagat (Bernard’s sister), new Bowerman TC pro Sammy Silva (formerly of New Mexico and Harvard) and Nike pro Phoebe Wright.
Women’s 5000 (Section 1 at 11:31 p.m. ET)
IAAF World Championships standard: 15:20.00
Athletes entered with standard: none
Section 1 Timed Finals 1 Maureen Koster Messerschmid 2 Sally Kipyego Nike Otc 3 Betsy Saina Nike 4 Katherine Mackey Brooks Beast 5 Emelia Gorecka NIKE 6 Abbey D'Agostino New Balance 7 Marielle Hall NIKE 8 Jessica O'Connell UCAC 9 Nikki Hamblin New Zealand 10 Angela Bizzarri Brooks Beast 11 Madeline Heiner Team Tempo A 12 Misaki Onishi Sekisui Kaga 13 Yuika Mori Yamada Denki 14 Rochelle Kanuho Hoka Naz Eli 15 Nicole Tully Hoka/NYAC 16 Erin Finn Michigan 17 Yuka Miyazaki Kyudenko 18 Emily Brichacek Melbourne Tr 19 Lauren Penney Oiselle/NJNY 20 Camille Buscomb New Balance 21 Jessica Tonn Stanford 22 Ashley Higginson Saucony Nj/N 23 Rachel Johnson Baylor 24 Dominique Scott Arkansas 25 Sammy Silva Nike
There’s something for everyone in this race. Two of the world’s top track runners will battle it out up front: Kenyan former NCAA stars Sally Kipyego (14:37 last year, #4 in the world) and Betsy Saina (14:39 last year, #5 in the world). No one else in the field has broken 15:00 so it’s likely that either Kipyego or Saina is your winner.
Several top American pros are entered, led by the Brooks Beasts’ Katie Mackey, who will look to threaten the 15:00 barrier after taking third here last year in 15:04. This will be Mackey’s first race since taking second in the mile at USA indoors in February. Looking to challenge her will be the top two collegians from the class of 2014, Abbey D’Agostino (formerly of Dartmouth, now sponsored by New Balance) and Marielle Hall (formerly of Texas, now Nike). Hall ran 15:24 at the Stanford Invitational two weeks ago and will try to get closer to her pb of 15:12.
D’Agostino will be looking for revenge on Hall, who upset her at NCAAs last year. Since that race, the seven-time NCAA champion has raced just twice (fourth at Mayor’s Cup cross country race in Boston in October and 9:00 in a mixed 3,000 indoors in Boston on January 3) as she has battled hip and sacroiliac joint injuries. D’Agostino (pb: 15:11) remains a huge talent and if she’s healthy, she’ll be a major threat to make the U.S. team at 5,000 this summer. Remember, she was just .19 of a second off making the Olympic team as a sophomore in college in 2012 and was sixth at USAs as a junior in 2013. To contend for the team in 2015, she needs to prove that she’s back to close to her pre-injury level. She can do that on Saturday.
This race also features several top collegians, notably Arkansas’ Dominique Scott, who has been on fire in 2015. Scott won the 3,000 at indoor NCAAs and anchored Arkansas’ victorious DMR squad; at the first Stanford meet, she ran an NCAA-leading 32:11 in the 10,000. The 5,000 is probably her best distance outdoors, so look for her pb (15:42) and possibly Kate Avery‘s NCAA leader (15:25.63) to fall. She’ll have some solid NCAA competition in Baylor’s Rachel Johnson (NCAA indoor 5,000 runner-up), Stanford’s Jessica Tonn and Michigan’s Erin Finn, who is healthy again after missing the end of the XC season and all of indoors.
Section 2 (10:54 p.m. ET) also holds some intrigue as Canadian Olympian Sheila Reid is back in action after missing all of 2014 (she ran a 4:37 mile at Penn last week). She’ll face high schooler/Nike pro Alexa Efraimson (5,000 debut) plus Chelsea Reilly (15:10 pb) and Brit Stephanie Twell (14:54 pb).
Kim McDonald Memorial Women’s 10,000 (Section 1 at 12:08 a.m)
IAAF World Championships standard: 32:00.00
Athletes entered with standard: Kasumi Nishihara, Yuka Takashima, Rina Yamazaki
IAAF Olympic standard: 32:15.00
Athletes entered with standard: Lanni Marchant
Section 1 Timed Finals 1 Neely Spence Gracey Unattached 2 Rachel Hannah U of Toronto 3 Betsy Saina NIKE 4 Buze Diriba Adidas 5 Obare Doricah Hitachi 6 Marisol Guadalupe Romero Ros Mexico-FMAA 7 Jip Vastenburg Global Sport 8 Kasumi Nishihara Yamada Denki 9 Yuka Takashima Denso 10 Rina Yamazaki Panasonic 11 Natosha Rogers New Balance 12 Emily Infeld Nike 13 Eri Makikawa Suzuki 14 Alexi Pappas Oregon Track 15 Alisha Williams adidas Rocky 16 Misaki Katou Kyudenko 17 Lanni Marchant Asics/Canada 18 Yuki Mitsunobu Denso 19 Emma Bates Boise State 20 Veronica Inglese C.S. Esercit 21 Shiho Takechi Yamada Denki 22 Natasha Wodak Praire Inn H 23 Kellyn Taylor Hoka Naz Eli 24 Kara Lubieniecki Skechers Per 25 Carolina Tabares Guerrero Porvenir-Col 26 Kristin Swisher Saucony 27 Kate Avery Iona 28 Meghan Peyton Saucony/Team 29 Susan Kuijken Global Sport 30 Emily Sisson Providence
The top woman will likely be a foreigner as Ethiopian Buze Diriba (14:50 5,000 pb) makes her 10,000 track pb alongside sub-32:00 Japanese runners Kasumi Nishihara, Yuka Takashima, and Rina Yamazaki (Saina may be rabbiting as she told RunnerSpace she’s running the 5,000 at Stanford).
Alisha Williams (32:03 pb) leads the American professional field, which also includes Neely Spence Gracey, Alexi Pappas and Emily Infeld; the latter two will be making their 10,000 track debuts. In fact, Infeld hasn’t raced on the track at all since September 2013, though that’s more recently than Natosha Rogers, also entered here, who has raced just once since her breakout runner-up finish at the 2012 Olympic Trials. Can Rogers, who turns 24 next week and has a 31:59 pb, get back on track at Stanford?
The most interesting storyline is the matchup between a trio of NCAA champs: Boise State’s Emma Bates, Iona’s Kate Avery and Providence’s Emily Sisson. The goal is Lisa Uhl‘s 31:18.07 collegiate record, a mark Bates has set her sights on since the end of cross country. However, Bates, the defending NCAA 10,000 champ, only ran 15:32 for 5,000 at the first Stanford meet (still a PR), and since 31:18 is two 15:39s back-to-back, her chances of breaking Uhl’s record seem slim (though Uhl’s PR was only 15:39 when she ran 31:18). Avery, who ran 15:25 at the first Stanford meet, may have a slightly better chance, but it still seems like a tough ask, even from someone who was 4th in the 10,000 at last year’s Commonwealth Games. Of the three, Sisson has the best shot to do it. She soloed a 15:12 5,000 indoors in February and was runner-up at the U.S. 12K Champs on the road last fall. She also ran 31:57 on the roads at the Tufts 10K for Women last fall, a better time than either Bates (32:20) or Avery (32:33) has managed on the track. Running 31:18 will be difficult, but Sisson has the best shot at it. When we spoke to Providence coach Ray Treacy a few weeks ago at the Boston Marathon, he was very high on Sisson.