2015 adidas Grand Prix: David Rudisha Is Back, Usain Bolt Is In Trouble, Ajee Wilson Is Dominant And American Boris Berian Has Turned The US 800 Ranks Upside Down
David Rudisha is back, America’s best 800 ranks are in flux with former 1:48 man Boris Berian on top, Usain Bolt looks like he’s in trouble and Ajee Wilson is looking like she can win gold in Beijing.
June 13, 2015
NEW YORK, NY — World Record holders David Rudisha and Usain Bolt both got victories here today at the 2015 adidas Grand Prix but Bolt’s victory was extremely narrow and generated way more questions than it answered. Ajee Wilson showed she is a gold medal threat at 800 and American Boris Berian arrived on the world scene at 800m.
We breakdown the meet for you below, except for the men’s 5,000, which is recapped here: LRC Ben True Becomes The First American Diamond League 5,000 Winner
Women’s 800: Ajee Wilson is totally dominant as her terrific season continues
Wilson once again showed that she’s on a completely different level from every other American 800 runner as she controlled the race and crushed the competition over the final 100, winning in 1:58.83. The pace was quick early (57.19 for the rabbit at 400 with Wilson close behind) and Wilson kept pressing as she ran unchallenged in the lead over the second lap as she led onto the backstretch with the wind at her back. Coming off the final turn, Wilson Chanelle Price was the only one within striking distance and Wilson powered away from her to cruise to a 1:58.83 victory. 2007 world champ Janeth Jepkosgei of Kenya closed well to take second in 1:59.37, while Price hung on for third in a new pb of 1:59.47. Brenda Martinez, the 2013 world bronze medalist, was never a factor and finished just fifth in 2:00.33.
Qtake #1: Ajee Wilson is America’s Best Hope for Distance Gold (Along with Jenny Simpson)
Eunice Sum edged Wilson earlier this year in Wilson’s only loss, but she showed again today she is one of the best 800m runners in the world who rarely has a bad race.
Don’t let the time deceive you, this was a dominant impressive win, as it was windy on Randall’s Island causing slow times in all the sprints.
Post-Race interview with Wilson:
Post-Race interview with Price:
Post-Race Interview With Treniere Moser:
800 Metres - Women Pts 1 Wilson , Ajee USA 1:58.83 4 2 Busienei , Janeth Jepkosgei KEN 1:59.37 2 3 Price , Chanelle USA 1:59.47 1 4 Beckwith-Ludlow , Molly USA 1:59.93 5 Martinez , Brenda USA 2:00.33 6 Sharp , Lynsey GBR 2:00.37 7 Moser , Treniere USA 2:00.42 8 Meadows , Jennifer GBR 2:00.55 9 Lipsey , Charlene USA 2:00.60 10 Yarigo , Noélie BEN 2:00.97 11 McDonald , Kimarra JAM 2:02.38 12 Lagat , Viola KEN 2:03.26 Hargrove , Monica USA DNF
Men’s 800: David Rudisha is back; American Boris Berian rips a 1:43.84
After injury concerns following his DNF in Ostrava on May 26, David Rudisha showed that he’s not only healthy, but fit as well as he ran an impressive 1:43.58 from the front to win in New York for the fourth straight year. Rudisha running 1:43 in windy conditions was somewhat surprising given his season to this point, but “Rudisha runs 1:43” doesn’t rank as a shocking headline at all.
Behind Rudisha the American results were pretty surprising. Boris Berian, yes Boris Berian was the top American in 1:43.89, Matt Centrowitz had a big pb and went sub 1:45 for the first time in his career (1:44.62, previous pb of 1:45.86), Robby Andrews struggled in the last 100, Duane Solomon dropped out and Andrew Wheating was way back.
“Boris Berian runs 1:43” isn’t something we thought we’d be writing today. The 22-year-old former Adams State runner, who now trains under coach Carlos Handler (Brenda Martinez’ husband) with the Big Bear Track Club, skipped the 1:44s entirely as his PR coming in was 1:45.30. Amazingly, Berian’s PR was 1:48.89 at the start of the year, so he’s now dropped five seconds off his PR in two months.
Rudisha won this race in similar fashion to how Ajee Wilson won the women’s 800 earlier in the meet. He ran slightly behind rabbit Ryan Martin through 400 (50.10) before starting to push during the second lap. Just before the bell, Robby Andrews was in good position on Rudisha’s shoulder and even though Berian moved past him into second at 400, he still looked set for a strong finish. But Andrews fell back in the field on the backstretch as Rudisha started to string out the field. Berian was surprisingly hanging tough and with 100 to go, Rudisha led Berian and France’s 1:42 man Pierre-Ambroise Bosse. Rudisha looked strong as he crossed the line in first, with Berian winning the battle for second over Bosse, 1:43.84 to 1:43.88.
Duane Solomon, running in the middle of the pack at the bell, stepped off the track with 300 to go and wound up a DNF.
Quick Take #1: This was a very good sign for David Rudisha
Going in, we mentioned in our preview that there was some uncertainty about Rudisha’s current fitness given he hadn’t finished a race in almost three months. Rudisha’s 1:43.58 — just .02 off Mo Aman’s world leader — was a great sign, especially given the windy conditions in New York.
Rudisha still isn’t back to his peak form of 2012 — that version wouldn’t have been so close to Berian and Bosse — but this was a convincing win and the time suggests he’s right at the level of Aman and Nijel Amos right now — if not a little ahead.
The next test for Rudisha will be a race against Aman or Amos, which will hopefully come before Worlds in August. Asked about his recovery from the Ostrava injury Rudisha said it’s “not bad” as the massage work he’s done has helped a lot. He said it’s “almost there”, although at the start he felt like he couldn’t push off as hard as he normally would.
Quick Take #2: Welcome to the spotlight, Boris Berian
The 22-year-old is currently unsigned and it’s a good thing he didn’t sign a contract before today as his value will skyrocket now that he’s run 1:43.84 (he ran in a New Balance kit, but that was only because Brenda Martinez gave him one to wear). The men’s 800 has been an event very much in flux in 2015 as Duane Solomon still hasn’t finished an 800 (he DNF’ed today) and Nick Symmonds has yet to regain his 2013 form as his best 800 is just 1:46.37, which is tied for 15th on the U.S. list. Those two men have accounted for the last seven U.S. titles; Khadevis Robinson was the last non-Solomon/Symmonds winner in 2007. It looked like the 800 at USAs was going to be anyone’s race.
That is, until Berian blitzed a 1:43.84 in New York today, the fastest time by an American since Symmonds’ 1:43.56 in Zurich in August 2013. He’s now a commanding first on the U.S. list in 2015, .88 of a second ahead of #2 Matthew Centrowitz. But Centrowitz and #3 Leo Manzano are both going to be running the 1500 at USAs, which means Berian is 1.56 seconds ahead of the next-fastest American in 2015, Charles Jock (1:45.40). For context, Jock is closer to the #20 guy on the list, Brandon Johnson (1:46.90) than he is to Berian.
Berian did have the benefit of following Rudisha, who has led many a runner to a PR, but it should be remembered that there was a lot of wind on the homestretch, which slowed the time. 1:43.84 — however you run it — is very, very fast.
Berian believe it or not now has to be considered the favorite at USAs. He’s tied for 9th on the all-time U.S. list and the only other active guys to break 1:44 in their careers — Symmonds, Solomon and Johnson — aren’t close to that shape. Berian is in 1:43 shape right now and with USAs only 12 days away, it’s hard to see anyone getting close to that level between now and then. That doesn’t make Berian a lock for the title — he’s inexperienced in big races and the 800 can always produce unpredictable results. But he has a better case for the win than anyone right now, and that includes Symmonds and Solomon.
We have a good interview with Berian below who was obviously very happy with his big PR. He and his coach knew he was in good shape and ready for at least a 1:44-low race. Normally he likes to lead, but with Rudisha in the race he knew he’d have the perfect rabbit.
If you’re wondering where he was the last couple years, Berian actually didn’t race any 800s at all in 2013 as he was academically ineligible at Adams State. He then decided to leave school and just focus on running. While an education is important, you can’t argue with his results.
Quick Take #3: What now for Robby Andrews?
The good news: this was Andrews’ fastest 800 since 2012 and was very good for the first 650. The bad news: he only ended up sixth, and fourth among Americans. Andrews certainly would have wanted to be further up in the field, but it seems based on this evidence that he should run the 800 at USAs (although he didn’t commit one way or the other in his post-race interview). Right now, it’s unclear if his 3:57.15 mile will get him into USAs, and even if he runs, it will be hard to make the team — he just lost to two 1500 guys today. The 800 is a lot less predictable and a lot fewer guys are running well right now. He has a better shot of finishing top-three in the 800 than beating one of Centro, Leo or Ben Blankenship.
Andrews’ result today was also a little better than it looks on paper. He did not run his typical “come from behind” in the last 200 strategy which he is known for. As he says in his interview below, he “went for it” and stayed right on David Rudisha’s shoulder trying to give himself a shot to win if Rudisha was off his game. He admitted this was too aggressive a start for him, but says his fitness is great and he’s very confident going into USAs.
Quick Take #4: Another Poor Race For Andrew Wheating
Andrew Wheating ran poorly for the second time this week as he followed up his 1:49.72 7th place finish in Canada on Monday with a 1:47.75 here as the last finisher. Wheating says he’s “missing the last 200m of his race” and doesn’t know why. Coming in he felt ready to do something, but then didn’t have anything left at the end. He said he was sick before the Canada meet so that might have played a role.
Asked about the 1500 or the 800 at USAs Wheating said the “logical choice” was the 1500 so he was leaning towards that, but not 100% decided. He has ran better at that distance this year with a 3:38 in March in Australia and 3:39 at the Hoka One One Distance meet a month ago. He didn’t run great though at the Pre Classic and considering Duane Solomon and Nick Symmonds aren’t running too well right now, maybe he’d be better off in the 800.
Wheating used to be one of the brightest distance hopes. The portion of the LRC crew watching this race on TV from NCAAs forgot he was in the field as he was never a factor. He has to find some magic by USAs.
800 Metres - Men Pts 1 Rudisha , David Lekuta KEN 1:43.58 4 2 Berian , Boris USA 1:43.84 2 3 Bosse , Pierre-Ambroise FRA 1:43.88 1 4 Centrowitz , Matthew USA 1:44.62 5 Manzano , Leonel USA 1:45.24 6 Andrews , Robby USA 1:45.98 7 English , Mark IRL 1:46.12 8 Rutt , Michael USA 1:46.83 9 Wheating , Andrew USA 1:47.75 Martin , Ryan USA DNF Solomon , Duane USA DNF
Messageboard talk: Centro 1:44 800 is a mistake. Wrong direction
3000 Steeplechase: Ayalew breaks the weak field early and cruises to win
Ayalew, the 2014 world #1, made a break on the second lap of the race and quickly had a lead of 35 meters with five laps to go. She came through 1k in 3:05.36 but running alone, she slowed down to 3:10.63 for the second kilometer. Fortunately for her, the chase pack didn’t gain on her at all; in fact, her lead grew as the chasers struggled to make up the deficit due to the sunny, hot conditions (82 degrees).
By the bell, the only question to be settled was who would finish second. The chase pack was down to six at that point, with Americans Ashley Higginson and Aisha Praught and Australian Genevieve LaCaze all in contention.
Higginson made a big push over the final lap and put a decent dent into Ayalew’s lead, but the deficit was too much to overcome. Ayalew took the win in 9:25.26, the slowest winning time on the DL circuit since this meet in 2013, while Higginson ran 9:31.32 for second. That time was only four seconds off her PR — not bad given the conditions.
Quick Thought #1: This field was totally subpar from a Diamond League perspective.
DL points leader Virgnia Nyambura was a scratch and there only ended up being one African in the race. Considering that the women’s steeple is one of the weakest events in all of track and field in terms of depth, that’s not a good thing. Coming in, only 10 women on the year had broken 9:30 and only two of them were entered here.
One would think that Americans like Emma Coburn (no steeples this year) or Stephanie Garcia (#7 on the year so far, 9:27.92) might have raced here but they passed.
We’re not fans that every DL meet has to basically have half of the events. Some locations aren’t suited for certain events. With the poor distance running weather, people don’t want to race in NY often and it showed. We’d rather the DL save the money and get everyone to run in another race.
Quick Thought #2: 9:31 For Higginson in these conditions is pretty good.
Her pb is 9:27 so 9:31 is a good sign she’s in great form and should be able to pb at USAs.
Here’s a post-race interview with Higginson:
Here’s a post-race interview with Bridget Franek:
Here’s a post-race interview with Genevieve LaCaze:
3000 Metres Steeplechase - Women Pts 1 Ayalew , Hiwot ETH 9:25.26 4 2 Higginson , Ashley USA 9:31.32 2 3 Kudzelich , Sviatlana BLR 9:31.70 1 4 LaCaze , Genevieve AUS 9:35.17 5 Lalonde , Geneviève CAN 9:35.69 6 Franek , Bridget USA 9:36.88 7 Praught , Aisha USA 9:39.19 8 Bush , Nicole USA 9:44.68 9 Bell , Rolanda PAN 9:47.16 10 Stowe , Rebeka USA 9:55.12 11 Claude-Boxberger , Ophélie FRA 10:00.06 12 Fougberg , Charlotta SWE 10:07.08 Nganga , Virginia Nyambura KEN DNS
Boys Dream Mile: Grant Fisher repeats
Sub-4:00 miler and two-time Foot Locker champ Grant Fisher added a second Dream Mile title to his ever-growing resume, kicking away from the field over the final 250 to win in 4:01.73. The race went out at a fast but manageable pace of 61.51 seconds for the first 400 behind rabbit Myles Marshall. At 800 (2:02.28), Fisher moved to the front with Mikey Brannigan in second. Once Marshall dropped out at 900, Andrew Hunter (4th at Foot Lockers) passed Fisher to move into the lead and the pace slowed slightly, with a 62.57 penultimate lap.
Hunter continued to press until 250 to go, when Fisher moved to the front and launched into his kick. Hunter and Brannigan battled for position behind Fisher on the final turn and Brannigan made contact, causing Hunter to momentarily lose his balance. The three were all still close with 100 to go, but Fisher was growing his lead with every stride and cruised to the win in 4:01.73. Hunter (4:02.36) and Brannigan (4:03.18) both set PRs in second and third.
Watch out for Hunter, who is currently a junior, next year. He ran only marginally slower than Fisher did in this race last year and faster than Matthew Maton (4:03.23), both of whom wound up breaking 4:00 this year.
Post Race Interviews: Both Fisher and Brannigan will race again at the Brooks PR Meet in Seattle, WA where they’ll be in the 2-mile.
Men’s 200: Usain Bolt In Trouble?
Running in NY for the first time since setting his first 100m world record in 2008, Usain Bolt got the win but just barely. He came of the turn in good position but didn’t pull away at all from 19-year old Zharnel Hughes of Antigua over the final 100 and won in a modest 20.29 (-2.6 m/s) to Hughes’ 20.32.
Struggling to beat Hughes, who is a top prospect but only has a 20.15 pb, isn’t a good sign for Bolt. Hughes was 4th at World Juniors last year.
Want to know more about Hughes? We featured him last year in some coverage when we went to Jamaica:
Post-Race With Usain Bolt
Post Race With Hughes
200 Metres - Men Wind: -2.8 m/s 1 Bolt , Usain JAM 20.29 2 Hughes , Zharnel AIA 20.32 3 Forte , Julian JAM 20.46 4 Edward , Alonso PAN 20.62 5 Cotton , Terrell USA 20.63 6 Dwyer , Rasheed JAM 21.06 7 Silmon , Charles USA 21.24
Girls Dream Mile: Christina Aragon Over Ryen Frazier
Christina Aragon ran 4:37.91 to beat Ryen Frazier by .68-seconds.
Interview With Aragon:
|Pl.||Athlete / Team||Cnt.||Birth||Result||Score|
Women’s 400: Francena McCorory Runs Word Leader
The 26-year old American dominated and won by .80 as she eclipsed Sanya Richards-Ross’s 49.95 world leading time by a ton.
400 Metres - Women Race 2 Pts 1 McCorory , Francena USA 49.86 4 2 Miller , Shaunae BAH 50.66 2 3 McPherson , Stephenie Ann JAM 50.84 1 4 Hastings , Natasha USA 50.99 5 Day , Christine JAM 51.48 6 Beard , Jessica USA 51.51 7 Guei , Floria FRA 51.94 Williams-Mills , Novlene JAM DNF
Men’s 100: Tyson Gay FTW
Running into a 1.7 m/s wind, Tyson Gay beat by .01 Keston Bledman who ran the race under protest after a false start.
The false start was upheld and Bledman DQd.
June 16th update: Updated results sent by the IAAF have Bledman reinstated.
100 Metres - Men Wind: -1.7 m/s Pts 1 Gay , Tyson USA 10.12 4 2 Bledman , Keston TTO 10.13 2 3 Carter , Nesta JAM 10.15 1 4 Simbine , Akani RSA 10.18 5 Batson , Deondre USA 10.24 6 Ashmeade , Nickel JAM 10.28 7 Kimmons , Trell USA 10.40 8 Morris , Joseph USA 10.45
Women’s 200: Tori Bowie dominates with sensational 22.23
22.23 is the third fastest time in the world but when you consider Bowie ran that into a -2.8 m/s wind it’s incredibly impressive. Impressive enough that 2nd place was .44 behind.
200 Metres - Women Wind: -2.8 m/s Pts 1 Bowie , Tori USA 22.23 4 2 Okagbare , Blessing NGR 22.67 2 3 Simpson , Sherone JAM 22.69 1 4 Duncan , Kimberlyn USA 22.99 5 Townsend , Tiffany USA 23.04 6 McGrone , Candyce USA 23.10 7 Tenorio , Ángela ECU 23.13 8 Williams , ChaRonda USA 23.27
Men’s 110 hurdles: David Oliver wins after firing his coach
Oliver didn’t like his coach’s comments to him after the Pre Classic and fired him shortly thereafter. He responded well today, winning in 13.19 seconds despite a 1.2 m/s headwind.
110 Metres Hurdles - Men Wind: -1.2 m/s Pts 1 Oliver , David USA 13.19 4 2 Richardson , Jason USA 13.26 2 3 Darien , Garfield FRA 13.32 1 4 Ash , Ronnie USA 13.33 5 Ortega , Orlando CUB 13.34 6 Porter , Jeff USA 13.34 7 Brathwaite , Shane BAR 13.44 8 Harris , Aleec USA 13.50 9 Wilson , Ryan USA 13.84
Men’s Triple Jump: PPP keeps rolling
Pedro Pablo Pichardo has owned the triple jump this year and won his third straight DL event, leaping 17.56 despite a massive 2.5 m/s headwind.
Former NY Giants running back David Wilson did not get his pro TJ career off to the best start as he was a distant last place.
Triple Jump - Men Pts Wind 1 Pichardo , Pedro Pablo CUB 17.56 4 -2.5 2 Claye , Will USA 16.96 2 -0.9 3 Craddock , Omar USA 16.55 1 +0.5 4 Revé , Ernesto CUB 16.53 -0.7 5 Oke , Tosin NGR 16.47 -0.6 6 Benard , Chris USA 16.45 +0.3 7 Durañona , Yordanis DMA 16.25 -1.2 8 Compaoré , Benjamin FRA 15.96 -2.5 9 Wilson , David USA 14.66 -1.4 Schembri , Fabrizio ITA DNS
Men’s Shot Put: Kovacs throws 21.67
2014 U.S. champ Joe Kovacs won his second straight DL shot, beating out fellow American Jordan Clarke for the win.
Shot Put - Men Pts 1 Kovacs , Joe USA 21.67 4 2 Clarke , Jordan USA 21.34 2 3 Walsh , Tomas NZL 21.16 1 4 Richards , O'Dayne JAM 21.00 5 Hoffa , Reese USA 20.85 6 Whiting , Ryan USA 20.15 7 Cantwell , Christian USA 20.11 8 Cremona , Orazio RSA 19.51 9 Szyszkowski , Jakub POL 19.50
Women’s Pole Vault: Fabiana Murer takes second straight victory
Murer followed up last week’s win in Birmingham with a season’s best of 4.80 meters, enough to beat Greece’s Nikoleta Kiriakopoulou (who set a national record) on countbacks.
Pole Vault - Women Pts 1 Murer , Fabiana BRA 4.80 4 2 Kyriakopoúlou , Nikoléta GRE 4.80 2 3 Suhr , Jennifer USA 4.54 1 4 Ahbe , Kelsie CAN 4.44 4 Silva , Yarisley CUB 4.44 6 Lutkovskaya , Alena RUS 4.44 7 Keppler , Janice USA 4.24 Stefanídi , Ekateríni GRE NM
Men’s 400 Hurdles: Javier Culson wins it
Culson came off the final hurdle strong and pulled away to win the race in a season-best 48.48 seconds. It was his first first DL win of the year after three in 2014.
400 Metres Hurdles - Men Pts 1 Culson , Javier PUR 48.48 4 2 van Zyl , L.J. RSA 48.78 2 3 Gibson , Jeffery BAH 48.97 1 4 Cato , Roxroy JAM 48.97 5 Ukaoma , Miles NGR 49.25 6 Gordon , Jehue TTO 49.34 7 White , Annsert JAM 49.62
Men’s Javelin: Vesely takes it
Czech Republic’s world champ Vitezslav Vesely only took two throws, but that was all he needed as his first-round heave of 83.62 meters held up for the win. Finland’s Ari Mannio came close to Vesely, throwing 83.37 on his final attempt, but had to settle for second.
Javelin Throw - Men Pts 1 Veselý , Vítezslav CZE 83.62 4 2 Mannio , Ari FIN 83.37 2 3 Peacock , Hamish AUS 82.91 1 4 Röhler , Thomas GER 81.40 5 Dolezal , Riley USA 81.16 6 Krukowski , Marcin POL 79.87 7 Glover , Tim USA 73.99 8 Martínez , Guillermo CUB 73.07 9 van Rooyen , Rocco RSA 72.78
Women’s Discus: Sandra Perkovic wins again
Perkovic is now four-for-four in DL discus competition this year as she won here in 68.44 to go with victories in Doha, Rome and Birmingham.
Discus Throw - Women Pts 1 Perkovic , Sandra CRO 68.44 4 2 Pérez , Yaime CUB 65.86 2 3 Robert-Michon , Mélina FRA 62.77 1 4 Craft , Shanice GER 62.69 5 Lewis-Smallwood , Gia USA 61.44 6 Ashley , Whitney USA 60.69 7 Podominick , Liz USA 55.51 8 Brown Trafton , Stephanie USA 54.46
Women’s Long Jump: Canada’s Christabel Nettey surprises
Nettey, the two-time defending Canadian champ, was just seven centimeters off her PR, jumping 6.92 meters despite a -1.3 m/s headwind. That was good for her first Diamond League victory.
Long Jump - Women Pts Wind 1 Nettey , Christabel CAN 6.92 4 -1.3 2 Bartoletta , Tianna USA 6.89 2 -0.7 3 Proctor , Shara GBR 6.72 1 +0.5 4 Jimoh , Funmi USA 6.50 -2.4 5 Hayes , Chelsea USA 6.35 -0.8 6 Jarder , Erica SWE 6.34 -0.1 7 Costa , Keila BRA 6.19 -0.4 8 Gaines , Jessie USA 6.07 -1.6 9 Gipson , Whitney USA 5.65 -1.1
Women’s 100H: Sharika Nelvis wins in 12.65′
Lolo Jones was back in 5th, but says she raced through an injury at Drake Relays when she really shouldn’t have, so is lucky to even be back and healthy at this point. She missed a lot of time and didn’t think she’d even get to race before USAs. Jones also talks about possibly going back to bobsled after Rio 2016 and how new weight requirement rules (which call for lighter athletes) would make her more “valuable”.
100 Metres Hurdles - Women Wind: -1.7 m/s 1 Nelvis , Sharika USA 12.65 2 Porter , Tiffany GBR 12.81 3 Williams , Danielle JAM 12.89 4 Jones , LoLo USA 12.95 5 DeLoach Soukup , Janay USA 13.05 6 Castlin , Kristi USA 13.09 7 Williams , Shermaine JAM 13.19 8 Jones , Tenaya USA 13.21
Girls Dream Mile: Christina Aragon Wins In 4:37
Full results here.
Women’s High Jump: Ruth Beitia wins
The 36-year-old Beitia took her second DL victory of the year as she and Blanka Vlasic both cleared 1.97 meters.
High Jump - Women Pts 1 Beitia , Ruth ESP 1.97 4 2 Vlašic , Blanka CRO 1.97 2 3 Spencer , Levern LCA 1.91 1 4 Pooley , Isobel GBR 1.91 5 Lowe , Chaunté USA 1.91 6 Frederick , Priscilla ANT 1.88 Amata , Doreen NGR NM Kovalenko , Iryna UKR NM Kasprzycka , Justyna POL DNS