American Track League Houston: Clayton Murphy Versus Centro Lives Up to the Hype, De Grasse over Powell, Prandini Gets the Double, and Sandi Morris American Record

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by: LetsRun.com
July 23, 2016

The second and final meet of the 2016 American Track League was held in hot Houston on Saturday night and it had some fireworks.

Even before the national television broadcast on ESPN began, Sandi Morris had broken the American record in the pole vault by vaulting 4.93 meters (16′ 2″) to eclipse Jenn Suhr’s American record of 4.92. We have a video of Morris’ vault below but give the vault its own recap here.

MB: Sandi Morris New American Record Holder in Pole Vault

Then once the track action got underway, Clayton Murphy won the big matchup versus Matt Centrowitz at 1000m, Andre De Grasse won the 100m matchup vs Asafa Powell and cast a stare at Powell just before the finish, and Jenna Prandini got the 100-200 double. Highlights below starting with the men’s 1000m.

centro-murphy7Mens’ 1000m Clash: Clayton Murphy Holds Off Centrowitz in a Great Race

The anticipated matchup between US 800m champ Clayton Murphy and US 1500m champ Matt Centrowitz did not disappoint. Murphy and Centro battled side by side down the homestretch with Murphy able to hold off Centrowitz and get the win in 2:20.12 to Centro’s 2:20.20.

US decathlete Curtis Beach was the rabbit after running the 400m hurdles earlier in the meet. However, it became apparent real quick that no one cared about having a fast pace as no one went with him. When Beach went out in 28, he had a gap on the field and he did what a rabbit should do and looked back, adjusting his pace. He hit 400 in roughly 57 and the field was racing for pride, not time at this point.

Beach led through 600m (1:25.95) and then Murphy had the lead, followed by Centrowitz as the field bunched up behind them.

On the backstretch Murphy still led, but since the pace was modest, everyone in the field was still in it, guys were getting antsy and some decided to make some moves. Unheralded 3:39 1500m runner Daniel Herrera moved up on the outside and passed Centrowitz but stayed behind Murphy, boxing Centro in on the inside as they went entered the final bend. At the same time, Duane Solomon moved up on the outside of Herrera. When Solomon cut in a step on the turn in front of Herrera, Herrera put his hands out on Solomon’s back and really lost his momentum. This was a blessing for Centro, who now had his opening to chase after Murphy.

Great sportsmanship

Great sportsmanship

The homestretch was the duel track fans wanted. As they came off the turn, Murphy had a slight lead on the inside and then Centro moved up on his shoulder. With 70 or 80 meters to go, Murphy glanced to his right and saw Centro right beside him. Instead of cracking under the pressure or showing any strain, Murphy kept his composed form and churned almost effortlessly down the homestretch with Centro doing the same right next to him. They two US Olympic Trials champions – one at 800 (Murphy) and one at 1500 (Centrowitz) – were side by side the entire rest of the way but Murphy would not crack and he held off Centro for the win by a narrow margin after closing in 25.2. Centro handed the loss with class as he extended his hand to Murphy just after they crossed the line to offer his congratulations.

David Torrence was a distant third.

Time
200
600
1000m
1USAClayton Murphy2:20.12
28.72
Pl: 2
1:26.52
57.80
Pl: 2
2:20.12
53.60
Pl: 1
4
2USAMatthew Centrowitz2:20.20
28.94
Pl: 3
1:26.70
57.77
Pl: 3
2:20.20
53.50
Pl: 2
6
3USADavid Torrence2:21.75
29.67
Pl: 8
1:26.96
57.29
Pl: 6
2:21.75
54.80
Pl: 3
7
4USABrandon Johnson2:22.18
29.36
Pl: 6
1:27.09
57.73
Pl: 7
2:22.18
55.10
Pl: 4
5
5USADuane Solomon2:22.31
29.12
Pl: 4
1:26.92
57.81
Pl: 5
2:22.31
55.39
Pl: 5
3
6ZAMPrince Mamba2:23.58
29.26
Pl: 5
1:27.15
57.89
Pl: 8
2:23.58
56.44
Pl: 6
1
7USADaniel Herrera2:23.95
29.54
Pl: 7
1:26.77
57.23
Pl: 4
2:23.95
57.19
Pl: 7
2
8USADamion Flores2:25.08
29.87
Pl: 9
1:27.33
57.46
Pl: 9
2:25.08
57.75
Pl: 8
8
DNFUSACurtis Beach
28.21
Pl: 1
1:25.95
57.75
Pl: 1
9

Here are some photos from the finishing straight. The race in pictures. Click on an image for a larger image (best viewed not on a mobile phone unfortunately).

QT: We Got What We Wanted
Centro and Murphy both showed why they are so good: they don’t crack under pressure. Both maintained nearly effortless form to the finish. Usually, that results for a win for Centro in the US ranks, but today he met his match with the composed Murphy.

QT #2 You Can’t Close much faster than this 
800m was reached in 1:24.9 roughly so Murphy closed in 25.2. Centro closed slightly faster, but it’s very hard to run much faster than 25.0 the final 200m of a race.

QT #3: If You Want a Fast Time, Start This in Lanes
This race wasn’t started in lanes and thus it puts the onus on one guy (the guy who breaks first) to go with the rabbit. When that doesn’t happen, a fast time goes out the door. The runners aren’t used to starting on a curve. Next time start it in lanes if you want a fast time. But we wanted a race and that’s what we got.

Messageboard Discussions:

Screenshot 2016-07-23 at 18.58.35Women’s 800m: Ajee Wilson Wins and Dips Under 2:00

Monica Hargrove rabbited the field through 400m in 58.56 and then it was a three-way battle between former NCAA champ Natoya Goule of Jamaica, US phenom Ajee Wilson, and McKayla Fricker. Goule led with Wilson right behind her and Fricker behind her. Around the final bend, Fricker went wide and they hit the homestretch nearly three abreast, but Wilson was too good the final 100m and got the win in 1:59.98 to Goule’s 2:00.33 as Fricker faded a bit at the end to 2:01.29.

QT: Wilson Goes to Rio Only Having Run 1:59.51 This Year

This was Wilson’s third time under 2:00 this year and she leaves for Rio only having run 1:59.51. Last year at this time of the year she had run 1:57.87 (but was injured and not going to Worlds). This time of the year  in 2014, she had run 1:57.67. Before you totally write off Wilson entirely, realize she rises to the occasion (running PRs to win World Juniors in 2012 and finish 6th at Worlds in 2013). Back in 2013, she had only run sub-2:00 once in her life (1:59.55) and she went to Worlds and finished 6th. However, the women’s 800m is much tougher this year with Caster Semenya and others running well again.

PLACEATHLETERESULT400800LN/POS
1USAAjee Wilson1:59.98
58.86
Pl: 3
1:59.98
1:01.12
Pl: 1
4
2JAMNatoya Goule2:00.33
58.64
Pl: 2
2:00.33
1:01.69
Pl: 2
5
3USAMckayla Fricker2:01.29
59.28
Pl: 4
2:01.29
1:02.01
Pl: 3
3
4USARaquel Lambdin2:04.63
1:00.23
Pl: 6
2:04.63
1:04.40
Pl: 4
6
5USAStephanie Brown2:05.83
1:00.01
Pl: 5
2:05.83
1:05.82
Pl: 5
7
DNFUSAMonica Hargrove
58.54
Pl: 1
8
DNFUSAEna Leufroy
1:01.08
Pl: 7
2
De Grasse Does the Glance

De Grasse Does the Glance

Men’s 100m: Andre de Grasse Beats Asafa Powell and Gives the Stare

De Grasse has shown he is a big-meet performer and that continued today. Powell had the better time in the prelims (10.05 (.1 m/s) for Powell vs 10.23 (-.5 m/s) for De Grasse), but in the final De Grasse got the best of Powell (10.02 for De Grasse vs 10.08 for Powell). Powell had the early lead and was drifting towards De Grasse’s lane so they were very close to each other physically. When De Grasse came by Powell by the finish he cast a primal stare to his left to show who was the boss of this one. A great way to end the meet in Houston and get prepared for Rio.

WIND: -0.3 M/S
PLACEATHLETERESULTLN/POS
1CANAndre De Grasse10.026
2JAMAsafa Powell10.085
3JAMDexter Lee10.144
4USABeejay Lee10.167
5CHNXie Zhenye10.182
6USAJohn Teeters10.218
7USAClayton Vaughn10.241
8ZAMGerald Phiri10.253

Quick Thought: Everyone views Powell as a choker but is it possible he’s just not good at running a 2nd race on the same day?

Powell has been viewed as someone who historically chokes in high-pressure meets. But this wasn’t a high-pressure meet and he wilted again. We’d love to see a statistical breakdown of Powell, showing how he does when he runs twice on a given day. If you want to do it, email us.

Screenshot 2016-07-23 at 19.45.59Women’s 100 and 200: Prandini Gets the Double

Jenna Prandini won the women’s 100m easily and then came back to hold off Phyllis Francis in the 200m by .08. The track in Houston didn’t seem that fast but Prandini ran faster here in the 200m than she did at the Olympic Trials (22.53).

WIND: 0.1 M/S
PLACEATHLETERESULTLN/POS
1USAJenna Prandini11.214
2USALekeisha Lawson11.38

11.371
5
3USAAlex Anderson11.38

11.376
3
4JAMNatasha Morrison11.38

11.380
2
5TTOSemoy Hackett11.406
6USAOctavious Freeman11.447
7JAMKerron Stewart11.458
8ISVLaverne Jones11.651

Women’s 200m:

WIND: 0.1 M/S
PLACEATHLETERESULTLN/POS
1USAJenna Prandini22.425
2USAPhyllis Francis22.504
3BAHTynia Gaither23.166
4ISVLaverne Jones23.178
5USALekeisha Lawson23.273
6USATameka Williams23.602

Women’s 300m: Courtney Okolo Bounces Back from Trials Wins But Misses AR And WR

This one was all Okolo as the only question was whether should could challenge the world’s best of 35.30 (Ana Guevara) or American best (35.46). She came up short but got an easy win in her second race since the Olympic Trials (she won in Edmonton in 50.47 last week).

QT Was Okolo not making the Olympic team really an upset?

Okolo may have been undefeated heading into the Trials into 2016, but to make the Olympic team, Okolo would have needed to run 50.17. That’s a time she’s run only twice in her life.

PLACEATHLETERESULTLN/POS
1USACourtney Okolo35.756
2USAKendall Baisden36.397
3LBRMariam Kromah36.718
4VINKineke Alexander36.905
5GRNKanika Beckles37.062
6USAMonica Hargrove37.814

Men’s 400m: Vernon Norwood Wins, Ashton Eaton Beats Jeremy Wariner

Jeremy Wariner says he has not decided if this will be his last season, but getting beat by a decathlete might help him make that decision.

1USAVernon Norwood45.195
2JAMFitzroy Dunkley45.436
3USABryshon Nellum45.508
4TTOJarrin Solomon45.627
5USAAshton Eaton45.634
6USAJeremy Wariner45.923
7USAAldrich Bailey46.082
8USAJordan Landburg46.471

Men’s 400 Hurdles: Anderson Wins As Beach Breaks 50

Beach is primarily a decathlete but he led here entering the homestretch before fading to 3rd. He still managed to break 50 seconds in his pro debut at this event.

PLACEATHLETERESULTLN/POS
1USAJeshua Anderson49.485
2NGRMiles Ukaoma49.773
3USACurtis Beach49.872
4PHIEric Cray50.116
5USARicky Babineaux50.784
6USAWilliam Wynne50.817

Women’s 100m Hurdles: Sharika Nelvis Defeats World Champ Danielle Williams

Nelvis, 5th at the Olympic Trials, got the win here. With the US women having the 7 fastest times in the world, it’s easy to forget that Danielle Williams of Jamaica was the world champion last year in the hurdles.

WIND: -0.3 M/S
PLACEATHLETERESULTLN/POS
1USASharika Nelvis12.835
2USAChristina Manning12.886
3JAMDanielle Williams12.894
4CANBrianne Theisen-Eaton13.043
5JAMSharmaine Williams13.102
6USATenaya Jones13.151
7BARAkela Jones13.257
8JAMNickiesha Wilson13.518

Men’s 200m: Wallace Spearmon Gets a Win

The former world champ Spearmon didn’t make the finals at the Olympic Trials but he got a season’s best here for the win.

Wind .3m/s

1USAWallace Spearmon20.315
2MEXCarlos Herrera20.464
3SAMJeremy Dodson20.472
4USADedric Dukes20.483
5BAHShavez Hart20.578
6SKNAntoine Adams20.706
7AUSAlex Hartman20.817
DNSUSAMookie Salaam1

Men’s 110m Hurdles: Riley Wins

Andrew Riley got the win to try to cement his place on the Jamaican team in Rio.

WIND: -0.3 M/S
PLACEATHLETERESULTLN/POS
1JAMAndrew Riley13.475
2USARyan Fontenot13.776
3USAJosh Thompson13.957
4USAAramis Massenburg14.003
5NGRTy Akins14.054
6USAWilliam Wynne14.128
7ESTMichael Uibo14.761
DNSNGRMiles Ukaoma2

Women’s 400m Hurdles

PLACEATHLETERESULTLN/POS
1CANChanice Taylor-Chase55.554
2CANNoelle Montcalm56.405
3USAClaudia Francis56.493
DNSUSAJaivairia Bacote6

Men’s Javelin: Hostetler Wins, Eaton Gets Some Practice

The Olympic Trials champ Hostetler got the win while Ashton Eaton was last but got a season’s best (he threw 57.74 at the Trials). Eaton then ran the 400 and went into the commentating booth and did a fabulous job.

1USACyrus Hostetler80.84

265-3
78.21

256-7
1
80.84

265-3
1
F

1
P

1
P

1
P

1
7
2USASean Furey74.92

245-9
74.92

245-9
2
72.56

238-1
2
74.05

242-11
2
F

2
69.56

228-2
2
73.67

241-8
2
6
3USASam Humphreys74.85

245-7
F74.85

245-7
3
F

3
F

3
73.02

239-7
3
73.49

241-1
3
5
4USATom Engwall71.62

235-0
69.26

227-3
3
F

4
66.59

218-5
4
71.62

235-0
4
F

4
66.76

219-0
4
2
5GRNLindon Victor68.95

226-2
66.84

219-3
4
F

5
68.95

226-2
5
F

5
65.01

213-3
5
62.44

204-10
5
3
6ESTMichael Uibo61.39

201-5
61.39

201-5
5
F

6
58.62

192-4
6
F

6
F

6
F

6
1
7USAAshton Eaton60.46

198-4
59.30

194-7
6
60.46

198-4
7
59.00

193-7
7
P

7
P

7
P

7
4

Talk about the meet on our fan forum / messageboard. MB: American Track League Houston Live Thread (on ESPN 9-11pm Eastern)


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