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
1 USA Clayton Murphy 2:20.12
28.72
Pl: 2
1:26.52
57.80
Pl: 2
2:20.12
53.60
Pl: 1
4
2 USA Matthew Centrowitz 2:20.20
28.94
Pl: 3
1:26.70
57.77
Pl: 3
2:20.20
53.50
Pl: 2
6
3 USA David Torrence 2:21.75
29.67
Pl: 8
1:26.96
57.29
Pl: 6
2:21.75
54.80
Pl: 3
7
4 USA Brandon Johnson 2:22.18
29.36
Pl: 6
1:27.09
57.73
Pl: 7
2:22.18
55.10
Pl: 4
5
5 USA Duane Solomon 2:22.31
29.12
Pl: 4
1:26.92
57.81
Pl: 5
2:22.31
55.39
Pl: 5
3
6 ZAM Prince Mamba 2:23.58
29.26
Pl: 5
1:27.15
57.89
Pl: 8
2:23.58
56.44
Pl: 6
1
7 USA Daniel Herrera 2:23.95
29.54
Pl: 7
1:26.77
57.23
Pl: 4
2:23.95
57.19
Pl: 7
2
8 USA Damion Flores 2:25.08
29.87
Pl: 9
1:27.33
57.46
Pl: 9
2:25.08
57.75
Pl: 8
8
DNF USA Curtis 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.

PLACE ATHLETE RESULT 400 800 LN/POS
1 USA Ajee Wilson 1:59.98
58.86
Pl: 3
1:59.98
1:01.12
Pl: 1
4
2 JAM Natoya Goule 2:00.33
58.64
Pl: 2
2:00.33
1:01.69
Pl: 2
5
3 USA Mckayla Fricker 2:01.29
59.28
Pl: 4
2:01.29
1:02.01
Pl: 3
3
4 USA Raquel Lambdin 2:04.63
1:00.23
Pl: 6
2:04.63
1:04.40
Pl: 4
6
5 USA Stephanie Brown 2:05.83
1:00.01
Pl: 5
2:05.83
1:05.82
Pl: 5
7
DNF USA Monica Hargrove
58.54
Pl: 1
8
DNF USA Ena 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
PLACE ATHLETE RESULT LN/POS
1 CAN Andre De Grasse 10.02 6
2 JAM Asafa Powell 10.08 5
3 JAM Dexter Lee 10.14 4
4 USA Beejay Lee 10.16 7
5 CHN Xie Zhenye 10.18 2
6 USA John Teeters 10.21 8
7 USA Clayton Vaughn 10.24 1
8 ZAM Gerald Phiri 10.25 3

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
PLACE ATHLETE RESULT LN/POS
1 USA Jenna Prandini 11.21 4
2 USA Lekeisha Lawson 11.38

11.371
5
3 USA Alex Anderson 11.38

11.376
3
4 JAM Natasha Morrison 11.38

11.380
2
5 TTO Semoy Hackett 11.40 6
6 USA Octavious Freeman 11.44 7
7 JAM Kerron Stewart 11.45 8
8 ISV Laverne Jones 11.65 1

Women’s 200m:

WIND: 0.1 M/S
PLACE ATHLETE RESULT LN/POS
1 USA Jenna Prandini 22.42 5
2 USA Phyllis Francis 22.50 4
3 BAH Tynia Gaither 23.16 6
4 ISV Laverne Jones 23.17 8
5 USA Lekeisha Lawson 23.27 3
6 USA Tameka Williams 23.60 2

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.

PLACE ATHLETE RESULT LN/POS
1 USA Courtney Okolo 35.75 6
2 USA Kendall Baisden 36.39 7
3 LBR Mariam Kromah 36.71 8
4 VIN Kineke Alexander 36.90 5
5 GRN Kanika Beckles 37.06 2
6 USA Monica Hargrove 37.81 4

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.

1 USA Vernon Norwood 45.19 5
2 JAM Fitzroy Dunkley 45.43 6
3 USA Bryshon Nellum 45.50 8
4 TTO Jarrin Solomon 45.62 7
5 USA Ashton Eaton 45.63 4
6 USA Jeremy Wariner 45.92 3
7 USA Aldrich Bailey 46.08 2
8 USA Jordan Landburg 46.47 1

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.

PLACE ATHLETE RESULT LN/POS
1 USA Jeshua Anderson 49.48 5
2 NGR Miles Ukaoma 49.77 3
3 USA Curtis Beach 49.87 2
4 PHI Eric Cray 50.11 6
5 USA Ricky Babineaux 50.78 4
6 USA William Wynne 50.81 7

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
PLACE ATHLETE RESULT LN/POS
1 USA Sharika Nelvis 12.83 5
2 USA Christina Manning 12.88 6
3 JAM Danielle Williams 12.89 4
4 CAN Brianne Theisen-Eaton 13.04 3
5 JAM Sharmaine Williams 13.10 2
6 USA Tenaya Jones 13.15 1
7 BAR Akela Jones 13.25 7
8 JAM Nickiesha Wilson 13.51 8

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

1 USA Wallace Spearmon 20.31 5
2 MEX Carlos Herrera 20.46 4
3 SAM Jeremy Dodson 20.47 2
4 USA Dedric Dukes 20.48 3
5 BAH Shavez Hart 20.57 8
6 SKN Antoine Adams 20.70 6
7 AUS Alex Hartman 20.81 7
DNS USA Mookie Salaam 1

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
PLACE ATHLETE RESULT LN/POS
1 JAM Andrew Riley 13.47 5
2 USA Ryan Fontenot 13.77 6
3 USA Josh Thompson 13.95 7
4 USA Aramis Massenburg 14.00 3
5 NGR Ty Akins 14.05 4
6 USA William Wynne 14.12 8
7 EST Michael Uibo 14.76 1
DNS NGR Miles Ukaoma 2

Women’s 400m Hurdles

PLACE ATHLETE RESULT LN/POS
1 CAN Chanice Taylor-Chase 55.55 4
2 CAN Noelle Montcalm 56.40 5
3 USA Claudia Francis 56.49 3
DNS USA Jaivairia Bacote 6

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.

1 USA Cyrus Hostetler 80.84

265-3
78.21

256-7
1
80.84

265-3
1
F

1
P

1
P

1
P

1
7
2 USA Sean Furey 74.92

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
3 USA Sam Humphreys 74.85

245-7
F 74.85

245-7
3
F

3
F

3
73.02

239-7
3
73.49

241-1
3
5
4 USA Tom Engwall 71.62

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
5 GRN Lindon Victor 68.95

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
6 EST Michael Uibo 61.39

201-5
61.39

201-5
5
F

6
58.62

192-4
6
F

6
F

6
F

6
1
7 USA Ashton Eaton 60.46

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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