800 Madness at Millrose- Ajee Wilson Breaks American Record, Sammy Watson Gets Mary Decker’s High School Record
February 11, 2017
22-year-old Ajee’ Wilson stole the show at the 2017 NYRR Millrose Games by running an American record of 1:58.27 to win the 800 over training partner Charlene Lipsey. Lipsey pushed Wilson all the way the line and was rewarded with the #2 time US time ever, 1:58.64, as Lipsey also bettered the previous American record of 1:58.71 by Nicole Teter from 2002.
Then 3 seconds after Lipsey crossed the line, high schooler Sammy Watson crossed the line in 2:01.78 breaking Mary Decker’s American high school record of 2:01.8 from 1974.
That meant the American high school, collegiate, and professional 800m records all fell in the same day, as Texas A&M’s Jazmine Fray broke the collegiate 800m record earlier today.
Rabbit Kimarra McDonald of Jamaica did a good job of making this race fast as she went out in 28.08 and 57.15 and then hung on for most of the next lap. Wilson then took over the lead, but her training partner Lipsey was right on her heels. When Wilson hit the bell in 1:28.18, the American record was seriously in jeopardy if she could hold on. Wilson mustered a little kick the final lap as the fourth lap was faster than the third and it was just enough to get her the win and the American record.
Women’s 800m Results
Quick Thought #1: The Ajee Wilson, Charlene Lipsey Training Group Under Derek Thompson is Paying Huge Dividends
This is the first indoor season that Lipsey has trained with Wilson under coach Derek Thompson in New Jersey and it couldn’t be going any better.
Both runners broke the previous American record nd both runners set huge personal bests. Wilson is already known as one of the biggest talents in the sport, being world ranked #2 two years ago as a 20 year old. She however had never broken 2:00 indoors (2:00.09 last year) and only ran 1:59.44 last year outdoors. Now in her first 800 of 2017, she’s run an American record. Pretty insane.
If you think that’s insane look at what Lipsey has done this winter. Her previous indoor best from this year was 2:02.01. She took more than 3 seconds off of that in one race. Unbelievable (her outdoor best was 2:00.60). Check back later for comments from Wilson and Lipsey after Millrose but earlier this year Lipsey told Race Results Weekly, “This year, I changed coaches I now train with Derek, Ajee’ Wilson and Marielle Hall and it’s been a life-changing experience. She added: ‘Every day we bring our ‘A’ game.'”
That was definitely the case today.
QT : Wilson Enjoys Having Charlene Lipsey in Her Training Group
Lipsey has clearly seen benefits from training with Wilson, but Wilson has also benefited from the addition of Lipsey. Not only does she have a new training partner, but she has a good friend to talk to at practice and meets.
“We were friends on the circuit before. She started training with us but you know it’s kind of different [when] you spend a lot of time with someone, you see them every day. I was like, ‘I think we’ll get along.’ [Now], she’s really like one of my best friends.”
Wilson said that having Lipsey at practice also helps to motivate her.
“I think because we both are really grinding out for the same goals, it’s definitely more motivating to have someone know exactly what you’re going through working out with you.”
Finally, Wilson offered some advice to Sammy Watson. Like Wilson, Watson was World Youth and World Junior champ, and now she’s run faster indoors than Wilson ever did in high school (indoors). Watson said she’s undecided about college and hasn’t thought too much about turning professional yet.
“One of the best things I did was to just do what was right for me. I talked it [over] with my parents, I talked it [over] with my coaches. Just not worrying about what anyone might think or what you are expected to do. Just really focusing on what you want to do, what your future goals are and choosing the path that you best think is going to help you get there.”
QT: Sammy Watson Was Shocked to Find Out She Broke the High School Record
Watson didn’t know she broke Mary Decker’s 43-year-old 2:01.8 HS record (converted from an 880) until she was informed on-camera.”
“Oh wow! I didn’t know that!” Watson said, breaking into a smile and covering her mouth in shock. “Oh wow. That’s crazy. I was going for something good, I wanted the state record at least. I’m really surprised.”
Watson, whose previous best time was 2:02.91 outdoors (2:03.94 indoors), won golds at World Youths in 2015 and World U20s last year, and this achievement ranks right up there with both of them. Now it’s anyone’s guess as to what Watson does next. She still has a few college visits lined up (she wouldn’t say to which schools) but she’ll certainly be in-demand among the shoe companies as she’s essentially a clone of a young Ajee Wilson.
Rest of the Meet *Full results here
A full Millrose recap is coming but in other action, Sifan Hassan won the women’s Wanamaker Mile in a Millrose record of 4:19.89 as Kate Grace was second, Eric Jenkins won the men’s Wanamaker Mile in a world-leading 3:53.23, Courtney Okolo set an American record of 1:07.34 in the 500, Ben True won the 2 mile over Ryan Hill as Matt Centrowitz was only 7th, Katerina Stefanidi won the Olympic rematch with Sandi Morris in the pole vault, and Armand Duplantis set a high school record in the pole vault (18’101/4″, 5.75).