2017 Payton Jordan Preview: Cheserek Goes for a Fast 5K; Centro & Sifan Hassan Step Up to the 5K; Deep Battles in the 10K
May 3, 2017
Friday is going to be a busy day for track and field fans. The day will start off with a bang as Friday is opening day for the #1 track league in the world – the IAAF Diamond League – which will kick off with a stacked Doha DL meet from 12-2 p.m. ET which will be broadcast live on Universal HD in the US (LRC Doha meet preview will be here once it’s published on Thursday). If that isn’t enough for you, the Stanford Payton Jordan
time trial meet will take place late that night (10 p.m. – 2 a.m. ET).
Payton Jordan is annually one of the United States’ most competitive meets for distance runners, representing an opportunity for athletes to hit World Championship qualifiers under the perennially perfect conditions of Palo Alto, Calif. Last year, 65 runners ran Olympic standards in the distance events and with another set of loaded fields in 2017, we could see some very fast times on Friday night.
Athletes on the start lists include: Eric Jenkins (800/1500), Evan Jager (1500), Matthew Centrowitz (5k), Edward Cheserek (5k), Justyn Knight (5k), Kyle Merber (5k), Mo Ahmed (10k), Diego Estrada (10k), Callum Hawkins (10k), Shadrack Kipchirchir (10k), Hassan Mead (10k), Patrick Tiernan (10k), Marielle Hall (5k), Sifan Hassan (5k), Allie Ostrander (5k), Kim Conley (10k), Amy Cragg (10k), Emily Infeld (10k) and Emily Sisson (10k).
That’s a lot of talent. On paper, the highlight of the meet is the men’s 5,000. Flotrack has reported that Cheserek, who set the NCAA mile record of 3:52.01 in February, will be chasing a fast time. Cheserek’s PR is 13:18, which he ran as a freshman in 2014, and with studs like Knight, Merber, Garrett Heath and more in the race (Centrowitz is in the second heat), we could see something very quick. The 10,000’s should be quick as always, and it should be fun to see how fast world indoor 1500 champ Sifan Hassan can run in a 5,000.
We break down the top events below in chronological order.
What: 2017 Payton Jordan Invitational
Where: Cobb Track and Angell Field, Palo Alto, Calif.
When: Friday, May 5, 2017
How to watch: Live on Flotrack Pro (requires subscription). If you don’t want to pay, follow the fans comments on the messageboard: Official 2017 Payton Jordan Discussion Thread.
Distance entries * Schedule * Live results
Women’s 3000 Steeplechase (Section #1 at 9:55 p.m. ET)
World Championship standard: 9:42.00; USATF Championship standard: 9:50.00
Section 1 start list
1 23 Rolanda Bell Cptc New Bal 2 24 Maria Bernard Saucony Cana 3 27 Marie Bouchard San Francisc 4 46 Belen Casetta Argentina 5 54 Rosie Clarke Great Britai 6 90 Rosa Flanagan New Zealand 7 141 Rachel Johnson Asics/Furman 8 156 Alicja Konieczek Western Stat 9 157 Paige Kouba Saucony / CB 10 163 Genevieve Lalonde Speed River 11 169 Marie Lawrence Oiselle 12 203 Chikako Mori Sekisui Kaga 13 290 Erin Teschuk Asics Furman 14 312 Alexina Wilson Oiselle
Most of the top Americans — Emma Coburn, Colleen Quigley, Courtney Frerichs, Stephanie Garcia — will be in Doha for the Diamond League opener which takes place earlier on Friday, so this field isn’t particularly strong, though it does include 2016 Olympians Genevieve Lalonde (Canada), Erin Teschuk (Canada) and Belen Casetta (Argentina).
Men’s 3000 Steeplechase (Section #1 at 10:20 p.m. ET)
World Championship standard: 8:32.00; USATF Championship standard: 8:40.00
Section 1 start list
1 61 Tomas Cotter Asics Furman 2 72 Chris Dulhanty Speed River 3 85 Darren Fahy Georgetown 4 104 David Goodman Boulder Trac 5 116 Michael Hardy Unattached 6 128 Caleb Hoover Asics Furman 7 142 Michael Jordan American Dis 8 148 Edwin Kibichiy Louisville 9 229 jose pena Venezuela 10 242 Troy Reeder Furman 11 251 Anthony Rotich Elite Athlet 12 276 Tabor Stevens Asics/Furman
Three-time NCAA champ Anthony Rotich is the top returner from this race, finishing fourth last year and he looked good in winning the Mt. SAC Relays in 8:39 on April 14. In terms of season bests, the American Distance Project’s Michael Jordan (the other one) is tops in this field with his 8:33 a two-second personal best that he ran to win the first Stanford meet back in March.
Also keep an eye out for Edwin Kibichiy of Louisville (3rd at NCAAs last year) and two-time Olympian Jose Pena of Venezuela (8:20 pb).
Women’s 800 (Section #1 at 10:45 p.m. ET)
World Championship standard: 2:01.00; USATF Championship standard: 2:02.00
Section 1 start list
1 20 Olivia Baker Stanford 2 51 Kendra Chambers Texas Elite 3 57 Shea Collinsworth BYU 4 127 Anita Hinriksdottir AAM 5 180 Katie Mackey Brooks Beast 6 232 Angela Petty New Zealand 7 257 claudia saunders Brooks Beast 8 311 Chrishuna Williams Nike
Olympian Chrishuna Williams of the U.S. has the fastest 2017 time of any entrant, running 2:00.41 at Mt. SAC, and she figures to be a threat. Anita Hinriksdottir of Iceland, aka Iceland’s Mary Cain, was the bronze medallist at European Indoors in March, while Katie Mackey is coming off a win at the U.S. road mile champs last week — though Mackey (2:01.20 pb) is really more of a 1500/5k type.
A couple of collegians should be near the front in this one as well, as 2016 NCAA runner-up Olivia Baker of Stanford and NCAA indoor 3rd placer Shea Collinsworth of BYU are entered. In addition, 2016 NCAA mile champ Kaela Edwards of Oklahoma State is in section 2 (though she is also entered in the 1500). All three have pbs between 2:01.00 and 2:02.00, so they’ll be looking to get under 2:01 on Friday — something only Oregon’s Raevyn Rogers has done so far outdoors this year.
Men’s 800 (Section #1 at 10:50 p.m. ET)
World Championship standard: 1:45.90; USATF Championship standard: 1:47.50
Section 1 start list
1 15 Abraham Alvarado Unattached 2 56 Mason Cohen Australia 3 158 Andreas Kramer Unattached 4 175 Chris Low Brooks Elite 5 228 Leandro Paris Argentina 6 308 Jamie Webb Unattached 7 313 Drew Windle Brooks Beast
Section 2 start list
1 Scott Buttinger Stanford 2 118 Christian Harrison BAA 3 138 Eric Jenkins Nike Oregon 4 178 Selasi Lumax Big Bear Tc/ 5 187 Ryan Martin Asics Furman 6 243 Tayron Reyes Unattached 7 253 Ben Saarel Colorado
Section 2 is the more intriguing race here. It’s interesting to see Eric Jenkins, fourth in the Olympic Trials 5k, running an 800 — he hasn’t raced one since the 2013 CAA Championships when he was back at Northeastern (BTW, he won that race in 1:52.06). There could be a few things going on here. Jenkins, who won the Wanamaker Mile indoors and has flashed some good speed over the past few years, might be seeing just how fast those legs can go. Or he may just be running this thing as a workout — he’s also entered in the 1500, which starts just 40 minutes after the 800. Four-time cross country All-American Ben Saarel of Colorado is another guy stepping down who is better known for his exploits at longer distances.
Women’s 1500 (Section #1 at 11:15 p.m. ET)
World Championship standard: 4:07.50; USATF Championship standard: 4:09.50
Section 1 start list
1 26 Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal Jrs Sports M 2 74 Kaela Edwards Oklahoma Sta 3 102 Sasha Gollish Skechers/Ois 4 112 Gabriele Grunewald Brooks 5 Stephanie Herrick Cptc New Bal 6 140 Lauren Johnson BAA 7 145 Mariah Kelly New Balance 8 162 Violah Lagat adidas 9 193 Sarah McDonald Great Britai 10 211 Karisa Nelson Samford 11 310 Devan Wiebe VOCA
Section 2 start list
1 41 Savannah Camacho Oklahoma Sta 2 68 Erica Digby Vancouver Th 3 86 Brie Felnagle adidas 4 100 Dana Giordano Cambridge-Bo 5 113 Therese Haiss Arkansas 6 126 Nikki Hiltz Arkansas 7 173 Emily Lipari BAA 8 177 Carolina Lozano Argentina 9 206 Megan Moye North Caroli 10 237 Kendra Pomfret Vancouver Th
There are a bunch of NCAA champs in this field, as Samford’s Karisa Nelson (2017 mile champ) and Edwards (2016 mile champ) are entered (plus Emily Lipari and Brie Felnagle in section 2). The fastest this year so far, though, is Arkansas’ Nikki Hiltz (section 2), who was 6th in the indoor mile and ran 4:12.71 on April 14.
One woman whom we’re glad to see on the entry list is Gabriele Grunewald. A three-time cancer survivor, this will be her first race since she had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from her liver last August.
Men’s 1500 (Section #1 at 11:25 p.m. ET)
World Championship standard: 3:36.00; USATF Championship standard: 3:39.00
Section 1 start list
1 35 Federico Bruno Argentina 2 89 Robbie Fitzgibbon Bizz-Sports 3 137 Evan Jager Kimbia Athle 4 138 Eric Jenkins Nike Oregon 5 149 Brannon Kidder Brooks Beast 6 176 Casimir Loxsom Unattached 7 320 Patrick McGregor Unattached 8 214 Chris O'Hare BAA 9 226 Adam Palamar Syracuse 10 244 Michael Rimmer Puma 11 317 Izaic Yorks Brooks Beast
With Evan Jager (3:32 pb), Chris O’Hare (3:34 pb), Eric Jenkins (3:35 pb) and Izaic Yorks (who ran 3:37 to win here last year), there’s some talent in this race, but if recent history is a guide, don’t expect anything too fast. As Gordon Mack points out for Flotrack, since 2005, only two times has the winner at Payton Jordan run faster than Yorks’ 3:37.74 winning time from last year. Of the four athletes we listed, only Yorks has raced outdoors in 2017 (though O’Hare did run the BAA 5K road race on April 15, clocking 13:46), so it’s hard to tell exactly what to expect. O’Hare, who made the World Championship final in 2013 and came close to making finals at the 2015 Worlds and 2016 Olympics, is the best pure 1500 guy in this field, but Jager has the fastest PR. And don’t sleep on collegian Adam Palamar, who was 5th in the NCAA indoor mile for Syracuse.
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Women’s 5000 (Section #1 at 12:15 a.m. ET)
World Championship standard: 15:22.00; USATF Championship standard: 15:25.00
Section 1 start list
1 11 Yukari Abe Impress Runn 2 36 Allie Buchalski Furman 3 94 Vanessa Fraser Unattached 4 114 Marielle Hall Nike 5 119 Sifan Hassan Global Sport 6 190 Riko Matsuzaki Sekisui Kaga 7 192 Eilish McColgan Nike 8 204 Kaori Morita Panasonic 9 213 Jessica O'Connell Unattached 10 223 Allie Ostrander Boise State 11 227 Lauren Paquette Brooks 12 232 Angela Petty New Zealand 13 259 Dominique Scott adidas 14 261 Andrea Seccafien University o 15 266 Nicole Sifuentes Kimbia Athle 16 281 Sara Sutherland Saucony 17 288 Charlotte Taylor San Francisc 18 294 Jess Tonn Brooks Beast 19 298 Nicole Tully Hoka One One 20 300 Kate Van Buskrik Unattached 21 305 Giulia Viola Diadora/Ital
The 800, 1500 and steeples are nice, but the best races at Payton Jordan are the long-distance events — the 5k and the 10k. First up on the docket is the women’s 5,000, headlined by the newest member of the Nike Oregon Project, the Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan. The last time Hassan raced here, she was 21 years old and still fairly anonymous on the global stage. But she won the 5k in 14:59 and since then has been one of the world’s best over 1500 meters, winning four Diamond League events, taking bronze at Worlds in 2015 and winning World Indoors last year. After an indoor season that saw her run 4:19 to win the Wanamaker Mile, don’t expect her to move up in distance anytime soon. But given the progress she’s made over the past three years, she should be capable of much faster than 14:59 if the pace is hot in Palo Alto.
Hassan is the favorite to win, but there is some depth behind her. 2015 U.S. champ Nicole Tully and 2016 Olympian Marielle Hall are both entered, and Hall ran a very impressive 15:08 on the roads in Boston on April 15, just two seconds off her track PR. She’s definitely got a shot to join the sub-15 club on Friday. Reigning NCAA champ Dominique Scott, now in her first full year as a pro with adidas, is coming off a 4:14 1500 win in Fayetteville two weeks ago. Canadians Kate Van Buskirk (4:30 mile/8:52 3k) and Nicole Sifuentes (4:29 mile/9:02 3k) were both in good form indoors as well.
Finally, there’s Boise State’s Allie Ostrander. Last week, the sophomore ran her first 5k since taking 8th at last year’s Olympic Trials, running 16:09 in Boise to win by over a minute. That should be enough to qualify her for the NCAA regional, but if she wants to go after a truly fast time, Payton Jordan is the place.
Men’s 5,000 (Section #1 at 12:35 a.m. ET)
World Championship standard: 13:22.60; USATF Championship standard: 13:32.00
Section 1 start list
1 322 Mo Ahmed Nike BtcAhmed is actually running the 10k 2 29 Nathan Brannen Nike 3 34 Luc Bruchet Asics/Canada 4 43 Kemoy Campbell New Balance 5 52 Edward Cheserek Oregon 6 65 Tommy Curtin Saucony 7 73 Trevor Dunbar Nike/Hudson 8 96 Gabriel Geay Posso Sports 9 121 Garrett Heath Brooks Beast 10 128 Caleb Hoover Asics Furman 11 154 Justyn Knight Syracuse 12 188 Riley Masters Unattached 13 194 Sam McEntee Melbourne Tr 14 198 Kyle Merber Hoka One One 15 200 Ross Millington Global Sport 16 214 Chris O'Hare BAA 17 218 Florian Orth LG Telis Fin 18 230 Erik Peterson Butler 19 264 Brian Shrader Saucony 20 287 Mike Tate Southern Uta 21 314 Daniel Winn BAA
Section 2 start list
1 13 Mohamed Ali Global Sport 2 18 eric avila Hoka One One 3 50 Matthew Centrowitz Nike Oregon 4 53 Adam Clarke Melbourne Tr 5 75 Staffan EK Hälle IF 6 117 Jonathan Harper BYU 7 123 Andrew Heyes Global Sport 8 131 Mohamed Hrezi Hansons-BROO 9 132 Drew Hunter adidas 10 135 Matt Jablonski Strava TC 11 170 Matthew Leach Strava TC / 12 172 Rory Linkletter BYU 13 208 Rob Mullett Atlanta Trac 14 238 Ross Proudfoot Unattached 15 241 Jack Rayner Melbourne Tr 16 250 Jim Rosa Atlanta Trac 17 256 Alfredo Santana adidas Garde 18 277 Joe Stilin Reebok/Zap F 19 289 Amon Terer Campbell 20 318 Clayton Young BYU
This is the most interesting event of the night. Oregon is unleashing Edward Cheserek to run an all-out 5,000, and there’s also the small matter of the Olympic 1500 meter champion, Matthew Centrowitz, making his outdoor debut in his first 5k since 2014. Fellow milers Nate Brannen (Olympic finalist), Kyle Merber (3:52 indoors) and Drew Hunter will all be stepping up as well, and Justyn Knight of Syracuse, who was 2nd at NCAAs in XC (ahead of Ches) and in the 3k indoors (just behind Ches), is also entered.
In all likelihood, Cheserek — or whoever Oregon picks to rabbit him — will be the one shaping this race, so let’s start with him. We don’t know what specific time Cheserek is targeting, but here are some potential goals:
- 13:18.71 — his PR from 2014 – that’s his freshman year at Oregon.
- 13:14.80 — Bill McChesney‘s 35-year-old UO school record
- 13:08.4 — Henry Rono‘s NCAA outdoor record from 1978
- 13:08.28 — Lawi Lalang‘s all-conditions NCAA record, set indoors in 2012
- 13:00.95 — the all-time fastest 5k by an NCAA athlete (Lalang ran this the summer after his junior year at Arizona)
There are several reasons to believe Cheserek, whose only race this year was a 28:46 glorified tempo at the first Stanford meet, is capable of much faster than the 13:18 he ran as a freshman. This time, he won’t have a 10,000m final in his legs from two days before (he ran that 13:18 at NCAAs). He’s also slimmer than he was in 2014 and has three more years of training under his belt. Considering all the NCAA titles Cheserek has run since then, his PRs at other distances (3:52 mile, 7:40 3k) and the fact that Lalang ran 13:03, 13:09 and 13:11 during the same summer that he barely beat Cheserek at NCAAs in 2014, Cheserek should have the fitness to run under 13:10.
The big question is whether he actually gets there. 13:10 pace is 7:54 for 3k, and anyone who can run that fast right now and is based in the U.S. probably wants to be racing, not pacing, at this time of year. Perhaps Oregon can convince a few guys in this field to work together, but that may be tough. Most of the best guys in this field are either trying to knock out the World Champs standard (13:22) or aren’t used to running 5ks; 13:10 may be too rich for their blood. Of course, this is the University of Oregon we’re talking about. With their resources and connections in the running world, they can probably find (pay?) someone to run Cheserek’s pace. Still, that will leave him with work to do over the final five laps or so. Nobody said setting records was easy. We’d set the over/under for Cheserek at 13:10.
The rest of the field is almost as intriguing. If Cheserek tries to run 13:10, will anyone go with him? What can Knight, who missed the Olympic standard of 13:25 by 1.36 seconds last year, run after stellar XC and indoor seasons?
And what about Centro in section 2? (By the way, how absurd is this: Payton Jordan is the first outdoor track race that Centrowitz has run in the U.S. since Rio. And Centrowitz — the U.S.’s first male Olympic champion in a distance event since 1972 — will be running in the slow heat.). He’s often said that he trains during the indoor season like a 3k/5k runner, and his 5k potential is a hotly-debated subject in the running world. He’s only run one since leaving the University of Oregon, clocking 13:20 at this meet three years ago (reminder: he didn’t race indoors that year due to a viral infection). Considering he’s picked up an Olympic gold medal in the interim, we’d expect him to be capable of faster on Friday, but it’s worth noting that he looked totally overmatched at 2 miles indoors at Millrose in February, running 8:21.
It will be interesting to see what happens with Centrowitz. It’s worth noting that when he ran the 5k here in 2014, he finished 9th in the fast heat — but that was in a race that was won in 13:02. It’s also possible he doesn’t race at all — he withdrew from last month’s Sun Angel Classic, his planned outdoor opener, citing a hamstring strain.
Centrowitz may just be happy with running a PR and dipping under 13:20. Only three Olympic 1500 champs have ever managed that.
Top 5 Olympic 1500 champions, by 5k PR
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Women’s 10,000 (Section #1 at 12:55 a.m. ET)
World Championship standard: 32:15.00; USATF Championship standard: 32:25.00
Section 1 start list
1 19 Meraf Bahta Hälle IF 2 59 Kim Conley New Balance 3 63 Amy Cragg Kimbia Athle 4 69 Obare Doricah Impress Runn 5 97 Gotytom Gebreslase adidas 6 105 Kaitlin Goodman Strava TC / 7 108 Alia Gray Roots Runnin 8 125 Madeline Hills adidas 9 134 Emily Infeld Kimbia Athle 10 189 mizuki matsuda Daihatsu 11 224 Sarah Pagano BAA 12 263 Hanami Sekine Japan Post G 13 321 Sammy Silva Nike Btc 14 268 Emily Sisson New Balance 15 282 Ayuko Suzuki Japan Post G 16 285 Yuka Takashima Shiseido Run 17 299 Miyuki Uehara Daiichi Seim 18 316 Alice Wright New Mexico
Several of the U.S.’s top 10,000 women will be in action here: 2015 World bronze medallist Emily Infeld, 2012 U.S. champ Amy Cragg, two-time Olympian Kim Conley and Emily Sisson, who has been on fire recently and ran 68:21 in her half marathon debut in New York in March (1:17 ahead of Cragg). Their finishing order will give a good indicator as to who has the inside track for the Worlds team behind American record holder Molly Huddle. We give the edge to Infeld, 11th in Rio last summer.
The top Americans should be competitive for the overall win, but Japan’s Ayuko Suzuki (31:18 for 3rd here last year) and Yuka Takashima (18th at the Olympics) could figure, as could Ethiopia’s Gotytom Gebreslase (31:14 pb).
Men’s 10,000 (Section #1 at 1:35 a.m. ET)
World Championship standard: 27:45.00; USATF Championship standard: 28:30.00
Section 1 start list
1 10 Bashir Abdi Belgium 2 12 George-Byron Alex Skechers/Ana 3 28 Soufiane Bouchikhi Unattached 4 71 Noah Droddy Roots Runnin 5 80 Kirubel Erassa Atlanta Trac 6 109 joseph gray Merrell 7 120 Callum Hawkins Moyo Sports 8 144 Stanley Kebenei Elite Athlet 9 151 shadrack kipchirchir US Army Wcap 10 195 David McNeill Melbourne Tr 11 196 Hassan Mead Nike Otc Eli 12 215 Minato Oishi Impress Runn 13 222 Luis Fernando Ostos Cruz Federación P 14 248 Jake Robertson Nike 15 260 Marc Scott Tulsa 16 267 Abbabiya Simbassa American Dis 17 278 Parker Stinson Saucony/Huds 18 293 Patrick Tiernan Melbourne Tr 19 303 Andy Vernon Melbourne Tr 20 322 Mo Ahmed Nike Btc
There are some intriguing names on the start list here that make this race worth staying up for, even if the race won’t finish until a little before 2 a.m. on the East Coast. NCAA XC champ Patrick Tiernan, who finished 13th at World XC in March (the top non-African-born finisher), is in fine shape, and he’ll deal with fellow Olympians Hassan Mead, Shadrack Kipchirchir (who won the 5k at Payton Jordan last year) and Callum Hawkins, who had run 60:00 and 60:08 in two half marathons this year but hasn’t run a race on the track for almost two years. Diego Estrada (61:54, running in section 2) and cult hero Noah Droddy (61:48) also ran solid times at the NYC Half, though both finished well behind Hawkins.
The best guy in the field, though, is Canada’s Mo Ahmed, who was 4th in the Olympic 5k last year. Ahmed is listed as a late addition to the 5k, but a source informs us that he’ll actually be running the 10,000. Ahmed, who bombed in the 10k in Rio (32nd in 29:32), needs a qualifier for Worlds in the longer event. Cam Levins‘ Canadian record of 27:07 may be out of reach (Ahmed could well get it some day, but it would require better competition than what he’s facing here) but he shouldn’t have a problem running under 27:45 as Ahmed looked great in running 13:04 and beating a bunch of studs in the BU 5k indoors.
Other men to watch include New Zealand’s Jake Robertson (who has run 27:55 and 60:01 on the roads this year), Stanley Kebenei (running his first 10k as a pro) and Brit Andy Vernon, who won this race in 2015. Tulsa’s Marc Scott is the only collegian in the field, but after the way he ran indoors (2nd in the NCAA 5k, 3rd in the 3k), he shouldn’t be overmatched. The collegiate leader is Alabama’s Alfred Chelanga at 28:04, and Scott could definitely better that on Friday.
More: Follow the action live and talk about it on our fan forum: Official 2017 Payton Jordan Discussion Thread
Doha DL Meet Preview
Editor’s note: Heat sheets came out shortly after this article was published. The article has been updated accordingly.
- Women's Running
- Men's Running
- Emily Infeld
- Evan Jager
- Edward Cheserek
- Kim Conley
- Emily Sisson
- Patrick Tiernan
- 3000 Steeple
- Matthew Centrowitz
- Diego Estrada
- Marielle Hall
- Sifan Hassan
- Hassan Mead
- Eric Jenkins
- Garrett Heath
- Kyle Merber
- Mo Ahmed
- Shadrack Kipchirchir
- Justyn Knight
- Callum Hawkins
- Allie Ostrander
- Amy Cragg
- Payton Jordan Invitational