NBIGP Preview: WR Alert: Christian Coleman Goes For History, Jenny Simpson Battles Emma Coburn, King Ches Races Gebrhiwet & More
February 10, 2018
The lone US stop on the IAAF World Indoor Tour should be a dandy as the fastest man in history at 60m, Christian Coleman, will go for the WR in a matchup that features America’s top two young sprint talents as Noah Lyles (200m DL champ) is also in the race. Emma Coburn battles Jenny Simpson for the first time on the track since ditching coach Mark Wetmore, and Edward Cheserek takes a big step up in class and battles Ethiopian stars Hagos Gebrhiwet and Dejen Gebremeskel in the men’s 3000 — just a day after he tries to break 3:50 in the mile. Plus the return of Boris Berian.
*MB: Official 2018 NBIGP Discussion Thread: Christian Coleman in the 60, King Ches vs Hagos & Simpson v Coburn in 3k + BB Returns
February 8, 2018
BOSTON – The lone US stop on the IAAF World Indoor Tour takes place on Saturday in Boston at the Reggie Lewis Center with the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. In the US, the meet will be broadcast on TV on NBCSN (it’s also on NBC Gold for subscribers) from 5-7 p.m. ET. For viewing options for the rest of the world, check back later.
As is always the case, the meet should be a dandy as the fastest man in history at 60m, Christian Coleman, will go for the WR in a matchup that features America’s top two young sprint talents as Noah Lyles (200m DL champ) is also in the race. Emma Coburn battles Jenny Simpson for the first time on the track since ditching coach Mark Wetmore, and Edward Cheserek takes a big step up in class and battles Ethiopian stars Hagos Gebrhiwet and Dejen Gebremeskel in the men’s 3000 — just a day after he tries to break 3:50 in the mile.
Since the meet is a week before USAs, there aren’t as many U.S. stars as normal.
We preview all of the IAAF World Tour events plus a few others for you below. They appear in the order they take place so you can print this out and use it as a program.
Prize money in IAAF World Tour events (W HJ, M TJ, M 60H, W 400, M 60, M 800, W 1500, M 3000): 1st $3000 2nd $1500 3rd $1000 4th $750 5th $500 6th $300
Note: Since we published this preview, there were some late scratches/additions to the fields, which we have noted below
Bold = IAAF World Tour Event
Women’s high jump (4:00 p.m. ET)
This is an official IAAF World Indoor Tour event, which means guaranteed prize money for the top six women in the field, including $3,000 for first. Which is why we’re surprised that more of the U.S.’s top jumpers aren’t competing here — there are only five women in all, and just one American, Amina Smith, whose SB of 1.86 meters puts her seventh on the 2018 list. Perhaps, with USAs a week away, women such as Vashti Cunningham have decided to rest up in order to be at their best in Albuquerque. Canada’s Alyxandria Treasure has the top season’s best in the field at 1.89m.
LRC prediction: We’ll take Treasure, who tied her indoor PR last week in Karlsruhe, FTW.
Men’s Triple Jump (4:33 p.m. ET)
As is the case with the women’s high jump, there are fewer entrants (4) in this than there are prize money spots (6), so if you know of a triple jumper in the Boston area, have them contact meet organizers as 5th place will pay out $500 and 6th $300. The four competitors are as follows.
Chris Carter, the 2016 US indoor champ is back after serving a nine-month ban as a supplement he knew he was taking had ostarine in it. In 2016, Carter won USA with a 17.06m leap but didn’t get to go to World Indoors as the qualifying window closed the week before. He did get 6th at World Indoors in 2014. He has a 17.18m pb and 16.79 sb which means he’s ranked #5 in the world indoors right now. Former Iowa jumper Troy Doris, a Chicago native who was 7th in Rio for Guyana, has a 17.18m pb and 16.46 sb. 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Leevan Sands is still giving it a go at age 36. His 17.59 pb dates to 2008 and he has a 15.83m sb. Donald Scott, the 2017 US indoor champ who made Worlds after finishing third at USAs outdoors, is currently #3 in the world thanks to his 17.03m sb (his outdoor pb is 17.25).
LRC Prediction: Scott FTW.
Women’s 60 hurdles (5:04 p.m. ET)
Five of the six women in this field are American, but considering the United States is the best in the world when it comes to the high hurdles, that’s a good thing (the U.S. went 1-2 at this event at 2016 World Indoors and 1-2-3 in the 100 hurdles at the 2016 Olympics). Currently Christina Manning (7.77 sb, #1 in the world) and Sharika Nelvis (7.80 sb, #2 in the world) are tied atop the standings in the World Indoor Tour with 17 points apiece as they went 1-2 in Karlsruhe on Saturday and flip-flopped in Dusseldorf on Tuesday.
LRC prediction: Manning isn’t racing in Boston, leaving the path open for Nelvis to claim victory. None of the other women in this field have broken 8.00 this season; Nelvis broken 7.90 four times in the last week.
UPDATE: With Manning in the field, it’s basically a toss-up between Nelvis and Manning. We’ll stick with Nelvis.
Women’s 800 (5:10 p.m. ET)
Five-time NCAA champ Raevyn Rogers runs for the first time individually in an 800 since turning pro and joining Derek Thompson’s group (although Rogers trains remotely from Oregon). Last week, Rogers split 2:00.45 as part of the 4 x 800 WR team that set a new 8:05.89 WR. As a result, she’s our pick to win.
The women with better PBs than Rogers’ 1:59.10 don’t appear to be in great form. 2012 European champ Lynsey Sharp, who has run 1:58 or faster in each of the last four years outdoors and has the best pb of anyone in the field (1:57.69), only has a 2:04.97 sb and only split 2:03 last week. Charlene Lipsey, who was a breakout star for Coach Thompson last year, is also in this one but she hasn’t been very good this year. Last year, Lipsey ran 1:58.64 indoors but this year she only ran 2:03.74 at the Dr. Sander Invite and only split 2:01.98 last week.
Carly Muscaro is a real intriguing name to watch. If you are looking to impress your friends, tell them to take a close look at Muscaro. The NCAA DII champ at 200 and 400 last year for Merrimack has moved up to the 800 this year and quickly found a future home. She’s undefeated on the year having run 2:03.48 and 52.35. Her pbs coming into the year were 7.64 for 60, 11.69 for 100, 23.22 for 200, 51.17 for 400 and 2:08.29 for 800.
23-year-old Canadian Jenna Westaway is in the form of her life, having run an outright 2:01.50 pb for third at the Dr. Sander Invite. She has also PR’d at 600 (1:28.29) and the mile this year (4:36.17). The last entrant is Jamaican Olympian Simoya Campbell, who has run 1:59.26 in the past but only 2:05 this year.
LRC Pick: Rogers opens her individual pro career in style — with a win.
Women’s 400 (5:25 p.m. ET)
|Lisanne de Witte||NED|
400-meter world champion Phyllis Francis (still sounds a little weird, doesn’t it?) is the class of this field and the reigning U.S. champion in the 300 as well. She opened up last week by running 36.85 for 300 to win at Texas A&M (for reference, her winning time at USAs last year was 36.15) and will be favored to win here again. She’ll have some competition in last year’s NCAA indoor champion, Shakima Wimbley (52.11 on January 27 in New York), veteran Natasha Hastings (52.87 in Karlsruhe on Saturday), and hurdle specialist Shamier Little (who finished .13 behind Francis at Texas A&M), but this is Francis’s race to lose.
LRC prediction: Francis isn’t just the reigning world champ outdoors; she’s also the American record holder in this event (50.46), which she set four years ago while still in college at Oregon. She’s your winner.
Men’s 1500 (5:40 p.m. ET)
This non-IAAF World Indoor Tour event has an intriguing field. Separating a lot of them is difficult as a slew of them raced each other in NY last week at Millrose in the 3k and they all ran 7:47.
.45 of a second separated those five guys who are all racing in this one. Of those five, we’d probably say Andy Bayer and Hamish Carson have the best shot in this one as they have the best 1500 pbs of the five (3:34 for Bayer, 3:36 for Carson). Butchart and Campbell are both great runners and both made the 5000 final at Worlds last year but 1500 is a bit short for them and Oakley only has a 3:41 pb.
Regardless, we think there is one clear favorite in the field and it’s Chris O’Hare as he won the Wanamaker Mile in 3:54 last week. If he loses, and the winner isn’t named Bayer or Carson, it will probably be Craig Engels. The former Ole Miss star has a 3:35.95 pb and is now running for the NOP. However, his 2018 campaign hasn’t gone quite as planned.
He opened up great two weeks ago with a 3:57.35 win at the Armory but the problem was his coaches told him to not worry about the time and he didn’t pick up the 3:55.00 World Indoor standard (it’s 3:39.50 for the 1500). In hindsight, it’s clear they should have told him “Don’t worry about time as long as you go with the rabbit.” So instead of running the 800 as originally planned last week, he decided to worry about the time and chase it (but this time on a flat track at Camel City) in another mile and didn’t get it (3:58.81). Since that didn’t work out, now he’s got to try again this week. And then run the 1500 again next week at USAs. So that would be 1500/miles four weeks in a row. Far from ideal.
And get this. For some crazy reason, he’s also entered in the mile at BU on Saturday. The field is vastly inferior to this field and it’s way harder to qualify for World Indoors in the mile (3:55 flat) versus 1500 (3:39.50, which is about a 3:57 mile). If he ends up trying at BU and not here, whoever is guiding him should be reprimanded for mismanagement.
UPDATE: Engels has scratched from NBIGP and will be running at BU instead.
LRC Prediction: O’Hare keeps it rolling and wins. Engels gets the standard (if he runs at NBIGP and not BU). It drives us nuts that each individual American has to get the standard for Worlds. A young talent like Engels should be getting ready to try to take on the world — not chasing a fairly modest standard each week. The IAAF ought to say if a country has five people with the standard it can send whichever two it likes.
Did you know? There are three former NCAA champs in this one in Andy Bayer (2012 1500), Chris O’Hare (2012 mile) and Mac Fleet (2013 and 2014 1500).
Men’s 60 (5:50 p.m. ET)
This might be the race of the night. 21-year-old Christian Coleman and 20-year-old Noah Lyles are being hailed as “The Future of U.S. Sprinting,” but really, that’s a disservice to what these two young men have already accomplished. Coleman has run 9.82 in the 200 (top-10 all-time), 6.37 in the 60 (faster than anyone ever, even if it’s not a WR), and has beaten Usain Bolt and earned a silver medal at Worlds. Noah Lyles is the world record holder in the indoor 300 and the Diamond League champion in the 200. These guys aren’t just the future of U.S. sprinting; they’re the present, too. (Before we move on, let’s give a shoutout to 22-year-old Trayvon Bromell, who was hurt last year but ran 9.84 as a 19-year-old and earned World Champs bronze at 20. Bromell isn’t racing in this one).
Coleman and Lyles make for an intriguing study in opposites. Coleman is quiet, serious, humble. Lyles is louder, loose, and confident, with a smile that can light up a room. Coleman has arguably the best start in the world; Lyles comes on strong and has the endurance to move up to the 400 one day. Their ideal crossover distance is probably 150 meters — this race will take place at 60 meters, Coleman’s turf — but the chance to see them together in the same race is a treat for U.S. track fans.
And for those curious, Coleman and Lyles have raced each other before. Their last matchup came in the 100m final of the 2015 Pan Am Junior Champs in Edmonton, where Lyles ran 10.18 to Coleman’s 10.32 (Lyles took the silver, Coleman the bronze).
In Boston, Coleman is the clear favorite (you earn that status when you run the fastest time in history in your last race) and with an SB over two-tenths faster than anyone else, the question is “How fast can he go?” Traditionally the straightaway in Boston hasn’t been the fastest (no one has broken 6.50 here since 2004) and a world record is, by definition, an outlier performance. Anyone expecting Coleman to run 6.37 again is asking too much.
But it’s also true that no one as fast as Coleman has raced at the Reggie Lewis Center for some time, and Maurice Greene did clock 6.45 here back in 1999. If Coleman can get under 6.50, that will be a great run.
One other man to keep an eye on is Christopher Belcher, who was third at USAs in the 100 last year.
LRC prediction: It would be foolish to pick anyone other than Coleman. Coleman FTW but no WR. The WR will fall at altitude next week at USAs.
Men’s 800 (6:00 p.m. ET)
The men’s 800 is full of talent. Where to begin?
20-year-old US star Donavan Brazier runs in this one, fresh off of a 1:45.35 indoor pb at Millrose last week which moved him to #2 all-time in US history.
It also includes 21-year-old German Marc Reuther who ran 1:45.22 last summer and has already run 1:46.51 indoors this year — just .01 off the World Indoor standard.
It features Britain’s great young hope in 22-year-old Kyle Langford, who was 4th at Worlds last year and just ran a 1:46.43 indoor pb at Millrose last week.
Kenya’s Edward Kemboi, the 2015 NCAA champ indoors and out, is also in this one at age 24.
Those names make this event intriguing, but when you add in the fact that this race also will serve as the return to action for Boris Berian, the 2016 World Indoor champ who will be hoping to finish a race for the first time since finishing 8th in the Rio Olympic final, then it becomes must-watch drama.
LRC Prediction: To expect Berian to take down Brazier in his first race in a year and a half wouldn’t be fair. Brazier FTW. We’re definitely going to talk to Berian at the pre-race press conference on Friday but Brazier is our pick to win.
If we were coaching Brazier, we’d really have wanted him run in a non-rabbitted race somewhere this winter. He needs to work on tactics. We’d have looked for the college section of a meet in Boston maybe on Friday to get him used to running rounds (although we wouldn’t want to do that the week before USAs, where he’ll also have to rounds).
Women’s 1500 (6:10 p.m. ET)
Aisha Praught-Leer, coming off the biggest win of her life at Millrose (8:41.10 3k pb), is clearly in great form, and Dominique Scott-Efurd, who finished just .08 behind Praught-Leer in NYC, is also entered here. But neither woman is a 1500 specialist, and they’ll be hard-pressed to keep up with two women who are: Ethiopians Dawit Seyaum and Gudaf Tsegay, both of whom medalled in this event at the last World Indoors. One of those women is likely your winner here as Seyaum has run 3:58 outdoors and Tsegay 3:59. Neither has a 2018 indoor result yet, though Tsegay did run 8:40 in the 3k at Boston University last week, only to be DQ’d for cutting in too early.
Ireland’s Ciara Mageean impressed by taking third in the Wanamaker Mile last week, running 4:30, while Germany’s Diana Sujew clocked 4:08 in the 1500 in Dusseldorf on Tuesday.
LRC prediction: Seyaum is better than Tsegay, but we know Tsegay is fit while Seyaum hasn’t raced yet this year. We’ll still take Seyaum for the win. Both women already have the World Indoor standard, but we could still see a fast pace as that’s the easiest way for them to win the race — get out hard and thin out the competition.
Men’s 300 (6:25 pm ET)
This is a very interesting race. Bralon Taplin, who was fourth in the 400 at the Rio Olympics, is the world leader at 400 at 44.88. Jereem Richards, who won the bronze in the 200 at Worlds last summer (and gold in the 4 x 400), has run 20.52 this year for 200. Here they clash at 300.
We don’t think the other two in the field will contend for the win. Vernon Norwood, the 2015 NCAA champ, only ran 46.75 for 2nd at Millrose last week. Renny Quow, the 2009 Worlds bronze medallist at 400, has run a 62.50 500 this year.
LRC prediction: A very tough call. To pick against a world leader seems dumb but that’s what we are going to do — Richards FTW.
Women’s 3000 (6:32 p.m. ET)
The final women’s event of the night features New Balance’s two biggest female stars in Jenny Simpson and Emma Coburn. In the past, the two former training partners have been kept apart in this meet or, as they were last year, placed on the same team to chase a record in a relay. But the sport is better when the big names race each other, so kudos to Simpson, Coburn, and the meet organizers for putting them in the same race this year. Watching Simpson and Coburn race each other is more interesting from a “what if” standpoint than seeing them team up to race the clock in a relay, though we can’t deny that the atmosphere in the building last year was electric during the final laps of the DMR as Simpson tried (and succeeded) to break the WR.
Coburn is coming off a seven-second PR of 8:41 at Millrose last week, but Simpson is the better runner overall (she ran 8:42 in college and her outdoor PR is 8:29) and even though she usually only races once indoors, she doesn’t show up to this meet out of shape. She split a solo 4:27 here last year in the 1600, ran 9:26 for 2 miles in 2014, and 9:18 for 2 miles in 2015.
As for the other women in this field, Brit Steph Twell ran 8:45 last year indoors and could be a threat if she’s in shape. Ethiopian Fotyen Tesfay is a wild card as she ran 8:47 for 4th at the World U20 champs in 2016 but has only raced once on the track since then.
There’s also a nice matchup of past and present University of Colorado stars as reigning NCAA 3k champ Dani Jones is also entered. Jones ran 4:36.05 in the mile last week at altitude in Boulder (which converts to 4:29.32 on the NCAA qualifying list), and broke Emma Coburn’s Colorado state record of 4:38.08 which only lasted two weeks. It should be pointed out however that Coburn’s mark was done at 7,717 feet versus 5,378 feet for Jones and Coburn’s mark would convert to 4:25.92 if she were still in the NCAA.
LRC prediction: As well as Coburn ran last week, Simpson > Coburn when it comes to flat events. Simpson doesn’t usually race much indoors, so we don’t expect her to be in peak shape, but she has too much professionalism to show up here and half-ass it. Simpson FTW.
Men’s 3000 (6:47 p.m. ET)
|Benjamin de Haan||NED|
The 2018 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix ends with a men’s 3000 that may turn into a battle between 2018 world leader Hagos Gebrhiwet, the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist at 5000 (another bronze in 2015 and silver in 2013) and former NCAA superstar Edward Cheserek.
Last Saturday, Gebrhiwet established himself as the favorite for World Indoors with a 7:37.91 world-leading win over Yomif Kejelcha in Karlsruhe. It would be fantastic to see how Cheserek stacks up against Gebrhiwet as for years Cheserek has looked for the most part unbeatable at the NCAA level. But it’s easy to appear unbeatable when you are almost exclusively racing guys with much slower PBs than you. However, we may not get a true idea of how Cheserek stacks up as he has an excuse if he under performs as he’s trying to break 3:50 in the mile in another race in Boston the day before.
A third potential winner is 2012 Olympic silver medallist Dejen Gebremeskel, who returns to action after a lost 2017 during which he didn’t race at all in Europe and only recorded at 13:25 sb, a year after he was only 12th in Rio (and he didn’t make Worlds in 2015).
Cyrus Rutto won the Kenyan 5000 trials last year but that’s not saying much as the Kenyan 5000 runners have been horrific the last few years (he was dead last in the final at Worlds). The only other guy whom we could possibly fathom winning this would be Adel Mechaal of Spain, the 2017 European indoor 3k champ. If the race is tactical, Mechaal, who ran 7:40 on February 3 and then 7:42 on February 6, might like his chances as he was 4th at Worlds in 2017 outdoors in the 1500. However, we understand this thing is going to be rabbitted to be fast – 4:03 first 1600..
Most of the rest of the guys in the field will be looking for the World Indoor standard of 7:52.00, including Ben Rainero de Haan — aka the man who has been racing in the LetsRun.com singlet and blogging about it: MB: Can I break 7:52 for 3000? Unfortunately, the California-born de Haan won’t be racing in the signature yellow singlet of LetsRun.com on Saturday as it’s been banned by the IAAF. The club logo (LetsRun.com) apparently can only be the size of a credit card in an official IAAF event. If you are a graphic designer or know how to make screens and would like to help us coming up with 40 cm2 logo for future competitions, please email us. Maybe we’ll have him write LRC in a black marker on his shirt as we want to officially lower the LRC pb (currently 7:58.52).
LRC Prediction: Gebrhiwet is fresh and he has a better CV — Hagos FTW.
Talk about the meet on our fan forum / messageboard: Official 2018 NBIGP Discussion Thread: Christian Coleman in the 60, King Ches vs Hagos & Simpson v Coburn in 3k + BB Returns