2018 Payton Jordan Preview: Centro vs. Chelimo in a Loaded 1500 Highlights; Justyn Knight (5K) & Shadrack Kipchirchir (10K) Lead Distance Fields
May 03, 2018
Chelimo vs Centro for the first time.
May 3, 2018
Usually the purpose of Stanford’s Payton Jordan Invitational (at least for the top pros competing) is to hit World Championship/Olympic standards in the distance races. That’s not the case this year, as the qualifying window for the 2019 Worlds hasn’t opened in any distance event save for the 10,000, and even there the standard has not been published (it was 27:45.00 in 2017).
Even so, the general purpose of the meet remains the same: get a bunch of great athletes together under perfect conditions and see how fast they can go.
|What: 2018 Payton Jordan Invitational
Where: Cobb Track and Angell Field, Palo Alto, Calif.
When: Thursday, May 3, 2018
How to watch: Live on Flotrack Pro (requires subscription)
Entries/section assignments * Schedule * Live results
And as usual, there is plenty of talent on hand. All of the following athletes are entered in Thursday’s meet: Eric Jenkins (800/1500), Matthew Centrowitz (1500), Paul Chelimo (1500), Craig Engels (1500), Grant Fisher (1500), Jakob Ingebrigtsen (1500), Sean McGorty (1500), Drew Windle (1500), Filip Ingebrigtsen (5k), Justyn Knight (5k), Andy Trouard (5k), Shadrack Kipchirchir (10k), Elise Cranny (1500), Katie Mackey (5k), Meraf Bahta (5k), Stephanie Garcia (5k), Ednah Kurgat (5k), Allie Ostrander (5k).
The men’s 1500 is the highlight of the meet and we start with that and then go with races by the order they are run at the meet.
Men’s 1500 (Section #1 at 12:17 a.m. ET)
USATF Outdoor Championships standard: 3:39.00
Section 1 start list
Event 9 Men 1500 m Section 1 (9) =============================================================================== Name Year School =============================================================================== 1 143 Colby Alexander Hoka One One 2 168 Matthew Centrowitz Nike Oregon 3 169 Paul Chelimo Unattached 4 189 Craig Engels Nike OP 5 197 Grant Fisher Stanford 6 216 Jakob Ingebrigtsen Jrs Sports M 7 217 Eric Jenkins Nike OP 8 244 Sean McGorty Stanford 9 270 David Ribich Western Oreg
This is the race of the night. You’ve got the reigning Olympic 1500 champ, the reigning Olympic 5000 silver medalist, the world’s youngest-ever sub-4:00 miler, plus Grant Fisher, Craig Engels, and Eric Jenkins (last year’s winner). Look at those nine names on the start list and there’s a reason to be excited about every single one of them (and if you haven’t heard of DII star David Ribich by now, who made the 1500 final at USAs last year, you haven’t been paying attention).
Matthew Centrowitz is the guy we’re most interested to watch, and not just because he’s the Olympic champ. After an injury-plagued 2017 season that saw him exit in the first round at Worlds, Centrowitz relocated to the East Coast from Portland, where he can work more closely with his father Matt (though Alberto Salazar remains his primary coach). Centro went to Australia in March, and though his 3:37 opener in Sydney was solid, his 1:53.25 800 five days later in Brisbane was not — it was his slowest 800 time since high school and caused him to cut the trip short.
Centro is still only 28 and remains a supreme talent, so there’s obviously no need to panic. Still, it will be interesting to see what he’s capable of on Thursday coming off altitude camp in Flagstaff. He’s by no means a lock as several of these guys have been running well recently. His Nike Oregon Project teammate Engels was 7th at World Indoors in March, while Ribich (3:37.35 two weeks ago at Bryan Clay) and Colby Alexander (3:56.07 last week at Penn) have both run pretty quickly recently. Jenkins won the Wanamaker Mile last year but he’s also entered in the 800 and may be doubling back.
But Centrowitz’s biggest competition is Paul Chelimo. Chelimo blew away 1500 specialists Engels and Ben Blankenship to win the 1500 at USA Indoors, and the question now is how fast can he go? He ran his PR of 3:39.33 a few weeks after the Olympics in 2016, but should be capable of going far faster than that. Remember, Evan Jager has run 3:32 for 1500, and Chelimo is a better 3k/5k runner than Jager (and Chelimo, unlike Jager, has won a USA 1500 title, albeit indoors). Jager’s PR did come in great conditions with Garrett Heath serving as a de facto rabbit, and it’s unlikely that the race sets up that perfectly for Chelimo, even at Stanford. But as the Olympic silver medalist at 5,000, Chelimo may have a 3:31 in his legs in the right race — maybe faster.
Stanford’s NCAA 5k champ Fisher is the reigning Pac-12 1500 champ but hasn’t tackled a really fast attempt at the distance since he’s been in college. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him in the 3:36-3:37 range. Jakob Ingebrigtsen ran 3:39 last year as a 16 year-old and will open his outdoor season in this race.
World Indoor 800 medalist Drew Windle highlights section 2, where he’ll try to lower his 3:44 pb.
|[gravityform action=”polls” id=”677″ mode=”poll” cookie=”1 month” show_results_link=”false” display_results=”true” percentages=”true” counts=”false” ajax=”true”]|
Women’s 800 (Section #1 at 11:13 p.m. ET)
USATF Outdoor Championships standard: 2:03.00
Section 1 start list
1 12 Lindsey Butterworth Coastal Trac 2 51 Lauren Johnson BAA 3 68 Alethia Marrero Arizona Stat 4 71 Cory McGee Unattached 5 116 Ashley Taylor Northern Ari 6 131 Jenna Westaway Brooks Canad 7 132 Chrishuna Williams Stubbs Manag
The top American in the field is 2016 Olympian Chrishuna Williams (5th at USAs last year), who has won the last three Payton Jordan 800s, but this race is about the Canadians. With Canadian 800 queen Melissa Bishop taking the year off to have a child, the title of Canada’s top 800 woman is now wide open and three of the top candidates are in this race. 23-year-old Canadian Jenna Westaway was second at the Canadian champs last year and made big progress indoors after joining the Big Bear Track Club — all three of her times were faster than her previous overall pb of 2:01.89. But there’s also Lindsey Butterworth (3rd at last year’s Canadian champs, early 2018 Canadian outdoor leader at 2:04.25) and Northern Arizona’s Ashley Taylor, who is still new to the event (she only took it up last year) but finished 4th at NCAA indoors in March.
Women’s 1500 (Section #1 at 12:10 a.m. ET)
USATF Outdoor Championships standard: 4:11.00
Section 1 start list
1 3 Christina Aragon Stanford 2 22 Elise Cranny Stanford 3 37 Dana Giordano Reebok 4 43 Hanna Hermansson Bizz-Sports 5 88 Whittni Orton BYU 6 105 Claudia Saunders District Tra 7 106 Stephanie Schappert Hoka One One 8 122 Nicole Tully Hoka One One 9 125 Sara Vaughn Unattached/N 10 127 Carina Viljoen Arkansas
Sophomore Christina Aragon (4:08 pb) and senior Elise Cranny (4:09 pb), Stanford’s top two middle-distance women, are the top two collegians in the field, which is highlighted by 2017 World Champs semifinalist Sara Vaughn. The current NCAA leader is Mississippi State’s Rhianwedd Price-Weimer at 4:10.31, but both Aragon and Cranny have run faster at their best. There’s also the sibling rivalry between NJ*NY Track Club’s Stephanie Schappert and Nicole Tully. In their last meeting, at the 2017 Adrian Martinez Classic, Tully came out on top in the mile, 4:30.22 to 4:32.49, with Schappert taking third.
Women’s 5000 (Section #1 at 12:24 a.m. ET)
USATF Outdoor Championships standard: 15:25.00
Section 1 start list
1 4 Meraf Bahta Hälle IF 2 30 Vanessa Fraser Stanford 3 31 Yui Fukuda Toyota Welln 4 34 Stephanie Garcia New Balance 5 45 Madeline Hills adidas 6 53 Weini Kelati New Mexico 7 54 Tomoka Kimura Universal En 8 55 Maureen Koster Unattached 9 56 Ednah Kurgat New Mexico 10 60 Mel Lawrence Oiselle 11 65 Katie Mackey Brooks Beast 12 66 Margherita Magnani G.A. Fiamme 13 79 Rina Nabeshima Japan Post G 14 80 Amy-Eloise Neale Washington 15 84 Linn Nilsson Hälle IF 16 86 Jessica O'Connell Unattached 17 89 Allie Ostrander Boise State 18 107 Rachel Schneider Under Armour 19 109 Nicole Sifuentes Saucony 20 123 Kate Van Buskrik Nike 21 134 Alice Wright New Mexico
Sweden’s Meraf Bahta, who owns a 14:49 pb and has finished 6th and 9th in the last two global 1500 finals, is the class of this field (she also won the 10k here last year), but there are several intriguing names behind her. Australia’s Madeline Hills was 10th in the 2016 Olympic final. Katie Mackey, coming off an 8th-place finish at the World Indoor 3k, will look to lower her 15:04 pb. Other notable pro entries include steeple specialist Stephanie Garcia (15:16 pb), who was 4th in the Drake Relays 2-mile last week in 9:37, and Nicole Sifuentes (15:19 pb), who looked good in winning the BAA Mile last month. Plus Rachel Schneider looks ready to lower her 15:33 pb after finishing 2nd in the Drake 2-mile to Jenny Simpson in 9:31. Mackey, Garcia, Sifuentes, and Scheider all set their 5k pbs at Stanford.
Among the collegians, Stanford’s Vanessa Fraser is in terrific form, coming off a huge 1500 PR of 4:10, which she ran two weeks ago. But she’s always been better at the 3k/5k, which suggests that Karissa Schweizer‘s 15:23.21 NCAA leader is in serious jeopardy (Fraser’s PR is 15:25). The Stanford school record of 15:11.13 (Aisling Cuffe) may be a bit too much to ask, but Fraser could put herself above Lauren Fleshman (15:20.44) and Sara Hall (15:24.74) on the Cardinal’s star-studded all-time list. There’s also NCAA XC champion Ednah Kurgat of New Mexico, NCAA XC runner-up Amy-Eloise Neale of Washington, and NCAA steeple champ Allie Ostrander of Boise State. If one of them can dip into the low 15:10s, they might have a chance to challenge the mighty Schweizer at NCAAs next month.
Men’s 5,000 (Section #1 at 12:44 a.m. ET)
USATF Outdoor Championships standard: 13:35.00
Section 1 start list
1 158 Hillary Bor WCAP 2 164 Luc Bruchet Canada 3 173 Yeman Crippa Nike/Italy 4 175 Tommy Curtin Saucony Free 5 214 Filip Ingebrigtsen Jrs Sports M 6 215 Henrik Ingebrigtsen Jrs Sports M 7 222 Isaac Kimeli Olympic Runn 8 224 Justyn Knight Syracuse 9 228 Lawi Lalang Unattached 10 239 Riley Masters Nike 11 247 Mahiedine Mekhissi Unattached 12 257 Julian Oakley Ocean State 13 287 Andy Trouard Northern Ari 14 297 Henry Wynne Brooks Beast 15 298 Izaic Yorks Brooks Beast
Syracuse’s Justyn Knight upset Edward Cheserek to win this race last year in 13:17.51, which remains his PR a year later. Matt Baxter‘s 13:31.00 NCAA leader looks set to fall, but how much faster can Knight run? Or will Baxter’s NAU teammate Andy Trouard, who surprisingly defeated Knight to win the NCAA 3k title in March, do the same again here?
Knight’s time puts him sixth on Track & Field News‘ all-time NCAA 5k list. Here are the men above him:
|13:08.28i||Lawi Lalang’ (Arizona)||2/11/12|
|13:08.4||Henry Rono’ (Washington St)||4/08/78|
|13:13.74i||Stephen Sambu’ (Arizona)||2/11/02|
|13:15.33||Diego Estrada’ (Northern Arizona)||4/28/13|
|13:16.98||Alistair Cragg’ (Arkansas)||4/30/04|
|13:17.51||Justyn Knight’ (Syracuse)||5/05/17|
Knight certainly has a chance to lower his time from last year. Since he ran 13:17, he’s made the World Champs final, won NCAA XC, run PRs over 1500 (3:36), the mile (3:55), and 3k (7:45), and won the NCAA indoor 5k title. That 3:36, in fact, puts him #7 on the NCAA’s all-time 1500 list, and Knight is definitely a stronger 5k runner than 1500 runner.
But will anyone else be willing to chase a 13:15 or faster? There are only two other guys in the field who have broken 13:20: Lawi Lalang (13:00 pb, but hasn’t broken 13:20 in three years) and Riley Masters (13:17 pb, won US road mile champs last week).
Payton Jordan is all about chasing pbs. Here are four guys who could challenge Knight and dip under 13:20:
- Yeman Crippa (13:23 pb): Crippa ran 13:23 last year indoors at age 20. Now 21, the Italian is actually three months younger than Knight.
- Filip Ingebrigtsen (debut): Ingebrigtsen ran 3:32 last year and earned the bronze medal at Worlds in the 1500.
- Isaac Kimeli (13:24): The 24-year-old Belgian ran a 13-second PR of 13:24 to almost defeat Evan Jager at the Bryan Clay Invite two weeks ago and could go even faster here.
- Mahiedine Mekhissi (debut): The Frenchman has never run a professional 5,000 (according to Tilastopaja), but with PRs of 3:33 and 8:00 (steeple), he could be dangerous. At 33, the Frenchman may be past his prime, but he did finish 4th at Worlds last year in the steeple. If you’re running the Payton Jordan 5k, we’d advise you right now to make sure you don’t step inside the rail.
|[gravityform action=”polls” id=”678″ mode=”poll” cookie=”1 month” show_results_link=”false” display_results=”true” percentages=”true” counts=”false” ajax=”true”]|
Men’s 10,000 (Section #1 at 1:40 a.m. ET)
USATF Outdoor Championships standard: 28:40.00
Section 1 start list
1 147 Samuel Barata Unattached 2 148 François Barrer Unattached 3 150 Matthew Baxter Northern Ari 4 160 Soufiane Bouchikhi Bizz-Sports 5 171 Ben Connor Moyo Sports 6 178 Tyler Day Northern Ari 7 179 Simon Debognies Olympic Runn 8 185 Noah Droddy Saucony/Root 9 195 Scott Fauble Hoka One One 10 200 Ivan Gonzalez Posso Sports 11 201 Mauricio Gonzalez Gonzalez Posso Sports 12 204 Jonathan Green Georgetown 13 205 Brendan Gregg Hansons-Broo 14 209 Garrett Heath Brooks Beast 15 223 Shadrack Kipchirchir Nike 16 227 Ian La Mere Hansons-Broo 17 230 Craig Lautenslager New Zealand 18 Colin Leak Philadelphia 19 233 Rory Linkletter BYU 20 235 Peter Lomong Northern Ari 21 243 Matt McClintock Zap Fitness/ 22 245 Connor McMillan BYU 23 249 Alex Monroe Unattached 24 258 Suguru Osako Nike Oregon 25 259 Luis Ostos Cruz Peruvian Ath 26 277 Abbabiya Simbassa Nike 27 280 Joe Stilin Zap Fitness/ 28 286 Seth Totten rabbit/SRA E 29 289 Luis Vargas Unattached 30 300 Zach Zarda Kansas City
Shadrack Kipchirchir, who ran 27:07 (#3 all-time by an American) for 9th at Worlds last year, is the clear favorite, especially after an indoor season that saw him set PRs in the mile (3:55) and 3,000 (7:42). That’s especially true (pardon our pun) now that Ben True is no longer listed among the entries (he’s out with illness). But another PR for Kipchirchir is unlikely. Flotrack reports that the race will be rabbitted at 27:30 pace, and Kipchirchir is not going to be able to run 27:0x pace on his own.
Other pros to watch include Scott Fauble, who has put together a solid spring and was 4th at the 2016 Olympic Trials, Abbabiya Simbassa (4th at USAs last year), Suguru Osako (3rd at Boston and Fukuoka Marathons last year) and Garrett Heath, the 3:34/13:16 man who will be making his 10k debut. Colombia’s Mauricio Gonzalez also soloed a 28:13 in San Francisco in March.
This could also serve as an NCAA preview. BYU’s Rory Linkletter, the runner-up and top returner from NCAAs last year, faces the NAU trio of Matt Baxter, Tyler Day, and Peter Lomong, who went 2-3-8 at NCAA XC in November. Baxter leads the NCAA in the 5,000 at 13:31, and while that mark could fall to Justyn Knight, Baxter could go to #1 in the 10k (currently 28:19 by Alabama’s Vincent Kiprop). Day (29:06) is due for a big PR, while Lomong is assured of one considering this is his 10k debut on the track.
Women’s 10k Start List
Event 64 Women 10000 m Section 1 (18) =============================================================================== Name Year School =============================================================================== 1 7 Chelsea Blaase Hansons-Broo 2 8 Anne-Marie Blaney Hansons-Broo 3 18 Rachel Cliff Canada 4 24 Tatiane Raquel Da Silva Posso Sports 5 29 Emily Durgin Team New Bal 6 45 Madeline Hills adidas 7 47 AI Hosoda Daihatsu 8 49 Mao Ichiyama Wacoal 9 52 Rachel Johnson Asics Furman 10 64 Bridget Lyons Atlanta Trac 11 73 Ines Melchor Huiza Peruvian Ath 12 87 Natsuki Omori Daihatsu 13 91 Sarah Pagano BAA 14 93 Olivia Pratt Hansons-Broo 15 97 Beverly Ramos New Balance 16 112 Carolina Tabares Guerrero Equipo Porve 17 117 Gladys Tejeda Pucuhuaranga Peruvian Ath 18 120 Jessica Tonn Brooks Beast