A Fan’s Guide To The 2023 Millrose Games: Loaded 3K’s and Lyles vs Coleman in a 60m Showdown

By Jonathan Gault
February 9, 2023

The Millrose Games is the crown jewel of the US indoor track circuit. It meant something that Eamonn Coghlan won seven Wanamaker Miles, just as it meant something when Bernard Lagat took down Olympic champ Asbel Kiprop to win his eighth Wanamaker in 2010 and surpass Coghlan’s total. Last year, when Geordie Beamish took down Nike stars Cole Hocker and Cooper Teare in the 3,000, it showed the On Athletics Club was becoming a force to be reckoned with. Winning at Millrose carries weight.

Sure, Millrose isn’t as popular as it once was. That’s why it’s no longer at Madison Square Garden. But it’s still the biggest track meet in America’s biggest city, still on national TV (NBC, 4-6 p.m. ET), and still packed with the stars of track & field. It’s a pretty big deal.

The 2023 edition takes place on Saturday at the Armory, and there’s plenty to look forward to.

The men’s Wanamaker Mile is so stacked and compelling — possible world record? — that we’re writing a separate article (coming soon) just to preview that race.

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Geordie Beamish Wins Millrose Beamish snuck by Hocker and Teare last year

In the men’s 3000, there’s a rematch of last year’s super tight battle between Geordie Beamish and Teare (plus Luis Grijalva and Josh Kerr). And the women’s 3,000, featuring Katelyn Tuohy plus Alicia Monson and Elise Cranny chasing the American record, could be even better. Olympic silver medalist Laura Muir headlines the women’s mile, while Ajee’ Wilson puts her 10-year undefeated streak on the line in the 600 against Shamier Little. Plus we’ve got Noah Lyles vs. Christian Coleman on the straightaway at 60m and Ryan Crouser vs. Joe Kovacs in the shot put ring.

Below are the events I’m most looking forward to on Saturday. I preview the events in the order they take place.

(Editor’s note: Friendly reminder, track & field is more fun to watch if you know what you are watching, so forward this to your friends. If you are going to the to the meet, print it out and take it with you. Yes we know you can read it on your phone. But we don’t want you glued to your phone — you can do that the other 22 hours of the day.)

What: 2023 Millrose Games
When: Saturday, February 11. TV window from 4-6 p.m. ET on NBC.
Where: The Armory, New York City
*Schedule/entries/live results *How to watch

4:10 p.m. ET: Could the high school mile record go down?

While it still carries weight, a sub-4:00 mile by a high schooler is not the rarity it once was. A decade ago, only five boys had accomplished the feat; now the high school sub-4:00 club numbers 17, with five guys doing it in 2022 alone. But the high school mile record is still a big deal, and the indoor mile record is in jeopardy in the B heat of the mile on Saturday. Missouri’s Connor Burns, who ran 3:58.83 last spring as a junior, has said that Hobbs Kessler‘s 3:57.66 indoor mile record from 2021 is his target in this race. Yet he may not even be the top high schooler in the field: North Carolina’s Rocky Hansen ran down Burns on the last lap in Boston last week to win in 4:01.11.

4:01.11 is a long way away from 3:57.66, but last week was a high school-only race. In this one, they’ll benefit greatly from being up against collegiate/post-collegiate athletes such as last year’s USA 5th placer Reed Brown. As a result, Burns and Hansen will have a chance to run fast and add to the Armory’s deep connection with high school milers. Alan Webb and Drew Hunter both broke the high school indoor record on this track, and four of the five indoor sub-4:00’s by high schoolers have come at the Armory.

JG prediction: Hansen and Burns both break 4:00 but the record survives.

Does a HSer break 4:00?

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4:23 p.m. ET: Can Noah Lyles slay another dragon in the 60 meters?

Kevin Morris photo

Lyles’ upset of Trayvon Bromell in the 60m in Boston last week was a potential game-changer for the outdoor season to come. Last year, Lyles had his best-ever indoor season, setting pbs of 6.56 and 6.55 in the 60, and followed it up with his best-ever outdoor season, running an American record of 19.31 in the 200 at Worlds. In Boston, Lyles ran even faster (6.51) and took down one of the fastest starters in the world. If that’s what he’s capable of at 60, it’s scary to think what he could do in the 100 or 200 this year.

He told my boss Weldon Johnson at the pre-meet press conference today that he wants an 18-second 200.

MB: Rank in order of difficulty for Noah Lyles: 100m Gold, 18-second 200m, 400m WR

Lyles can’t afford to think about any of that right now, though. After taking down Bromell, he now has to face the final boss of the men’s 60 meters: Christian Coleman. One of the best starters in history, Coleman is the world record holder in the event (6.34) and has earned gold and silver at the last two World Indoor championships. Between COVID in 2020, Coleman’s suspension in 2021, and Lyles’ focus on the 200 last year, they haven’t raced each other much the last few years. But back in 2019, they shared a budding rivalry — which was sparked by Lyles stepping down to the 100 and beating Coleman at his own game. Could he restart the rivalry by doing the same in New York?

The odds are against him. Lyles’ pb is 6.51. Here are the times Coleman has run in his last eight 60m finals, dating back to 2017: 6.41, 6.45, 6.49, 6.37, 6.34, 6.46, 6.37, 6.45.

Coleman could be vulnerable, however. He tailed off in the 100 at the end of 2022 and only ran 6.71 in his 60m opener two weeks ago — though it was only a prelim (he didn’t run the final) and he still won that race handily. Given his dominance in the 60, Coleman is the one with something to lose on Saturday.

JG prediction: Beating Bromell is one thing, but beating Coleman in a 60m is quite another. I’m picking Coleman. If Lyles wins, it may say more about Coleman having lost a step.

Who wins the men's 60?

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4:28 p.m. ET: Who’s #1 in the shot put?

Ryan Crouser, with two Olympic golds and the world records indoors and out, is compiling a resume as the greatest shot putter of all time. But if it weren’t for him, that title may well belong to Joe Kovacs, who has two global golds — and would have three more if it weren’t for silvers behind Crouser at the 2016 and 2021 Olympics and 2022 Worlds. Kovacs upped the ante at the end of last season by throwing 23.23m in Zurich to move to #2 on the all-time list behind Crouser. We’ll get to see on Saturday if the balance has shifted in track & field’s most powerful event.

JG prediction: Crouser FTW.

Who wins the shot?

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4:30 p.m. ET: Can an American step up in the men’s 800? And how will star Ole Miss freshman Cade Flatt run in his collegiate debut?

Embed from Getty Images

Two things to watch in this one. The first is whether any of the Americans in this field can take down 18-year-old World Indoor silver medalist Noah Kibet, who has been training in the US under UAC’s Peter Julian. Between Isaiah HarrisBryce Hoppel, and Clayton Murphy, this race features three of America’s best in the 800, but all are coming off defeats: Harris to Kibet two weeks ago in Spokane, Hoppel to Mariano Garcia last week in Boston, and Murphy in the 1500 in Spokane two weeks ago (where he ran just 3:49). Veteran Irishman Mark English, who also beat Hoppel in Boston, could also cause the Americans trouble.

The other storyline is the collegiate debut of Ole Miss freshman Cade Flatt. Last spring, Flatt took a number of runs at the longstanding high school 800m record and wound up as the second-fastest US high schooler ever at 1:46.48. He hasn’t raced in an Ole Miss singlet yet as he’s been dealing with a nasty ankle injury — he revealed on Instagram that he couldn’t walk three weeks ago and was told he might be out until April. Flatt has made a quick turnaround and will receive a baptism by fire against a field of pros at Millrose.

JG prediction: Kibet wins it. It’s kind of crazy to realize that Kibet, who has run 1:44 in each of the last two summers (1:44.88 in 2021, 1:44.89 in 2022) is almost a year younger than Flatt. Kibet was born on April 12, 2004 while Flatt was born on May 23, 2003.

4:38 p.m. ET: Will Monson or Cranny get the American 3,000 record? Will Katelyn Tuohy get NCAA record #2?

This is the best women’s race on the program. Initially, it looked as if it would mostly consist of two women against the ghost of Karissa Schweizer: On Athletics Club’s Alicia Monson trying to break Schweizer’s American record of 8:25.70, and NC State’s Katelyn Tuohy trying to break Schweizer’s collegiate record of 8:41.60. But with the late addition of Bowerman Track Club’s Elise Cranny to the field, things just got a lot more interesting. You know that Jerry Schumacher doesn’t send his charges down from the mountains unless they’re ready to go.

Alicia Monson leads Katelyn Tuohy in mile at Dr. Sander (Kevin Morris photo) Monson held off Tuohy in the mile at the Armory two weeks ago (Kevin Morris photo)

This really should be a tremendous race. 3,000 is right in Cranny’s wheelhouse — she ran 3:59 twice last year for 1500 (do you remember she finished 3rd at the Monaco Diamond League?) but has also won the last two US 5,000m titles. Monson, meanwhile, has been a 10,000 specialist outdoors and didn’t run the 5,000 at USAs in 2021 or 2022.

Yet Monson has found great success at the 3k distance. In 2019 while a collegian at Wisconsin, she won Millrose in 8:45. Last year, she ripped an 8:31 to win here as a pro. And in Lausanne in August, she ran 8:26 and came .01 shy of winning a Diamond League 3,000, beating out the likes of Beatrice ChebetSifan Hassan, and Laura Muir. Oh, and she beat Cranny by three seconds in that race too.

One potential edge: Monson ran a 4:23 mile two weeks ago at the Armory, so she could be sharper in a kick.

Given Tuohy ran a collegiate record in the mile her last time out (4:24, just behind Monson) and given how fast this race will be going up front, the collegiate record is ripe for the taking if Tuohy is on her game. It’s also worth watching how close Tuohy can stay to Monson/Cranny. Tuohy may still only be 20 years old, but she’s already thinking about what it will take to make a US team this year — and Monson and Cranny figure to be two of her key opponents in the 5,000 meters. The gap between Monson and Tuohy was .71 in the mile two weeks ago. If it’s anything close to that on Saturday, Tuohy will obliterate the collegiate record.

JG prediction: AR for Monson, CR for Tuohy. And given how fast Monson’s OAC teammate Yared Nuguse ran at BU, I’m not ruling out a crazy fast time. When Dathan Ritzenhein was filmed coaching Monson a few weeks ago, he was talking about 8:20. Genzebe Dibaba‘s 8:16.60 world record should be safe, but after her there’s a big gap to the #2 fastest woman ever indoors, Gudaf Tsegay at 8:22.65. I wouldn’t be totally shocked if Monson settles in between them.

Who wins the w3k?

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Does the AR (8:25.70) in the w3k fall?

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5:00 pm ET: Does Cooper Teare get revenge over Geordie Beamish? Or will Luis Grijalva or Josh Kerr beat both of them?

The men’s 3,000 was the race of the meet at the 2022 Millrose Games, Geordie Beamish going from 5th to 1st on the last lap thanks to a sizzling 25.71, taking down Cooper Teare and Cole Hocker in the process. Beamish’s celebration — throwing his arms wide in shock before sprinting around one of the fastest victory laps ever — was terrific. And in the bigger picture, it sent a message: the On Athletics Club was here to stay. Beamish’s win over Teare and Hocker — both making their pro debuts for Nike — coupled with victories by Alicia Monson in the 3000 and Ollie Hoare in the Wanamaker Mile showed OAC was ready to take on any pro group in America.

Geordie Beamish Wins Millrose Beamish edged Teare FTW last year

One year later, Beamish and Teare are back (Hocker is also at Millrose but he’s running the mile) and neither will be totally satisfied with how their 2022 campaigns played out. Beamish made it to World Indoors but struggled with two races in three days and was only 10th in the 3000 final; outdoors, he failed to make the world 5000 final in Eugene. Teare, who will be making his Bowerman TC debut at Millrose, won his first US title in the 1500 last year but a stress reaction in his left tibia derailed his season and saw him exit in the first round at Worlds. Both will look to get on track at Millrose.

One guy in this race last year did go on to have a great World Championships, however: Luis Grijlava. Grijalva was 4th in this race last year, about where you’d expect for a guy who never won an NCAA title (he was 2nd behind Teare in the 5000 as a senior). Six months later, Grijalva was 4th in the world in the 5000 in Eugene. He has as good a chance as anyone to win this race and has run 3:53 in the mile already this winter. Here’s what he had to say at today’s press event.

Joe Klecker, coming off his 12:54 5,000 pb in Boston two weeks ago, and Nico Young are both strength-oriented guys that may not have the kick to contend with Teare, Beamish, or Grijalva. But assuming Klecker is recovered from that 5,000, he should be able to run fast in New York. Young, meanwhile, could have his eye on the NCAA record of 7:36.42 just set by his Northern Arizona University teammate Drew Bosley in Boston. After all, Young beat Bosley at NCAA XC in November and has a faster 5,000 pb (13:11 vs 13:13) — though BU is a faster track than the Armory and this race is not guaranteed to go as fast as BU did.

We can’t overlook Olympic 1500 bronze medalist Josh Kerr either. Kerr wasn’t quite as good outdoors in 2022 as he was in 2021, but he still finished 5th at Worlds in the 1500, running 3:30 — way faster than anyone else in this race has ever run. But Kerr is more of a pure 1500 guy than a 1500/5000 man so 3k is far for him. Per World Athletics, this is Kerr’s first 3,000 since the 2014 England Athletics U17 Championships when Kerr was all of 16 years old (he won in 8:35, if you’re curious).

JG prediction: This race is a lot of fun because it pits athletes from some of America’s top training groups: Bowerman (Teare), OAC (Beamish/Klecker), Brooks Beasts (Kerr), and NAU coach Mike Smith‘s college/pro group (Grijalva/Young). Bragging rights are on the line.

It’s tempting to look at Beamish’s 13:14 5k at BU last week — a race where he finished 23 seconds behind Woody Kincaid (who scratched from this race) — and write him off. But Beamish is not a time trialer, and 13:14 is only two seconds off what he ran at BU in December 2021 ahead of his Millrose win last year.

That said, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Grijalva was 4th in the world last year. He’s my pick FTW.

Who wins the men's 3k?

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5:32 p.m. ET: Will Ajee’ Wilson extend her 10-year Armory win streak?

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: it stinks that Olympic and world 800 champ Athing Mu isn’t running this race. Mu, who didn’t compete at all after Worlds last year, was announced as part of the Millrose 600m field on January 19 but withdrew on Monday without offering much of an explanation as to why.

It’s a bummer for fans. Still just 20 years old, Mu is already one of America’s greatest-ever mid-d runners with world and Olympic 800m titles on her resume. A head-to-head showdown with  World Indoor Ajee’ Wilson at Millrose would have been one of the most highly-anticipated races of the weekend. Instead, Mu is out — as are two other top athletes, Natoya Goule and Olivia Baker — leaving Wilson against Allie Wilson (1:58.09 800 pb).

The most intriguing challenger to Ajee’ Wilson — who has won 15 straight indoor races and hasn’t lost at the Armory in 10 years — is Shamier Little. Little was 4th at Worlds in the 400 hurdles last year and ran 1:24.65 for 600 at Arkansas on January 13. Wilson’s pb is 1:23.84, so she will still start at favorite. But her speed will need to be on point to extend her undefeated streaks.

JG prediction: Ajee’ Wilson would have been an underdog if Mu was in the field. Not anymore. She’s your winner.

Does Ajee Wilson's Armory win streak continue?

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5:41 p.m. ET: Can Laura Muir win her first Wanamaker Mile?

Kevin Morris photo

Put everyone in this field at their best and only one woman wins it: Great Britain’s Laura Muir, the Olympic silver and world bronze medalist at 1500. But while Muir won her season opener last week in Boston, clocking 8:40 for 3000, she looked a little shaky at the end — her final lap was her slowest of the night, just 36 seconds, allowing runner-up Melissa Courtney-Bryant to trim Muir’s winning margin from a blowout to just .75 of a second. Is Muir vulnerable? Or did she already have one eye on Millrose?

If Muir doesn’t win, there are a handful of women who could. Canada’s Lucia Stafford ran a North American 1k record of 2:33 two weeks ago and ran a strong 4:23 mile to finish runner-up behind Heather MacLean in Boston. Sage Hurta-Klecker ended 2022 on fire with pbs of 1:57 and 4:01 and was a game 2nd in the 1k at Dr. Sander two weeks ago behind Ajee’ Wilson. Nikki Hiltz ran 4:32 in Flagstaff on January 20 — not bad mileing for 7000+ feet. Sub-4 Josette Andrews (nee Norris) was 2nd here last year and this will be her debut race for the OAC. And US 1500 champ Sinclaire Johnson, whom we talked today at the pre-meet presser, is running after a comfortable 4:08 1500 win in her 2023 opener two weeks ago in Spokane.

It’s a good spot for the field to be in. They’ve all got a race or two under their belt and now there’s a real prize on the line in one of Millrose’s marquee events.

JG prediction: I have to take Muir, but she will need to close better than she did in Boston last week to hold off this field.

Who wins the Wanamaker mile?

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5:51 p.m. ET: Men’s Wanamaker Mile: Will the world record fall?

This race has its own article here: Might The World Record Be Broken In The 2023 Wanamaker Mile? Maybe. But That’s Not the Point.

Pacer Erik Sowinski has been assigned an 800m split of 1:53 and the men of OAC, led by defending champ Ollie Hoare are trying to run fast because they know Worlds will be fast as well.

Check out our interviews from the pre-meet press conference and subscribe to our YouTube page.

Be fan and talk about Millrose on our messageboard.

More: LRC Noah Lyles Eyes 100m Gold, 18-Second 200 and the 400 World Record? Lyles was talking big ahead of his 60m showdown with Christian Coleman at Millrose on Saturday.

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