NEW YORK – A new talent in the combined events rose to the challenge on Friday, while the winningest miler in Millrose history will have to wait a year for the chance at another win after an exciting night of competition at the 104th Millrose Games.
Eaton masters multis
Facing the defending Olympic gold medalist and reigning world champion, Ashton Eaton rose the occasion to win the Millrose Multi Challenge, a three-event scored competition of the 60-meter hurdles, shot put and high jump.
The first event of the competition was the shot put, which was won by World Champion Trey Hardee, who set his personal best twice during the event, ending with a best toss of 15.94 meters/52 feet 3 inches. The distance was two feet better than his previous career best. Olympic gold medalist Bryan Clay was the runner-up with his heave of 15.24m/50-0, and reigning U.S. decathlon champion Jake Arnold third with a best of 14.90m/48-10.75. Eaton sat in fourth with a best mark of 14.22m/46-8.
The second event was the 60m hurdles, which was dominated by Eaton. Clay and Eaton both broke well from the blocks, but half way through the race Eaton took command and gradually stretched his lead the rest of the way in crossing the finish line first in a personal-best time of 7.64. Clay was the runner-up in 7.78, with Hardee third in 7.83.
Eaton also won the final event of the challenge, the high jump, his clearance of 2.05m/6-8.75 giving him the victory with 2,666 points. Hardee was the runner-up with 2,640 points, with Clay finishing third in 2,609. Arnold was fourth with 2,491 points and Duke University sophomore Curtis Beach placed fifth with 2,360 points.
Mekonnen defeats Lagat
Just when it seemed Bernard Lagat would never be defeated again in the Wanamaker Mile, it happened Friday evening.
Lagat, who leads the all-time list with eight Wanamaker Mile wins, including six in a row, appeared to be primed to win it again as he sat right behind 2008 and 2010 World Indoor 1,500m champion Deresse Mekonnen of Ethiopia with four laps to go.
The two stayed in that position until Lagat turned on his kick with a lap and a half remaining. However, this time Lagat’s usual blistering finishing speed was not enough as Mekonnen beat him to the finish line in the world-leading time of 3:58.58. Mekonnen, who posted a 55-second final quarter, was victorious in his first-ever trip to Madison Square Garden. Finishing third was David Torrence in 4:00.13, with Lee Emanuel of Great Britain fourth in 4:04.91
USA vs. Jamaica Sprint Challenge
Two-time Olympic Games 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown was the class of the field in the Visa Women’s 60 meters, part of the USA vs. Jamaica Sprint Challenge.
Campbell-Brown turned on the afterburners with 20 meters remaining in the race and sailed through the finish first in 7.11 seconds. 2005 World Outdoor 100m champion Lauryn Williams returned to competition at Millrose and ran well in finishing as the runner-up in 7.22.
Lisa and Mikki Barber finished third and fourth respectively in 7.23 and 7.30 and in so doing contributed greatly to the American side taking a 12-9 lead after one event.
Jamaican up-and-comer Nesta Carter posted a world-leading time of 6.52 in winning the Visa Men’s 60 meters. As strong as Carter looked, it wasn’t good enough to keep the Americans from winning the challenge as Michael Rodgers finished as the runner-up in 6.56 and Trell Kimmons placed third in 6.57. When the racing was over, Team USA was victorious in the USA vs. Jamaica Challenge by the final score of 23-17.
Also in men’s track events, Trinidad’s Renny Quow was the dominant force in the Mel Sheppard 600 Yard run, winning in 1:11.82. For Quow it was his second career Millrose 600 yard win, with his first triumph coming in 2009 (1:11.32). Karjuan Williams was the runner-up in 1:12.23 and Jamaal Torrance finished third in 1:12.77
Murer posts world leader in women’s vault
2010 World Indoor champion Fabiana Murer of Brazil, who entered this season ranked #1 in the world by Track & Field News, lived up to her lofty status by winning the Fred Schmertz Women’s Pole Vault with a clearance of 4.74m/15-6.25, the highest clearance in the world this year.
Murer, who won this evening in her second appearance at Madison Square Garden, defeated 2008 Olympic Games silver medalist and American indoor/outdoor record holder Jenn Suhr, who finished as the runner-up with a clearance 4.64m/15-2.75.
Whiting surprises favorites in Visa Men’s Shot Put
Young putter Ryan Whiting took on three of the world’s all-time greatest performers in the Visa Men’s Shot Put in a hotly contested and close competition.
Whiting’s clutch toss of 21.31m/69-11 on his fourth and final attempt gave him the victory over Christian Cantwell, who won 22 of 24 competitions last year, captured the World Indoor title and ended the season ranked #1 in the world by Track & Field News.
Cantwell finished as the runner-up with a best toss of 21.14m/69-4.25, with 2006 World Indoor champion Reese Hoffa finish third with a best of 20.52m/67-4. Two-time Olympic Games silver medalist Adam Nelson fouled on all four attempts
Dixon posts world leader
Jamaican star Vonette Dixon posted the fastest time in the world this season with her victory in the women’s 100m hurdles in 8.00 seconds. Danielle Carruthers, who ended the 2010 season ranked #9 in the world, was the runner-up in 8.03 seconds, with Canadian star Perdita Felicien 8.05.
In other women’s running events, Natasha Hastings entered the race wanting to get to the front early and hold on for the win and that’s exactly what she did in capturing the Howard Schmertz Women’s 400 Meters in 53.60. Dee Dee Trotter finished second in 53.82 with Angee Henry third in 54.53 and Moushaumi Robinson fourth in 54.28.
Hall captures Fred Lebow 1,500 Meters
In winning the Fred Lebow 1,500 Meters at the 104th Millrose Games, Sara Hall completed a career double in that event.
Hall, who ten years ago captured the high school 1,500m at Millrose, won the elite version of that race this evening in 4:15.35, with former Villanova standout and World Indoor Champs silver medalist Carmen Douma-Hussar of Canada finishing as the runner-up in 4:16.73 and Heidi Dahl placing third in 4:16.99. It was Hall’s first victory after three runner-up finishes in the event at Millrose.
Throwing their weights around
Earlier in the day at The Armory Track & Field Center, 2010 USA national hammer throw champion Jake Freeman was victorious for the second straight year in the men’s weight throw with a best of 24.16m/79-3.25. Paul Wagner was the runner-up with a toss of 20.89m/68-6.50 and John Freeman placed third with 20.62m/67-8.
The women’s weight throw was won by 2008 Olympian, defending champion and event record holder Amber Campbell , who won the 2010 Indoor Visa Championship title. Campbell’s winning toss of 24.10m/79-1 put plenty of distance between her and runner-up Loree Smith, who’s second round toss of 20.99m/68-10.50 gave her second place in the competition. Finishing third was Kristin Smith with her best of 20.35m/66-9.25.
Seaman sails to Millrose Record
2010 winner Rachel Seaman of Canada was victorious again in the Women’s USATF National Championship One-Mile Race Walk with a Millrose Games record time of 6:41.32. Seaman bettered the previous meet standard of 6:47.45 set by Rachel Lavallee of Canada in 2009. The first American across the finish line was Maria Michta, who won the national title and was the overall runner-up in 6:51.6, with Erin Bresnahan third in 7:03.78 and Nirvana Zalba of Mexico finished fourth in 7:05.17.
The Susan Rudin Men’s One-Mile Race Walk was a showcase for America’s two young and talented race walkers on the rise, Trevor Barron and Tyler Sorensen. Barron, who set five U.S. Junior records last year en route to being named USATF’s Youth Athlete of the Year, won decisively with his time of 6:06.25 for the national 1-mile crown. Giving chase to Barron throughout was Tyler Sorensen, who set a national high school 3,000m record earlier this year. Sorensen finished as the runner-up in 6:16.51, with Alex Chavez third in 6:31.17.
Jones dominates Super 60 II
Former NFL standout Jacoby Jones ended the suspense early in the Super 60 II, which is a proving ground for stars among an eclectic group of accomplished professional and Olympic athletes. The event showcases the universal component of speed in all sports, and helps determine which sport has the most potent combination of power, speed and acceleration.
Jones got out of the blocks well at the gun and had the race in his hip pocket with 20 meters to go. From that point on he resembled Tommie Smith winning the Olympic 200m gold medal in 1968 with his arm in the air the last 20 meters of the race. Jones crossed the finish line in 7.00 seconds for the win, with 2010 Super 60 champion and former NFL standout Anthony Dorsett, Jr., finishing as the runner-up in 7.14. Olympic gold medalist bobsledder Steve Mesler was third in 7.24, with L.A. Galaxy forward Bryan Jordan fourth in 7.33.
NYPD defeats FDNY in relay race
“New York’s Finest” – the New York City Police Department (NYPD) – and “New York’s Bravest” – the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) – competed head-to-head to earn the title of “New York’s Fastest.” The event pitted two New York Police Department squads versus two New York Fire Department quartets in the New York’s Fastest NYPD vs. FDNY 4x1 lap relay.
The NYPD A squad grabbed a sizeable lead following the first baton exchange and cruised to the victory in 1:13.82. The FDNY A team finished as the runner-up in 1:16.58, with the FDNY B squad placing third in 1:16.62. The NYPD B team did not finish the race.
The Millrose Games is the first event of USA Track & Field’s 2011 Indoor Visa Championship Series, which moves to Boston for the New Balance Grand Prix on February 5, and will conclude at the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships, February 26-27, in Albuquerque, N.M.
Visa Championship Series Standings
1. Amber Campbell - 1178
2. Danielle Carruthers - 1154
3. Lauryn Williams - 1152
4. Natasha Hastings - 1105
4. Sara Hall - 1105
1. Ryan Whiting - 1199
2. Mike Rodgers - 1178
3. Jake Freeman - 1158
4. Bernard Lagat – 1142
For more information on the 104th Millrose Games, the 2011 Visa Championship Series and USA Track & Field, visit: www.usatf.org.