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Olympians highlight 10th Annual USATF Distance Classic


Pasadena, California -- The 10th annual USATF Distance Classic is set with a stacked field of competitors seeking World Championship and Olympic qualifying marks. Competition will begin at 7:00pm PT at Jack Kemp Stadium’s Bill Henry Track on the campus of Occidental College in Pasadena, California.

Watch the USATF Distance Classic live on NBC Sports Gold at 7:00pm PT.

Click here for the competition schedule and live results.

Men’s 800m

Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy, who won the USATF Indoors 1,000m in February, makes his 2019 outdoor debut and will be up against 2016 World Indoor bronze medalist Erik Sowinski in his section. Indoor mile champion Craig Engels drops down in distance to face that duo, while 2018 World Indoor silver medalist Drew Windle is in the first heat.


The women’s two-lapper will see 2016 Olympic eight-placer Kate Grace take on Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen, a sub-2:00 performer in 2017, as well as Cory McGee, a veteran of World Indoor and Outdoor 1500 competition.


Murphy doubles back in the metric mile, where he will toe the line against USATF Indoors two mile winner Drew Hunter, who ran a 3:35.90 at London’s Diamond League meet last summer, and  Olympian Lopez Lomong. Kirubel Erassa, who was second in the 5,000m at the Jordan Invitational in a U.S.-leading 13:17.23, and Canada’s Mo Ahmed, the 2016 Olympic 5,000m fourth-placer, add quality to the field, as does Sam Prakel, who moved to No. 5 on the U.S. all-time indoor mile list with his 3:50.94 at Boston earlier this year.


Balanced heats in the women’s 1,500m will have American steeplechase record-holder Courtney Frerichs coming down in distance and challenging former NCAA 5,000m champion Marielle Hall in section one, and section two will feature Klosterhalfen, a 4:02.70 performer in winning the Millrose title in February, along with four-time NCAA indoor and outdoor 5,000m champion Karissa Schweizer. Millrose fifth-placer Katie Mackey and ‘14 NCAA 5,000m gold medalist Marielle Hall, who leads the U.S. list at 5K this year at 15:07.17i.


Twice an eighth-place finisher in the steeplechase at the Olympic Games, Donn Cabral has a PR of 8:13.37 from 2015 and will hope to regain that form. Other top entrants include 2016 NCAA champion Mason Ferlic, USATF 1 Mile Road champion Tripp Hurt and Brian Barraza, who will celebrate his 24th birthday with 7.5 laps over the barriers. David Goodman at 8:31.36 has the fastest 2019 time by an American entered in the field, and Jordan Mann was the 2018 NACAC bronze medalist.


After dramatically lowering his lifetime best to 13:22.28 at Stanford’s Payton Jordan meet, Josef Tessema has the fastest American entry time, but Lawi Lalang has a 13:00.95 to his credit from 2013 and clocked 13:24.09 at Stanford last year. Two-time Olympic 1,500m medalist Nick Willis of New Zealand moves up and brings middle distance speed, as does Josh Kerr, who set a collegiate record for 1,500m last year at 3:35.01. British indoor 3,000m champion Chris O’Hare grabbed a silver medal at that distance at the European Indoor Championships in March.

Fresh off a win at the USATF Half Marathon Championships two weeks ago, Stephanie Bruce can look to last year’s USATF Outdoor 5K fourth-placer Lauren Paquette and Payton Jordan runner-up Rachel Schneider for her main challengers. Jamaican steeplechase Olympian Aisha Praught will be running in her first track 5K since 2011 and had a best over the barriers last year of 9:14.09 after winning the Commonwealth Games gold in 9:21.

Tickets will be available for purchase at the main spectator entrance for $10 for general admission, $5 for USATF Members with their ID, $5 for High School or College Student with ID and children under 12 are free.

Fans are encouraged to follow along using #USATF on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.


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