EUGENE, ORE. – Sanya Richards-Ross cruised in the women’s 400-meters while Reese Hoffa claimed the men’s shot put and both established world-leading marks as the 38th annual Prefontaine Classic concluded Saturday at Hayward Field. The Prefontaine Classic was the second stop for the Visa Championship Series and the third stop for the Samsung Diamond League.
Richards-Ross broke the 50-second barrier for the first time this year in 49.39 to lead seven women through the finish line in season best times. The American record holder in the event, it was her best time since 2009. Richards-Ross also bested 2011 World Outdoor champion Amantle Montsho of Botswana, who placed second in 49.62. Jamaica’s Novlene Williams-Mills, who held the top two times in the world heading into Saturday, placed third in 49.78.
Despite scratching on his final attempt, Hoffa recorded the top three throws in the men’s shot put en route to his winning mark of 21.81m/71-6.75, which extended the 2007 World Outdoor champion’s world-leading mark. Hoffa finished ahead of Poland’s Tomasz Majewski (21.60m/70-10.5) and Canada’s Dylan Armstrong (21.50m/70-6.5), who also recorded season bests in placing second and third, respectively.
American athletes made it a clean sweep in the sprinting events by also picking up wins from Allyson Felix (women’s 200m), Justin Gatlin (men’s 100m) and LaShawn Merritt (men’s 400m) while Galen Rupp became the first American this year to run under 13-minutes in the men’s 5,000m with his third place time of 12:58.90.
A three-time World Outdoor gold medalist, Felix missed tying the world-leading mark by one-hundredth of a second in winning the event at 22.23. Jeneba Tarmoh placed second in 22.61.
Gatlin claimed the 100m in a time of 9.90 to lead four Americans in the top five that included Trell Kimmons, who finished third in a second best time of 10.04, Walter Dix, who finished fourth also in 10.04, and Darvis Patton, who was fifth in 10.05.
In a race featuring two Olympic 400m gold medalist and the reigning World Outdoor champion, Merritt came to the final 100 meters needing to make up ground and did so in winning the event in 44.91. American Angelo Taylor placed third in a time of 45.59.
The men’s 110m hurdles, one of the more anticipated events of the Prefontaine Classic, went to China’s Liu Xiang in a time of 12.87. Reigning World Indoor champion Aries Merrit finished second in 12.96, while World Outdoor gold medalist Jason Richardson was third in 13.11, Dexter Faulk fourth in 13.12 and American record holder David Oliver finished fifth in 13.13.
Nick Symmonds grabbed the fastest time in the U.S. this year by finishing third in the 800m in 1:44.32 while Americans also grabbed top three finishes Saturday from Lacy Janson (third in the women’s pole vault at 4.38m/14-4.5), Janay DeLoach (third in the women’s long jump at 6.71m/22-0.25), Chaunte Lowe (third in the women’s high jump at 1.97m/6-5.5) and Elizabeth Maloy (third in the women’s 3,000m in 8:50.95).
Complete results from the 38th Prefontaine Classic can be found on the Diamond League’s website. The Diamond League will continue June 7 in Oslo, Norway, and the Visa Championship Series will return June 9 at the adidas Grand Prix in New York.
Prefontaine Classic – day two athlete quotes
Reese Hoffa – men’s shot put
“I am happy with where I am at. We have had some bad weather so my practices have been a little sketchy. To come here and throw 71-feet is encouraging. Today I was just trying to throw. This shows that I am in good shape. What you see from the guys today is not an indication of what is going to happen at the Trials. I really wasn’t lifting the ball well today, but will continue to work hard and I’m coming into shape.”
Sanya Richards-Ross – women’s 400m
“I felt really good. I knew that I had a good race in me. To come out and run the world-leading time and beat a really, really good field today was a great feeling. I felt good from the start. I got out well. I’ve been making mistakes on the backstretch this year so I really wanted to stay patient and not sprint it too hard. I felt like I stayed controlled. This is my fastest time ever at the Prefontaine. It didn’t surprise me. I kept pulling from the energy that I always run well here.”
LaShawn Merritt – men’s 400m
“You train to win and you get into a race and you want to win. I mostly wanted to stay relaxed. It was just a matter of me not beating myself. I stayed within the race. It was a little chilly out and the weather was not ideal. This will be my last race before the Trials. I love the crowd here.”
Justin Gatlin – men’s 100m
“We came out here to get the win. Whether it was 9.7 or 10.7, it doesn’t matter as long as we win. Now I want to go home and stabilize my core and I want to stay healthy and get ready for the Trials. This was predictable Prefontaine Classic weather. I wanted to stay as warm as possible and run a technically sound race. Whatever the job is to do I am going to do it. Now I need to go home and rest and worry about the Trials.”
Nick Symmonds – men’s 800m
“The first lap was a little more bunched than I would have like it to be. I still have some sharpening to do. I told myself that no matter what I did I needed to be in the top three coming off the final turn. I wanted to be breaking with everyone else. I think people love to Prefontaine Classic, but at the same time it’s early. We still have a lot of work to do.”
Cyrus Hostetler – men’s javelin
“I felt great. The crowd started rolling in towards the end when we had some big throws. This was a season best for me and it was better than my last competition. I have been progressing well and consistently throwing over 80-meters. That mark will put me second in the U.S. and anything can happen in a two day trial. I am very happy with how I did.”
Janay DeLoach – women’s long jump
“Consistency was the big thing for me. No matter what happens I want to be consistent. The wind was switching. It seemed like it was a head wind on one jump and a tail wind on the next. From here I just want to stay healthy and get to the Trials. All that matters is how you do at the Trials. I’m ready for that to be here.”
Allyson Felix – women’s 200m
“I’ve really been working on my start. It felt good to get my first 200m underway and get some stuff for Trials. I was pleased. I felt like I can push myself a little more at the end, but this is just kind of seeing where I am at. It’s just good to get out there with them. I’m just trying to be more aggressive this year. That’s something that I’m trying to get to. But I feel like I’m in a good place right now. Training is going well and Trials are right around the corner.”
Wallace Spearmon – men’s 200m
“This was a confidence booster. I have been running my turn really strong at least for me. I just want to contribute to do that through the Trials and the Olympics. I wanted to take the world lead back, but the headwind was really strong. I got a little sluggish toward the end.”
Galen Rupp – men’s 5,000m
“It was a great race and there is no better place to be at than here. My training has been going very well. I was just looking to show up here and compete. I think we (Team USA) will be able to compete well in London. The next step for us is to get more people competing. It’s a general attitude for us.”
Emma Coburn – women’s steeplechase
“With the level that I am at the goal is making the team. My goals are focused on the Trials. This race indicates to me that I am in shape. It was a fun race. It makes me excited to come back and race here again.”
Angelo Taylor – men’s 400m
“It was a slow race and it was just one of those days. Most of the guys are used to racing at night time. At 200 meters most of the guys were pretty much done. This will be my last race before the Trials. It is time to go home and get ready for that.”