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Track and field's newest professionals make impressive debuts at New Balance Indoor Grand Prix


BOSTON -- Track and field’s newest professional athletes made stellar debuts Saturday at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, held at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston. Rai Benjamin, Kendall Ellis, Sydney McLaughlin and Gabby Thomas impressed with their first 2019 indoor competitions on U.S. soil.

The first stop on the IAAF World Indoor Tour began with women’s shot put. Maggie Ewen secured the win on her second throw, gaining 19.28m/63-3.25 in a personal best and meeting record.

Elite track events kicked off with a riveting women’s 600m. Georganne Moline appeared to have a hold on the lead as the field entered the bell lap. Once the finish tape was less than 200m away, Raevyn Rogers made a move to the front and created a gap between her and the competition to win in 1:27.31. Moline still held onto second place until she tripped, which resulted in a DNF.

In an exciting men’s 800m, teammates Clayton Murphy and Donavan Brazier battled for position. Olympic medalist against reigning meet champion, Murphy looked poised to win until Brazier kicked into another gear on the final back straightaway to cross in 1:45.91.  

American indoor 400m record holder Kendall Ellis made her professional debut and earned her first win of the season in the women’s 300m. Ellis won Heat 1 in 36.97, followed by Heat 2 winner and another newly-turned pro athlete, NCAA indoor 200m record holder Gabby Thomas.  

Reigning Toyota USATF Indoor Championships winner Jarret Eaton won the men’s 60m hurdles in 7.64, followed closely by Aaron Mallet and Freddie Crittenden in 7.65 and 7.66.

Pole vaulter Katie Nageotte had a perfect meet against 2016 Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi of Greece. The 2018 U.S. indoor champion cleared every necessary height to win, with Stefanidi missing at 4.81m.

In his first race competing as a U.S. athlete, Rai Benjamin comfortably won the men’s 300m in 32.55, which was also a personal best.

2016 Olympian and 400m hurdles U20 world record holder Sydney McLaughlin toed the line in the meet’s final event. The women’s 500m marked the young phenom’s first race as a professional athlete and she did not falter under pressure. McLaughlin brought home the win in 1:09.46 against Dalanne Zanotelli and Canadian athletes Ashley Taylor and Samantha Murphy.

Click here for full results. Fans can watch full event replays on NBC Sports Gold.

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