Top International Athletes Target 111th NYRR Millrose Games

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Top International Athletes Target 111th NYRR Millrose Games

Lalonde Gordon, who in August won gold for Trinidad & Tobago in the World Championships, will compete in the 400m in February’s 111th NYRR Millrose Games. Photo by John Nepolitan.

After thrilling their compatriots at recent championships, several top international track and field stars will compete in the 111th NYRR Millrose Games at The Armory’s New Balance Track and Field Center on February 3, 2018.

In the global city of New York that is home to the renowned NYRR Millrose Games, the athletes’ countries are well-represented in the local population.

CJ Ujah ran the lead-off leg in the British 4x100m team that seized victory in front of an ecstatic home crowd at the London 2017 World Championships. “GOLD!! unbelievable feeling being on the podium, singing the national anthem in front of a packed crowd,” he tweeted (@Chijindu_Ujah). He capped his year with the IAAF Diamond League title, running 9.97 seconds for the 100m. He will run the NYRR Millrose Games 60m.

Lalonde Gordon anchored Trinidad & Tobago’s 4x400m team to World Championships gold in August 2017, and was a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, individually over 400m and as part of the 4x400 relay team. Gordon lives and trains in New York City and holds the 300m record at The Armory, where he will run the 400m at the NYRR Millrose Games.

Xie Zhenye had a breakthrough 2017 season when he became the Chinese double national champion, lowering his own national 200m record after defeating the Asian champion Su Bingtian in a 10.04 personal best over 100m. A two-time Olympian, Xie will run the 60m in the NYRR Millrose Games. He was fourth with a 6.53 in the 60m at the 2016 World Indoor Championships in Portland, Ore.

Omar McLeod of Jamaica was the 2016 Olympic and 2017 World Championships gold medalist in the 110-meter hurdles and will be returning to the NYRR Millrose Games. The former three-time NCAA individual champion is the World Indoor 60m hurdles gold medalist.

Shaunae Miller-Uibo won 400m gold at Rio 2016 in dramatic fashion, diving across the finish line ahead of Allyson Felix. A two-time Olympian and native of the Bahamas, Miller-Uibo became her nation’s first world-record holder when she broke Felix’s straight 200-meter record in 2017. She was also a bronze medalist at the 2017 World Championships. At the NYRR Millrose Games, Miller-Uibo will run the 300m in which she holds the record at The Armory.

Justyn Knight became Canada’s second NCAA men’s cross country champion, and the first in over a decade, when he lifted the title for Syracuse University on November 18. An eight-time All-American at Syracuse, he was also a finalist in the 2017 London World Championships 5000m.

Emmanuel Korir made Kenya’s 2017 World Championships 800m team while a student at the University of Texas El Paso, after running 1:14.97 to set a world indoor 600m record in Albuquerque on January 20, 2017. He was also the 2017 NCAA indoor and outdoor 800m champion.

The international athletes confirmed to compete at the NYRR Millrose Games so far also include:

Ednah Kurgat of Kenya, who just won the NCAA Cross Country Championship individual women’s title with a new championship record and led her University of New Mexico team to victory.

Wesley Vasquez, who competed in the 800m at the last two Olympic Games representing Puerto Rico, and was also eighth at the 2014 Continental Cup.

Erika Kinsey, who represented Sweden in the high jump at the 2016 Olympics, the 2015 and 2017 World Championships, and the 2016 World Indoor Championships. She is also a former NCAA Division II indoor and outdoor high jump champion.

For NYRR Millrsoe Games on February 3 tickets visit tickets.nyrrmillrosegames.org

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USA and International Gold Medalists Commit to 111th NYRR Millrose Games

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USA and International Gold Medalists Commit to 111th NYRR Millrose Games

Gold medalists Emma Coburn, Omar McLeod and Shaunae Miller-Uibo have announced they will compete at the 111th  NYRR Millrose Games at The Armory’s New Balance Track & Field Center on February 3, 2018.

The NYRR Millrose Games has taken place in front of enthusiastic, sold-out crowds at The Armory during each of the past three years, as fans welcome the world's greatest athletes to New York City.

 “The NYRR Millrose Games has clearly reignited the excitement and traditions from its storied history”, said Meet Director, Ray Flynn.  “The best athletes are all asking to be included in this world famous track meet at The Armory.” 

Today’s announcement already assures three of the world’s top track & field athletes are coming to the 111th NYRR Millrose Games with many more to follow:

Coburn recently won Gold at the London World Championships in the 3,000-meter steeplechase en route to breaking the American Record.  Coburn is the only American woman in history to win a Gold Medal at the Olympics or World Championships in steeplechase.  She will be competing in the 3,000 meters at the NYRR Millrose Games.

McLeod, of Jamaica, was the Gold Medalist at the 2017 London World Championships and the 2016 Rio Olympics in the 110-meter hurdles.  McLeod is a 3-time NCAA champion and will compete in the NYRR Millrose Games.

Miller-Uibo won the 2016 Gold Medal at the Rio Olympics in 400 meters in dramatic fashion as she dove across the finish line 0.07 seconds ahead of Allyson Felix.  A native of the Bahamas, Miller-Uibo became her nation’s first world record holder when she broke Felix’s straight 200-meter record on June 4, 2017.  Miller-Uibo will run in the 300-meter event in the NYRR Millrose Games.

For NYRR Millrsoe Games on February 3 tickets visit tickets.nyrrmillrosegames.org

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110th NYRR Millrose Games Recap

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110th NYRR Millrose Games Recap

A sellout, celebratory crowd of 5,000 filed out of the Armory’s New Balance Track and Field Center Saturday evening following an action-packed 110th edition of the NYRR Millrose Games, and Dr. Norbert Sander was in an understandably upbeat mood.

The Armory Foundation's President and CEO – the man who had made all this possible at "the House That Norb Built" – was a total-smile as he recounted event after event that had made this latest renewal of the most venerable, most renowned of all indoor track meets one of the best yet.

"I would say that, in the annals of the Millrose Games, this was certainly one of the greatest," said former NYC Marathon champion Dr. Sander.

"You know, when you look at the records set, the quality of the races, how close they were; you know, it was one thing after another, it was spectacular.”

"You really couldn't ask for more, you really couldn't.”

"This is a great sport and we had a full house.”

"The atmosphere and the degree of excellence in general, the excitement was at such a level, and it stayed there. It wasn't all of a sudden just one big race, it was a continuation of terrific, outstanding performances.”

 "It started at 11:45 (a.m.) and it just kept going..."

Special tributes to Jack Rudin and Allan Steinfeld, immortal figures in the founding and growth of the New York Road Runners and in track and field, who'd passed away in recent months, were a major part of the proceedings, too.

Here's a recount of some of those gaudiest NYRR Millrose Games details:

No one – not even such immortals as Madeline Manning, Cheryl Toussaint, Joetta Clark Diggs and Hazel Clark – had ever won four consecutive Millrose women's 800-meter titles.

But Neptune, New Jersey pride and joy Ajee' Wilson did just that and in spectacular fashion Saturday with an American-record 1:58.27 four laps. With top rival Charlene Lipsey making a hard charge of her own, both dipped under the 2002 1:58.71 American record performance of Nicole Teter.

And for good measure, sixth-place finisher Samantha "Sammy" Watson crossed the line in 2:01.28, thus besting the USA national scholastic record of the famed Mary Decker that had endured since 1974.

With typical modesty, Wilson, the 22-year-old Temple University graduate and Olympic semifinalist, acknowledged, " of all the Millrose Games I’ve run in, it’s fun to see how far I’ve come."

The women's 500-meter race – two and a half laps around the Armory oval – was the setting for another American record. Rio 2016 4x400 relay gold medalist Courtney Okollo, out of Texas A&M, sped the route in 1:07.34, thus topping Shana Cox's 2010 mark of 1:08.70 from the AR charts.

The men's 500, though, was a great race but a near miss. Olympian Vernon Norwood (1:00.11) edged NYAC's Brycen Spratling (1:00.90) and so Spratling's 1:00.06 in 2014 stays in the book and the sport still awaits the first American to dip under the one-minute mark.

Per NYRR Millrose Games tradition – and a concept of meet director Ray Flynn, of "leaving the best for last" – the men's NYRR Wanamaker Mile was again a dazzler.

Flynn, Sander and the other 5,000 in the Armory had high hopes of someone emerging to put a scare into either the AR (Bernard Lagat's 3:48.99 in 2005) or the Armory and Millrose record (Matthew Centrowitz's 3:50.63 last year) but that's not the way the script evolved.

Instead, Eric Jenkins, the New Englander who'd transferred from Norheastern University to Oregon and come of age as a celebrity of his event by winning last September's Fifth Avenue Mile, outclassed and out strategized an all-star field to win in 3:53.23. No less than eight others bested the 4-minute mark.

“It’s historic,” said the delighted Jenkins. "The best people run in this race. It’s one of the good wins for me. I knew that I didn’t have the speed a lot of these guys have but I know I have the strength." And so he fought them all off.

Oh, and the second-echelon Invitation Mile delivered some additional sub-4 running when Christian Soratos (3:54.23) bested Penn's Christian Hatler (3:59.21.)

Holland's Sifan Hassan was another featured eight-lapper, lowering the NYRR Wanamaker women's mile record to a billiant 4:19.89.

The 2016 world indooor 1500-meter champion outdueled U.S, 800-meter Olympian Kate Grace, the Yale grad, and 2015-16 NYRR Millrose Games champion Shannn Rowbury – who was also the cover girl for the official Millrose program – and finally got the meet record under 4:20.

(But the women's world mile record remains the 4:17.14 run in 1990 by Romania's Doina Melinte at the fondly-remembered Meadowlands Invitation Meet which put East Rutherford, N.J. on the world sports map.)

When Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas won the women's Olympic 400 final in Rio, it took her a desperation tumble over the finish line to edge USA's Allyson Felix for the gold medal.

"No, that (the Rio tumble) wasn't planned; it just happened to happen that way," Miller continues to tell the track world. There were no tumbles needed at the Armory, either, as Miller zipped 300 meters to win in 35.71 over an illustrious field.

Leading the chase pack were Ashley Spencer (36.27), veteran Natasha Hastings (36.88) and Sydney McLaughlin (the Olympian now a senior at New Jersey's Union Catholic High School) in 37.09.

With Centrowitz opting to run The Paavo Nurmi two-mile, considerable spotlight focused on that event, too. But the NYC-rooted "Centro" was not quite in his Rio form and wound up seventh in 8:21.07 in the 16-lapper led by Dartmouth grad Ben True, the former cross country skiing star, in 8:11.32.

Sixty-meter straightaway titles went to sprinters Clayton Vaughn, 6.62, and Dezerea Bryant, 7.12, and hurdlers Omar McLeod, the Olympic champion from Jamaica, 7.46, and Canada's Phyllis George, 7.98.

The men's 60 sprint this year celebrated the great legacy of the New York Pioneer Club and Coach Joe Yancey, with Vaughn earning a special plaque presented by Pioneer Club star Harry Bright.

Two of the three field events on the Saturday card also attracted the best of Rio. Gold medalists Derek Drouin of Canada led the male high jumpers at 7-5 1/4 and pole vaulter Katerina Stefanidi of Greece the female pole vaulters at 15-9 3/4.

The Junior Men's Pole Vault, coordinated by "Flying Circus" mastermind Tim St. Lawrence, was a big hit, too. Louisiana high school sensation Armand DuPlantis won it with a brilliant 18-10 ¾ clearance. Just one other vaulter in the Millrose annals, of any age, has ever gone higher, and he's 2015 World Champion Shawnacy Barber of Canada.

A late scratch in the boys PV, though, was Texan Riley Richards, grandson of the famed Rev. Bob Richards, 11 times a Millrose vault winner and the only man ever to win consecutive (1952-56) Olympic vault titles.

One more sensational NYRR Millrose Games youngster was Carlisle, Pa.'s Noah Affolder, the boys high school mile winner in 4:07.24, time that finally bettered the meet mark of 4:08.0 that Kevin Byrne had set in 1977.

Shore Athletic Club's Jonathan Hallman continues proving himself the quickest young pedestrian in the nation. With a big charge over final two laps, 23-year-old Hallman won the Susan Rudin/USATF National Championship one-mile racewak in 6:04.29. It was his fourth Millrose walk win in five years, but it was never easy, either.

"It's always a long ride up here (he and his Dad annually drive up from their home in Liberty, S.C.) and I've been fighting a cold for a week," said Hallman. "And now we've got to turn around for the long ride back."

Impressive, too, was two-time Olympian and now four-time winner of the Susan Rudin women's mile walk, Long Islander Dr. Maria Michta-Coffey, in 6:31.85 over Olympic teammate Miranda Melville (6:36.82.)

More fun for Dr. Sander, a proud Fordham alumnus: His Ram successors won the Metro college 4x400 relay in 3:18.00 and ran a close second to Penn in the distance medley.

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Two American Records Set During 110th NYRR Millrose Games

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Two American Records Set During 110th NYRR Millrose Games

Ajee’ Wilson continues to shine at The Armory’s New Balance Track & Field Center, her favorite running venue, winning Saturday’s Women’s 800 meters for the fourth year in a row during the nationally-televised 110th NYRR Millrose Games.

By winning with a 1:58.27 time, the 22-year-old former Neptune High School (N.J.) product, established a new American indoor record before a sold-out Armory crowd in Washington Heights. She eclipsed the 1:58.71 mark set by Nicole Teter in 2002.

 “This has been a progression to get where I am,” said Wilson, who resides in Philadelphia. “Of all the Millrose Games I’ve run in, it’s fun to see how far I’ve come.

“My coach (Derek Thompson) and I don’t try to go after records. But before the race he said, ‘Go run your race.’ It wouldn’t make sense to not take a crack at it. The last two weeks have been going really well and the training has been great. I know what kind of shape I’m in and it’s all about opportunities.”

She outlasted adidas teammate, Charlene Lipsey, whose 1:58.64 also broke Teter’s former record. In the same race, high school running sensation Samantha Watson broke the 43-year-old national high school mark in the 800 set by Mary Decker (Slaney) with a 2:01.28.

Speaking of American records, Olympic Gold Medalist Courtney Okolo set the Women’s Indoor 500m record with a 1:07.34 time, bettering Shane Cox’s 1:08.70 time in 2010.

The men’s NYRR Wanamaker Mile, the signature event of the NYRR Millrose Games, belonged to Nike Oregon Project’s Eric Jenkins. He outlasted U.S. Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy and local product Kyle Merber during the last 400 meters to win with a 3:53.23. Murphy (3:54:31) and Merber (3:54.67) finished second and third, respectively.

“It’s historic,” Jenkins said moments afterward, embracing the large Wanamaker trophy. “The best people run this race. It’s one of the good wins for me. I knew that I didn’t have the speed a lot of these guys have but I know I have the strength. I wanted to be in the front with 800 to go. I tried to pick up the pace when the rabbit got off. It really went well for me.

“This is big. This is one of my best races.”

Sifan Hassan, the World Indoor Champion in the 1500m in 2016, captured the Women’s NYRR Wanamaker Mile, turning back runner-up Kate Grace and Nike Oregon Project teammate and two-time defending champion Shannon Rowbury. The 24-year-old Rio Olympian from the Netherlands won with a meet record 4:19.89 mark.

Olympic gold medalist Shaunae Miller captured the women’s 300 meters, one of the day’s most anticipated races. Miller won with a 35.71 in an outstanding field that included Olympic gold medalist Natasha Hastings (36.88) and New Jersey high school Olympian Sydney McLaughlin (37.09).

Olympic gold medalist Katerina Stefanidi and silver medalist Sandi Morris continued their friendly rivalry during the John Catsimatidis Women’s Pole Vault. And just like during the Olympics in Rio and during last year’s NYRR Millrose Games, Stefanidi prevailed. She cleared 15.9 ¾ while Morris finished with 15.5 ¾.

Earlier in the day, Sweden’s Armand Duplantis set the boys’ junior world pole vault mark (18 feet, 10 3/4 inches).

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10 Storylines to Follow at 110th NYRR Millrose Games at Armory on Saturday

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10 Storylines to Follow at 110th NYRR Millrose Games at Armory on Saturday

The 110th NYRR Millrose Games will feature 55 Olympians, 11 Olympic gold medalists and seven additional Olympic medalists competing on Saturday, February 11 at The Armory’s New Balance Track & Field Center.

Ray Flynn, 2016 USA Track Field’s Meet Director of the Year, anticipates plenty of story lines from the 110th NYRR Millrose Games edition. Flynn is overseeing his sixth NYRR Millrose Games as Meet Director and has come up with his “Top 10 to Watch” list from the day’s schedule of events from noon-6 p.m.:

1. Can Matthew Centrowitz, 2016 Olympic 1500m Champion, win the NYRR Millrose Games’ Paavo Nurmi Two Miles against a star studded field, running twice the distance?

2. Who will win the 2016 Olympic Games Pole Vault Final rematch: gold medalist Katerina Stefanidi from Greece or Team USA’s Olympic silver medalist Sandi Morris in the John Catsimatidis Pole Vault.

3. Can DJ Principe become the 3rd high school boy to break 4 minutes for the mile, running in the Invitational mile (the previous two Alan Webb and Drew Hunter did at the Armory)

4. Can anyone beat Olympic Champion Tianna Bartoletta in the Women’s 60m?

5. Will Xie Zhenye from China score a major victory in the Men’s 60m? It would be a first Chinese victory at the NYRR Millrose Games.

6. Sydney McLaughlin, the high school Olympian, races Olympic champion Shaunae Miller, who famously dove across the line in Rio, and 2016 4x400m relay gold medalist Natasha Hastings. Does Sydney break the 300m National High School record?

7. There will be a first time Men’s NYRR Wanamaker Mile winner. Will it be Robby Andrews, Clayton Murphy or Leo Manzano?

8. Can Shannon Rowbury finally break the Women’s American Record in the NYRR Wanamaker Mile?

9. Can New York’s own 2016 Olympic Champion Dalilah Muhammed hold off Rio relay gold medalist and Boston Champion Courtney Okolo in the 500m?

10. Will 2016 Olympic Games high jump champion Derek Drouin jump above 7 feet 6 inches to win?

The NYRR Millrose Games – features track and field’s most prolific male and female stars as well as collegiate, high school, club and youth competitors – is scheduled for Saturday, February 11 from noon-6 p.m. with a live national television window on NBC from 4-6 p.m. at The Armory and streamed live on USATF.tv from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST.

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110th NYRR Millrose Games to Highlight New York Road Runners’ Partnership with The Armory Foundation, Showcasing Top Young Runners Alongside Olympians

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110th NYRR Millrose Games to Highlight New York Road Runners’ Partnership with The Armory Foundation, Showcasing Top Young Runners Alongside Olympians

NYRR Young Runners 800-Meter Finals to include top New York City youth; NYRR Wanamaker Mile to feature nine Olympians, with Shannon Rowbury going for a three-peat in the women’s race

NYRR Millrose Games to be broadcast live nationally on NBC from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (ET) and streamed live on USATF.tv from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (ET)

The 110th NYRR Millrose Games on Saturday, February 11, at the New Balance Track and Field Center at The Armory, will highlight the year-round partnership between The Armory Foundation, which oversees the premier indoor track and field center in America, and New York Road Runners, the world’s largest community running organization.

NYRR has been the title sponsor of the NYRR Millrose Games since 2014, and for the second consecutive year the next generation of stars will share the same track as Olympians at the event. The NYRR Young Runners 800-Meter Finals will feature the top NYRR Young Runners from New York City’s five boroughs just before the world’s top sprinters and Olympians compete in the iconic NYRR Wanamaker Mile.

“The NYRR Millrose Games serves as the perfect event to showcase New York Road Runners’ impactful partnership with The Armory Foundation,” said Michael Capiraso, president and CEO of New York Road Runners. “The event will feature a talented group of runners of all ages, from our young runners here in New York City to Olympians from around the world, making for a memorable day for all participants.”

The NYRR Millrose Games will be broadcast live nationally on NBC this year from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (ET) as part of the USATF Championship Series. Fans can also catch the excitement on the live webcast from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST on USATF.tv. For those unable to attend the NYRR Millrose Games in-person, a viewing party will be held from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. (ET) at the NYRR RUNCENTER.

“The 110th edition of the NYRR Millrose Games is shaping up to be an outstanding day of track and field, which sports fans across the country can watch on network television thanks to the USATF and NBC,” said Peter Ciaccia, president of events of New York Road Runners and the race director of the TCS New York City Marathon. “The fastest athletes on the track will be taking center stage, with the prestigious NYRR Wanamaker Mile featuring Olympic and U.S. medalists along with some of the best high school talent in America.”

The NYRR Young Runners 800-Meter Finals will include 15 boys and 15 girls who qualified for the event at January’s NYRR Millrose Games Trials at The Armory. The boys will take to the start line at 2:24 p.m., and the girls will line up at 4:14 p.m.

The youth participants are all part of NYRR Young Runners, a free distance-running program in which kids learn to run distances up to four miles while training together as a team. The program is offered to all New York City public schools and is also available for free to youth clubs and before and after-school programs in underserved communities.

There are 215,000 youth served nationally through NYRR’s free youth running programs and events, including 115,000 in New York City’s five boroughs.

NYRR has partnered with The Armory Foundation since 2007 and sponsors year-round events at the venue in support of the 125,000 kids it serves annually. NYRR is involved in many events and programs The Armory offers throughout the year, including the NYRR Millrose Games, the NYRR Thursday Night at the Races, its season-long high school training program, and several youth events.

At the NYRR Millrose Games, NYRR is also supporting the NYRR 4x200 and the

NYRR Fastest Kid on the Block events, with both races featuring inspiring youth runners who participate in NYRR’s free youth running programs across New York City’s five boroughs and beyond.

The NYRR Millrose Games will culminate with the NYRR Wanamaker Mile, the meet’s signature event which has taken place every year on the men’s side since 1926 and on the women’s side since 1976. This year’s field will include nine Olympians, including two-time defending champion Shannon Rowbury and Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy. Rowbury is the American-record holder in both the 1500 meters and 5000 meters, while Murphy set a personal best over 800 meters in Rio last year, running 1:42.93 to become the third-fastest American in history.

The women’s and men’s NYRR Wanamaker Mile races will start at 5:27 p.m. and 5:50 p.m. (ET), respectively.

Tickets to the NYRR Millrose Games are available for purchase here.

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Sydney McLaughlin Running at Top of Her Game Heading Toward 300m at NYRR Millrose Games

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Sydney McLaughlin Running at Top of Her Game Heading Toward 300m at NYRR Millrose Games

High school Olympian Sydney McLaughlin of Union Catholic (Scotch Plains, N.J.) will have a prime chance to go after a national record in the 300 meters at the 110th NYRR Millrose Games on February 11 at The Armory’s New Balance Track and Field Center.

McLaughlin's stature as one of the greatest high school athletes of all time was further cemented on Saturday in Boston when she contributed to a world record in the women's distance medley relay at the New Balance Grand Prix in Boston. Competing with three fellow, and older, U.S. Olympians, McLaughlin took the baton for the second leg of the relay.

“I'm so happy we came (here) and did what we wanted to do," McLaughlin said of the record-breaking relay, which included Emma Coburn, Brenda Martinez and Jenny Simpson.

McLaughlin's 2016 season was nothing short of magical as she broke a 32-year-old national high school record in the 400-meter hurdles at New Balance Nationals Outdoor in Greensboro, N.C. From there, she overcame the nerves and pressure of the Olympic Trials to run even faster and earn a spot on Team USA.

“This past year of my life has been a dream come true for me," McLaughlin said. “To make the Olympics at 16 is something I never really pictured myself doing. I'm very proud of everything I accomplished and what my coaches and family pushed me to do, and it's something I can always look back on and remember.”

McLaughin advanced to the semifinal round of the 400-meter hurdles in Rio de Janeiro.

“Being able to wear Team USA across my chest was definitely an honor," she said.

Last November, McLaughlin committed to the University of Kentucky.

At the NYRR Millrose Games, McLaughlin will line up against a field that includes Olympic 400 meters champion Shaunae Miller and U.S. Olympic 4x400 relay gold medalist Natasha Hastings

The national high school record for 300 meters is 36.96 seconds by Francena McCorory in 2006. McLaughlin ran a personal best 37.11 seconds at The Armory on Jan. 14, good for No. 2 all-time. 

Media requesting credentials need to click on 2017 NYRR media credential request form and fill out respective forms. Deadline is Monday, February 6.

Purchase your tickets at tickets.nyrrmillrosegames.org/ticket 

 

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Legendary Coach Frank Gagliano Continues To Be Inspiration to Track & Field Athletes

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Legendary Coach Frank Gagliano Continues To Be Inspiration to Track & Field Athletes

If 55 years of coaching track and field have taught Frank Gagliano anything, it's to keep going.

The legendary coach, now in his seventh year at the helm of HOKA New Jersey New York Track Club  (NJNYTC) has three athletes competing in the in the NYRR Men's Wanamaker Mile at the 110th NYRR Millrose Games on Feb. 11 at The Armory’s New Balance Track and Field Center.

Kyle Merber, Johnny Gregorek and Colby Alexander were announced as participants in the signature event of the NYRR Millrose Games on Tuesday.

But for the coach known as "Gags," this new year came with a few important changes and a resolve to keep doing what he loves.

“As long as my mind is in the sport for workouts, so I don't deprive the men and women that I'm coaching, I'll keep (coaching)," Gagliano said. “I try to keep as healthy as I can and we move on."

Gagliano will turn 80 in March. He got his start at Roselle Catholic High School in New Jersey and had a long distinguished college coaching career at Rutgers and Georgetown before becoming a professional coach for post-collegians.

Last year, 16 members of the HOKA NJNYTC qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials and steeplechaser Donn Cabral made the team and competed in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

In November, the club got a shot in the arm when HOKA ONE  ONE became the exclusive sponsor of the NJNYTC. Suddenly, the endless burden of fund-raising to keep the club running was eased. And the home base has moved, from Dunellen, N.J. to Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.

Gagliano lives nearby in Rye, New York. And his two assistants, Tom Nohilly and John Trautmann are also close by.

"(The move) has been really great because we all live within five miles of each other in Westchester County," Gagliano said. “We can come in (to The Armory) on the morning train. It's been a pleasure."

The club lost some athletes and added some new ones for the next four-year cycle. 

Gagliano's energy and expertise still drives the group.

“I've got to want it and they've got to want it to achieve their goals," Gagliano said. "All of them are college graduates and they've all given (me) four years."

Purchase tickets for the 110th NYRR Millrose Games before they sell out at tickets.nyrrmillrosegames.org/tickets

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Defending Champion Shannon Rowbury and Olympic Medalist Clayton Murphy to Highlight NYRR Wanamaker Mile Fields at 110th NYRR Millrose Games

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Defending Champion Shannon Rowbury and Olympic Medalist Clayton Murphy to Highlight NYRR Wanamaker Mile Fields at 110th NYRR Millrose Games

(Left) New York Road Runners President and CEO Michael Capiraso, 2016 NYRR Wanamaker Mile women’s champion Shannon Rowbury and New York Road Runners President of Events and Race Director of TCS New York City Marathon Peter Ciaccia. Photo courtesy of Ross Dettman.

 

Three-time Olympian Shannon Rowbury will go for her third straight title in the NYRR Wanamaker Mile, while Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy will make his debut in the event at the 110th NYRR Millrose Games on Saturday, February 11 at The Armory’s New Balance Track and Field Center. The signature event at the NYRR Millrose Games has taken place every year on the men’s side since 1926 and on the women’s side since 1976. This year’s field will include five men and four women who have competed in the Olympic Games and will be broadcast live nationally by NBC Sports Group.

 

“The NYRR Wanamaker Mile is one of the most prestigious and historic track and field events in the world,” said Peter Ciaccia, NYRR president of events and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon. “This year’s fields are once again first class, with Shannon going for a three-peat and Clayton, one of Team USA’s newest Olympic medalists, making his much -anticipated debut in the event. Through our great partnership with The Armory, we’re honored to be able to recruit these amazing athletes to run at the New Balance Track and Field Center.”

 

Rowbury, 32, of Portland, OR, is the American record-holder in both the 1500 meters and 5000 meters, having taken the mark in the latter at last September’s Diamond League Final in Brussels, clocking a 14:39.92 to shatter Molly Huddle’s previous record. The two-time world bronze medalist ran away with the NYRR Wanamaker Mile title in 2015, winning by three seconds in 4:24.31, the No. 4 indoor time in the world that year. She defended her title last year, easily prevailing to take the tape in 4:24.39. Rowbury is a two-time 5th Avenue Mile champion who finished in fourth place in the 1500-meter final at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

 

“I’m so excited to be back at the NYRR Millrose Games, and to have another shot at the indoor mile American record,” Rowbury said. “Racing in NYC at an NYRR event is one of the highlights of my season. The atmosphere at The Armory and the quality of the competition never fails to impress, and I hope that I can do the same.”

 

Added NYRR Millrose Games Meet Director Ray Flynn: "We witnessed the fastest men's mile in the world set last year. The NYRR Wanamaker Mile continues to be one of the great indoor races and this year's fields live up to ‎the great competition we've come to expect."

 

Murphy, 21, of New Paris, OH, was the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials champion over 800 meters and won bronze in the distance at the Rio 2016 Olympics. He set a personal best in Rio, running 1:42.93 to become the third-fastest American in history. Murphy, who won two NCAA titles in 2016 and a Pan American title in 2015, finished fourth the last time he was in New York City at September’s New Balance 5th Avenue Mile.

 

“To me the most prestigious indoor meet in the world is the NYRR Millrose Games, and the Wanamaker Mile is without a doubt, the feature event,” Murphy said. “I am looking forward to experiencing this historic event from the inside for a change. I have been enjoying myself since turning pro last summer and most of my success has come in the 800 meters, but I really feel my potential in the mile is untapped. I can't wait to show the fans in New York what I can do.”

 

Added NYRR Millrose Games Meet Director Ray Flynn: "We witnessed the fastest men's mile in the world set last year. The NYRR Wanamaker Mile continues to be one of the great indoor races and this year's fields live up to ‎the great competition we've come to expect."

 

Additional Top Athlete Backgrounds and Notable Performances

  • Robby Andrews, 25, of Manalapan, NJ, qualified for his first Olympic team last summer after finishing second over 1500 meters at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. A 2011 NCAA champion at 800 meters, Andrews finished fourth in last year’s NYRR Wanamaker Mile.
  • Eric Jenkins, 25, of Portsmouth, NH, won the 2016 New Balance 5th Avenue Mile, outkicking Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz at the finish. He narrowly missed an Olympic berth with a fourth-place finish over 5000 meters at last year’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials. 
  • Leo Manzano, 32, of Austin, TX, became the first American to medal in the 1500 meters at the Olympics in 44 years in 2012. He placed fourth in the event at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, ending his 10-year streak of finishing in the top three in the event at the national championships.
  • Kate Grace, 28, of Sacramento, CA, won the 800 meters at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in a personal-best 1:59.10 and then ran a new personal best of 1:58.79 in the Rio Olympic semifinals before placing eighth in the finals. She also finished second at the 2016 New Balance Games Mile.
  • Brenda Martinez, 29, of Big Bear Lake, CA, made her Olympic Games debut last summer, competing in the 1500 meters in Rio. She finished fifth in the distance at last year’s IAAF World Indoor Championships and owns a bronze medal in the 800 meters from the 2013 IAAF World Championships.
  • Nicole Sifuentes, 30, of Canada, made her second Olympic team last summer, getting to the semifinals of the 1500 meters. The 12-time NCAA All-American at the University of Michigan was a bronze medalist in her signature event at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships.

 

Top Professional Men

Name

Mile Personal Best

Twitter Handle

Leo Manzano, USA

3:50.64

@leomanzano

Robby Andrews, USA

3:53.16

@RA_Andrews

Izaic Yorks, USA

3:53.89

@IzaicY

Charles Philibert-Thiboutot, CAN

3:54.52

@Chuck_PT

Kyle Merber, USA

3:54.57

@TheRealMerb

Colby Alexander, USA

3:54.94

@okaycolby

Johnny Gregorek, USA

3:55.27

@JohnnyGregorek

Eric Jenkins, USA

3:57.09

@_EricJenkins

Clayton Murphy, USA

3:57.11

@Clayton_Murph

Drew Hunter, USA

3:57.15

@drewhunter00

Henry Wynne, USA

3:58.74

@Hwynning

 

 

Top Professional Women

 

Name

Mile Personal Best

Twitter Handle

Shannon Rowbury, USA

4:20.34

@ShannonRowbury

Katie Mackey, USA

4:25.48

@KatiefMackey

Amanda Eccleston, USA

4:25.64

@AmandaEcc

Brenda Martinez, USA

4:26.76

@bmartrun

Lea O’Connor, USA

4:27.18

@LeahKayO

Heather Kampf, USA

4:27.23

@HeatherRaeKampf

Alexa Efraimson, USA

4:27.39

@AlexaEfraimson

Nicole Sifuentes, CAN

4:27.93

@ndsifuentes

Kate Grace, USA

4:28.30

@fastk8

Elinor Purrier, USA

4:29.71

@ellepurrier

Dominique Scott-Efurd, RSA

4:31.57

@domscottrunSA

Kaela Edwards, USA

4:32.14

@kaelaAedwards

Kate Murphy, USA

4:39.47

@trackmurph

 

 

Purchase tickets to the 110th NYRR Millrose Games on February 11 before they sell out at tickets.nyrrmillrosegames.org/tickets

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Olympic Gold Medalist Matthew Centrowitz to Run In Paavo Nurmi Two-Miles at NYRR Millrose Games

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Olympic Gold Medalist Matthew Centrowitz to Run In Paavo Nurmi Two-Miles at NYRR Millrose Games

The announcement of Matthew Centrowitz participating in the 110th NYRR Millrose Games on February 11th means that 12 Olympic gold medalists from Rio will be competing at The Armory in track & field’s most recognized indoor meet. Photo by John Nepolitan

Olympic 1,500 meters champion Matthew Centrowitz, already a three-time NYRR Wanamaker Mile champion, will turn his attention to the Paavo Nurmi Two Miles at the 110th NYRR Millrose Games at The Armory’s New Balance Track & Field Center on Feb. 11.

Centrowitz, who became the first American man to take gold in the Olympic 1,500 meters since 1908, will line up against a field that includes Ryan Hill, the World Indoor 3,000 meters silver medalist, Olympians Ben Blankenship, Hassan Mead, Mo Ahmed, Donn Cabral, and also Ben True.

“I’m kind of excited about a couple of things,” Centrowitz said. “One is about racing some of (coach) Jerry Schumacher’s guys (Hill and Ahmed). I’ve heard they’re going out to run a fast time, so it sounds like it will be set up for a fast race. There are not many opportunities to run a 2-mile, especially against those guys.”

Centrowitz ran 3:50.63 to win the NYRR Wanamaker Mile in 2016 and that time held up as the fastest mile in the world for 2016.

He opened his 2017 season with a strong 7:49.89 clocking for 3,000 meters at the University of Washington Indoor Preview on January 14 in Seattle.

By moving up in distance, Centrowitz said he is aiming to become more versatile and would like to keep his options open by the time 2020 comes around.

“As long as I’m having success in the 1,500 meters, which is such a signature event and fan favorite, I’ll stay with it,” Centrowitz said. “I have spoken to (coach) Alberto (Salazar) and it’s no secret that I’ll probably do a 5K this outdoor season. If I do move up down the road it won’t be such a foreign event, but a lot of my training is strength-based anyway.” 

The Paavo Nurmi Two Miles is an NYRR Millrose Games event named for the famous “Flying Finn,” who won nine Olympic gold medals from 1920 to 1928. In 1925, Nurmi came to New York City and broke the world record in the 2,000 meters at The Armory. 

The event is also supported by Finland’s Paavo Nurmi Games, which celebrates its 60th year on June 13.

For Centrowitz, it means twice as many laps and twice as much time in front of an enthusiastic NYRR Millrose Games crowd.

The American record of 8:07.41 by Centrowitz’s Nike Oregon Project teammate, Galen Rupp, could be in play.

“I’ve noticed that I do a lot better when I put myself in a race to try and win rather than go for time,” Centrowitz said. “I’m pleased where I’m at right now. I feel like I can run a fast time. Eight-oh-seven seems like a strong record. It’s only four seconds off Mo (Farah’s) world record. But if some of those guys get around that (pace) and I’m competitive I could be near it. But I’m more concerned about trying to beat those guys.” 

Centrowitz’s entry makes it 12 Olympic gold medalists who will be competing at the NYRR Millrose Games. 

Purchase tickets for the 110th NYRR Millrose Games on February 11 HERE.

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Olympic Gold Medalist Dalilah Muhammad Returning Home to Run in NYRR Millrose Games

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Olympic Gold Medalist Dalilah Muhammad Returning Home to Run in NYRR Millrose Games

Olympic gold medalist and former Benjamin Cardozo High School standout Dalilah Muhammad is looking forward to returning to The Armory where she remembers running as a seven-year-old. Photo by Victah Sailer

Olympic gold medalist and Queens native Dalilah Muhammad will make a triumphant return to The Armory’s New Balance Track and Field Center for the 110th NYRR Millrose Games set for February 11th.  

Muhammad, who graduated from Benjamin Cardozo High School, hasn't competed at The Armory since running for the University of Southern California in 2011. 

“I'm really excited," Muhammad said. "I've been racing at The Armory since I was seven years old. I remember my very first race at The Armory was the 1,500 meters."

Muhammad long ago gave up distance running and in 2016 became the first U.S. woman to win the Olympic gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles. At the Olympic Trials she ran a lifetime best 52.88 seconds to win the national title and move to No. 5 all-time in U.S. history.  

Chasing the record of 52.47 by Lashinda Demus from 2011 and defending her global title at the IAAF World Championships are goals for 2017, Muhammad said.

“Getting a little bit close to (the record) makes it seem like an attainable goal," she said.

At Millrose, Muhammad is entered in the 500 meters, which is an event she has seldom run. But the chance to use the race as a test of fitness as she heads into the outdoor season is valuable. 

“Every race I do is preparing me for the 400-meter hurdles," she added.

The opportunity to compete in front of family and friends is an added bonus.

Two of her best Armory memories involve running the 400 meters as a high school junior in 2007. She beat a field of college and pro athletes at the New Balance Games when she ran 54.28 seconds. She later won the National Scholastic title that year.

"It will be nice to go back and see the fans in New York," Muhammad said. "It's a chance for my family to see me run, feel the love, and get ready for the outdoor season."

Reserve your seat to the world's longest-running and most prestigious indoor track and field competition by purchasing tickets HERE.

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11 Gold Medalists from Rio Ready to Shine In 110th NYRR Millrose Games

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11 Gold Medalists from Rio Ready to Shine In 110th NYRR Millrose Games

100-meter hurdle sensation Brianna Rollins is one of 11 gold medalists from last year’s Summer Olympics in Rio who will compete in the 110th NYRR Millrose Games on February 11 at The Armory’s New Balance Track & Field Center.  Photo by Victah Sailer

Eleven Olympic gold medalists from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games are among the confirmed entries for the 110th  NYRR Millrose Games at The Armory’s New Balance Track & Field Center on Feb. 11.

“USATF had a history-making performance in Rio," USATF CEO Max Siegel said. "It is only fitting that so many medalists from our 2016 team compete at the most historic indoor meet in the world.”

One of the best fields in the history of the NYRR Millrose Games promises to once again to be a hot ticket and a rare New York City opportunity to see so many stars from Rio as they begin building up to the 2017 IAAF World Championships. 

Three reigning Olympic hurdles champions -- Americans Brianna Rollins (100 meters) and Dalilah Muhammad (400 meters) and Jamaican Omar McLeod (110 meters) -- lead the parade of champions. Shaunae Miller from the Bahamas, who dove across the finish line to win gold in the women's 400 meters final, is also entered.

Long jump champions Jeff Henderson and Tianna Bartoletta, both of the U.S., men's high jump champion Derek Drouin of Canada, and women's pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi of Greece all come to Millrose riding a wave of Olympic glory. Sprinters Courtney Okolo, Phyllis Francis and Natasha Hastings were teammates on the U.S. women's gold-medal winning 4x400 relay.

“Eleven gold medalists, with a surprise possible 12th committing, must make this year’s NYRR Millrose Games a world record in itself,” Armory Foundation President Dr. Norbert Sander said. “The Olympic Games is the feature story of this, the 110th edition of the world’s most historic indoor track & field meet.”

Tickets for the 110th NYRR Millrose Games on February 11, 2017 are available HERE.

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Blast from the past: 110th NYRR Millrose Games Celebrates Return of Metropolitan Relays

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Blast from the past: 110th NYRR Millrose Games Celebrates Return of Metropolitan Relays

New York University will be one of six area schools to participate in the 110th NYRR Millrose Games’ Metropolitan Relays at The Armory New Balance Track & Field Center.  Photo by John Nepolitan

One of the best opportunities of the year to see the major players of New York-area college track and field go head-to-head is being assembled for the Metropolitan men’s and women’s 4x400 relays at the  110th NYRR Millrose Games at The Armory’s New Balance Track & Field Center on Saturday, February 11th.. 

Teams from Columbia University, New York University, Fordham University, St. John’s University, Manhattan College and Stony Brook University on Long Island all have lanes in this one-of-a-kind event that pits six different area schools from six separate college conferences. All but Stony Brook will compete in the women’s relay.

“There is always a great deal of pride on the line when competing against teams from our local area,” said St. John’s women’s coach Jim Hurt. “To do it in the frame work of the NYRR Millrose Games just heightens the excitement. I know our team will be buzzed to run the best at Millrose.

“We have a very talented team and the opportunity to run in the most prestigious meet in the country will give them great exposure.”

Many of the athletes from these teams regularly train and compete at The Armory but the 4x400 relay gives them a chance to go head to head. Third-year coach Dan Ireland leads Columbia of the Ivy League and located just a few miles south of The Armory along Broadway. First-year coach Erison Hurtault helms the Violets of NYU, of the NCAA Division III University Athletic Association. NYU, located near Greenwich Village, won the UAA 4x400 relay title outdoors last spring. 

Distinguished coach Tom Dewey, in his 36th year, leads Fordham of the Bronx. Another veteran coach, Jim Hurt, leads the St. John’s Red Storm from Queens and is in his 28th season. His women are the reigning Big East Conference champions in the 4x400 relay. The Jaspers of Manhattan, located in the Bronx, are led by venerable coach Dan Mecca, entering his 24th season as head coach. Andy Ronan is preparing for his 18th season as head coach for the Stony Brook Seawolves.

“This is important for the NYC and Metropolitan area schools. It revives a long standing rivalry and tradition,” Mecca said. “This will rejuvenate local interest and fervor from our alums and, of course, from our competitors in the area. It’s also a great showcase and recruiting opportunity for all the local high schools and coaches.”

Added Dewey: “We are committed to competing this year because it hopefully will bring some attention to the area colleges. Long ago that was the real drawing card for the alums of all the local schools.

“It is good to see the event back.”

The return of the Metropolitan 4x400 relay marks a significant return to the historical roots of Millrose. The Fordham Rams were the first college team to participate in a mile relay, competing against club teams back in 1916. Three years later, the first college-only mile relay saw Penn defeat Dartmouth and MIT. 

The popularity of the college races mushroomed and eventually the Millrose Games accommodated as many as 10 men’s college mile relay races. In the 1970s, women’s mile races were added to the program.

“It is very exciting for both the colleges involved and the NYRR Millrose Games,” Ireland said. “When Millrose was at Madison Square Garden there was always a local event that gave the schools in NYC something to get excited about. It’s great this opportunity has returned.”

Purchase your tickets for the 110th NYRR Millrose Games on February 11 HERE

 

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New York City’s Golden Trio of Hastings, Francis and Muhammad Joins 110th NYRR Millrose Games

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New York City’s Golden Trio of Hastings, Francis and Muhammad Joins 110th NYRR Millrose Games

Three New York City women who grew up to become Olympic champions at the 2016 Rio Games will make homecoming appearances on Feb. 11, 2017 at the 110th NYRR Millrose Games at The Armory’s New Balance Track & Field Center.

Dalilah Muhammad of Queens, who prepped at Benjamin Cardozo High School, became the first U.S. woman to capture Olympic gold in the 400-meter hurdles.

Phyllis Francis, who grew up in Queens and attended Catherine McAuley High School in Brooklyn, won a gold medal with the U.S. 4x400 relay team.

And Natasha Hastings of Brooklyn, who attended A. Philip Randolph Campus in Manhattan, was part of the same gold medal-winning team as Francis. Hastings was a member of the gold-medal winning 4x400 relay in 2008 also.

All three made many appearances at The Armory as teenagers and will return in February as heroes.

“Celebrating three Olympic gold medal winners from the New York area at this year's 110th NYRRMillrose Games is gratifying to The Armory team who have watched them develop as young runners on this very track," said Ray Flynn, NYRR Millrose Games Meet Director. 

Muhammad and Francis are scheduled to race in an exceptional lineup over 500 meters. Hastings is due to run the 300 meters, along with Bahamian gold medalist Shaunae Miller, who famously dove over the finish line to win the Olympic 400 meters in Rio.

Purchase tickets for the 110th NYRR Millrose Games on February 11, 2017 HERE.

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Olympics’ Top Two Pole Vaulters Stefanidi, Morris Eye New Heights at 110th NYRR Millrose Games

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Olympics’ Top Two Pole Vaulters Stefanidi, Morris Eye New Heights at 110th NYRR Millrose Games

Olympic silver medalist Sandi Morris (left) and Olympic gold medalist Ekaterini Stefanidi will continue the next chapter of their world-class competition at The Armory. Photos by Victah Sailor

The razor-close Olympic competition between Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece and Sandi Morris in the women's pole vault will be renewed during the 110th  NYRR Millrose Games at The Armory’s New Balance Track & Field Center on February 11, 2017. 

Last summer in Rio de Janiero, Stefanidi took the gold medal and Morris earned silver for USA after both women cleared 4.85 meters (15 feet, 11 inches). On count back, Stefanidi won a tiebreaker because she cleared 4.70m on her first attempt, while Morris needed two attempts. 

After the Olympic Games, Morris, a former standout at the University of Arkansas, became the first American outdoors to clear five meters (16-4.75) and the second woman in history besides Russian Yelena Isinbaeva. 

Stefanidi, 26, was a world youth champion back in 2005 and has been a presence on the European and global stages ever since. 

Stefanidi will return to The Armory as the defending NYRR Millrose Games champion while Morris finished third last February.

The women's pole vault at the NYRR Millrose Games will be named for John Catsimatidis, Manhattan businessman with interests in energy, real estate and supermarkets.

Also on the pole vault docket is a high school boys’ competition that is set to include Armand Duplantis of Lafayette, La., the national record holder. 

Purchase tickets at tickets.nyrrmillrosegames.org/tickets

 

 

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Fantastic!

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Fantastic!

 "Fant-tastic!

"This meet was fan-tastic."

The 109th edition of the NYRR Millrose Games was little more than 15 minutes over and sprint great Ato Boldon, his NBC broadcasting chores complete, had time to cool down, calm down and look back on Saturday's Armory Track and Field spectacular with a degree of rationality.

And every time he did, he came back to that same word.

Yes, "fan-tastic" it was, with an emphasis on that first syllable.

A fan's delight it truly was -- and you did not; repeat, did not have to be a lifetime devotee of the sport -- a track "junkie," in the sport's parlance -- to leap to that conclusion.

And so, too, said meet director Ray Flynn and Armory Foundation president Dr. Norbert Sander -- whose views might rightfully be considered unbiased -- but were true nevertheless.

"I've been to a lot of Millrose Games (first as a champion miler, then as a leading sports agent, and now as director of the whole show)," said Flynn, "but this is definitely the best."

"It had everything, close races, fast races, great performances up and down the list of events.

"And with everything happening, the crowd (a sellout that had them nearly hanging from the rafters) really got into it. I just don't know how it could have been any better."

A master stroke was saving the best for last -- and so the Men's Wanamaker Mile proved exactly that, a thriller of all thrillers,  boiling down to a single question coming around the final turn --just who had the most guts, just who wanted the glory, just who was determined to write his own chapter in the lore of this storied event?

"That was truly an incredible race (won by now three-time champion Matthew Centrowitz in a meet-record 3:50.65 over Nick Willis'  3:51.06; with Brit/Oklahoman Chris O'Hare a right-up-there third in 3:52.91, New Jersey favorite son Robby Andrews in the form of his life, fourth in 3:53.16, and four more under four," beamed Dr. Sander.

Of course, of course, Dr.Sander, the former NYC Marathon champion is the real hero of this story as the man who transformed the near-derelict Armory building into a world-class venue and who continues to see the whole Armory scene get better and better and better.

"Every race, beginning to end, was close and exciting, the kids, the high school runners, the collegians, the open runners, the pros, they all got into it; one race always seemed to get better than the one before," continued "The Doc" -- who did not violate the Hippocratic Oath in keeping The Armory from the wrecking ball that next-door neighbor New York Presbyterian Hospital at one time wanted to bring in, to further its own expansion plans.

"Right now, I just don't know how we can do any better the next time.

"But we're certainly going to try."

The race before the Men's Wanamaker Mile - the Invictus 60 meter dash for Wounded Warriors -- stirred every kind of emotion. But the winner, U.S. Army sergeant Robert Brown, who won in 7.81 seconds, wasn't looking to win the sympathy vote. He merely wanted to be accepted as a Millrose champion, too -- and the Armory crowd did exactly that.

Another brilliant move was promoting a strong secondary section of the Men's Mile -- designed for those deemed not quite ready for the prime time experience of the Wanamaker Mile itself.

And this one -- led by former Columbia/Oregon star Johnny Gregorek in 3:56.75 -- produced no less than its billing with eight finishers under 4 minutes.

Sizzling as they all were, it was the fourth of them who made some of the day's biggest news.

Not only did Loudoun Valley, Va. high schooler Drew Hunter best his own National indoor mark of 3:58.25 (set here two weeks ago) but he had quite a few thinking he had the right stuff to better fellow Virginian Allen Webb's 2001 national outdoor record of 3:53.43 sometime this spring, too.

He'll be back at the Armory in three weeks for the National Scholastics -- but only to run the 4xmile and distance medley relays.

"Back in the day," as some say, late-great Millrose Games director/ National Track and Field Hall of Fame member Fred Schmertz, who was followed by son Howard as the main man of the show -- often said "the Olympic Games is our own trials for the Millrose Games."

Well, guess what?

The statement might be virtually true as ever. Come August, check out the list of Rio de Janeiro Olympic winners. It is likely to bear a striking resemblance to this roll call of 2016 NYRR Millrose Games winners:

Men's 60-meter dash, Canadian hopeful and potential Usain Bolt threat, Andre De Grasse in 6.61; 60 hurdles, Omar McLeod in 7.46; 400, Grenada's Bralon Taplin, edging Queensite/Olympic medalist Lalonde Gordon, in a meet-record 45.35; 800 -- Duane Solomon fighting off Penn Stater Brannon Kidder in a meet-record 1:47.25; and 3000, Ryan Hill holding off a talent-packed field to delivered another meet record win, 7:38.82, as steeple star Evan Jager ran fourth in 7:40.10 and Edward Cheserek, Oregon's king of all NCAA kings, went sixth in 7:40.51.

Moving right along, the women's 60 dash went to 9-time World/Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix, in her first Millrose start since 2002, in 7.15; the 60 hurdles, to Janay DeLoach in 7.85; the 400 to Armory favorite Natasha Hastings in 51.66; and the 800 to three-time National champion Ajee' Wilson continuing down the comeback trail after her injury-curtailed 2015 season, rallying to beat Brenda Martinez, in a world-lading 2:00.09, to 2:00.14.

The women's mile saw Duke alumna Shannon Rowbury continuing her avowed march on Rio, in a 4:24.39 verdict over rapidly Fordham grad Kerri Gallagher's 4:26.18.

The women's 5,000 meters (a new Millrose event) went to Ethiopia's Betsy Saina, leading a parade of USA chasers in 14:57.18.

Moving over to field events, Erik Kynard topped the male high jumpers at 7-6 1/2; Marquis Dendy spanned 26-8 1/4 to lead the long jumpers; and Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and USA's Demi Payne raised the women's meet pole vault  record to 16-0 3/4, joining the elite 16-foot club with the win going to Stefanidi on the fewer-misses rule.

World decathlon champion Ashton Eaton snared a second in the 60 hurdles and a sixth in the long jump; wife Brianne Tesien-Eaton went fifth in the hurdles.

The racewalkers -- in their Susan Rudin National Championship one-mile events -- got into the spirit of the occasion as much as the runners.

Long Islander and Olympic hopeful MariaMichta-Coffey -- with a top-10 Rio 20K finish a good possibility -- fought off Miranda Melville to win the women's event, 6:30.16 to 6:35.25. Jonathan Hallman of Shore AC made the long ride from Liberty, S.C. more than worthwhile with a charge around the final turn to beat out John Cody Risch, 6:13.66 to 6:17.17.  For both Michta-Coffey and Hallman, it was a third Millrose win in four years.

The girls high school mile was a dazzler, front-running Virginian Kate Murphy blazing to a 4:41.84 record win. California "wild card" entry Isaac Cortes stunned his Eastern rivals to win the boys race in 4:09.87.

Think that Virginia brothers Noah and Josephus Lyles of T.C. Williams High (whose parents are ex-Seton Hall stars) are impressive now? They (with Tre'Kel Lockett and Kia Cole) powered TCW to a 1:27.29 meet 4x200 win. Consider how much better they will be by this summer's World Junior Championships, and maybe-just-maybe the USA Olympic Trials.

Quite obviously, there was glory for it in all Millrose participants.  Quite obviously, the 110th NYRR Millrose participants in 2017 will have a very tough act to follow.

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109th NYRR Millrose Games Highlights

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109th NYRR Millrose Games Highlights

Allyson Felix is embarking on an ambitious mission in 2016 as she prepares for a 200-400 double, plus relays, at the Rio de Janiero Games.

That journey included a victory in the 60-meter dash on Saturday at the 109th NYRR Millrose Games at The Armory, which followed one of the loudest cheers of the night for her introduction.

Felix’s race was over in a flash – 7.15 seconds – but was one of the memorable moments from a meet that featured repeat winners in the Wanamaker Miles and a handful of other close, exciting finishes.

“It was awesome. I felt really welcomed,” said Felix, who attracted a horde of young autograph seekers. “I don’t get to run much indoor, so it was special to come back here to a place I have high school memories and really feel the love.”

Matthew Centrowitz won his third Wanamaker men’s mile – the signature event of the meet – much the same way he won his second. Centrowitz slid ahead Nick Willis with 200 meters to go and then outkicked him to break the meet and track records with 3:50.63. Willis of New Zealand, who has finished in the top three five times but never won, ran the second-fastest time in meet history with 3:51.06.

“He was strong the last 150 (meters),” Willis said. “I gave it my best and wasn’t able to get as close as last year.”

The two of them spent a couple of days talking about the 2015 race, which Centrowitz won by .11 seconds. Saturday’s race was not a carbon copy, but the finish between the two of them was similar. Chris O’Hare was third (3:52.91) and Robby Andrews lopped 18 seconds off his long-stale indoor mile PR with 3:53.16.

The other miler everyone was talking about was high school phenom Drew Hunter, who lowered his own indoor national record to 3:57.89 in the B race and placed a very strong fourth. Incredibly, Hunter has been struggling to shake a cough and has not been feeling 100 percent healthy for a couple of weeks.

In the women’s Wanamaker, Shannon Rowbury successfully defended her title and ran 4:24.39 – almost identical to her finish time in 2015 (4:24.32). Rowbury was seeking to run under 4:20 but the pace was a bit slower than the 2:08 that was talked about beforehand. Rowbury split 2:12.02 and was alone for the second half of the race. There were eight women under 4:29, including runner-up Kerri Gallahger, who ran a very strong time of 4:26.18.

Ryan Hill won the loaded men’s 3,000 meters in 7:38.82. Hill and the next eight guys in the race broke the meet record. A large pack was still together with 400 meters to go and it ended up being a kicker’s dual between Hill and Hassan Mead for the win.

Oregon’s Edward Cheserek led the train of runners through a middle chunk of the race. He lost a little bit of ground late but his time of 7:40.51 earned him sixth place and was the second-fastest collegiate time ever. It also eclipsed Galen Rupp’sOregon school record.

In the women’s 800, Ajee Wilson won her third Millrose title by withstanding the on-rushing close of Brenda Martinez. Wilson edged Martinez at the line, 2:00.09 to 2:00.14. It was the fastest winning time at Millrose since 2002.

The boys high school mile was even closer. Californian Isaac Cortes sprung a finishing kick that caught a trio of New Yorkers off guard and the Great Oak senior rallied to take the win in 4:09.87 -- .01 seconds ahead of Noah Affolder of Carthage NY.Aidan Tooker of Saratoga Springs NY was third in 4:10.20 and Conor Lundy of Fordham Prep NY was fourth in 4:10.68.

Kate Murphy of Lake Braddock ran away from the field to win the girls high school mile in a meet record time of 4:41.84. Murphy was aiming to run under 4:40 but wound up slashing more than three seconds off the meet record. Murphy moved to No. 9 on the all-time list.

In keeping with the theme of big wins by Virginians, the T.C. Williams boys 4x200 relay cruised to 1:27.29 – matching the US#1 that the team ran on Jan. 30 at the Virginia Tech Invitational.

Bralon Taplin from Grenada smashed the track record in the men’s 400 meters by running 45.35 seconds. Lalonde Gordon, a New York resident who represents Trinidad & Tobago, was second in 45.51.

The women’s 400 meters was also fast. Natasha Hastings returned to the track she grew up on and beat defending champion Phyllis Francis in 51.66.

The women’s 5,000 meters saw another of the close finishes. Betsy Saina edged out Molly Huddle for the victory, 14:57.18 to 14:57.31.

Canada’s bright young sprint star Andre DeGrasse won his professional debut by taking the 60 meters in 6.61 seconds. China’s Su Bingtian was second in 6.62.

Katerina Stefanidi broke the Greek national record in the pole vault with her clearance at 16 feet, 0.75 inches and also defended her title. American Demi Payne also made that height but finished second because she had more misses at lower heights.

Erik Kynard, the Olympic silver medalist from London, won the high jump with 7 feet, 6.50 inches.

Marquis Dendy jumped 26-8.25 and prevailed in a new format for the long jump in which jumpers were eliminated round by round.  

Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton placed second to Omar McLeod (7.46) in the 60 hurdles but only had one fair jump and was last in the long jump.

No race was closer than the high school boys 55-meter dash. Tajh Gilchrist of Bowie MD won the race by a margin of .002 seconds over Ade Jones-Roundree of Imhotep PA. Both ran 6.40. Daija Lampkin from Middletown DE won the girls race in a meet record-tying 6.91.

In the CHSAA boys 4x800, Archbishop Molloy got past its rivals and won in 7:55.57. St. Joseph’s By the Sea and defending champion St. Anthony’s were both within a second.

In the Eastern boys 4x800, State College PA posted the fastest time with 7:51.59, good for US#3.

Paul Robeson’s girls won the Eastern girls 4x200 in 1:39.09 and then quickly came back about 35 minutes later and won the PSAL girls 4x400 in 3:50.53 with three members of the same lineup. 

On Thursday, Gwendolyn Berry broke the meet record in the weight throw with her toss of 79-8.25.  

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Centrowitz Turns Back Willis Again to Win Second Consecutive NYRR Wanamaker Mile at the 109th NYRR Millrose Games

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Centrowitz Turns Back Willis Again to Win Second Consecutive NYRR Wanamaker Mile at the 109th NYRR Millrose Games

Matthew Centrowitz won the NYRR Wanamaker Mile for the second consecutive year at the NYRR Millrose Game again holding off New Zealand’s Nick Willis at the New Balance Track & Field Center at the Armory on Saturday night.

Both the Oregonian Centrowitz and Willis broke from the pack with two laps remaining. Centrowitz finished with a 3:50.63 mark, both a new NYRR Millrose Games and Armory record. Willis couldn’t wrestle the lead from Centrowitz down the stretch, finishing runner-up (3:51.06) for the second consecutive year.

Moments afterward Centrowitz and Willis were arm and arm, delighting a sellout crowd of 5,000 fans.

Centrowitz says it never gets old winning the NYRR Wanamaker Mile, his third triumph in the last five years.

“It never does,’’ Centrowitz said afterward. “I lost my second Millrose here and I remember that loss to this day – it stung. I can’t say I’ll ever get tired of winning here.”

Defending Women’s NYRR Wanamaker Mile champion Shannon Rowbury also successfully defended her title, turning in a 4:24.39 time, ahead of Kerri Gallagher (4:26.18). She nearly missed breaking her Armory record of 4:24.32 last year.

Crowd favorite and four-time Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix didn’t disappoint her fans as she won the 60 Meters with a 7.15 winning mark. It was her first time competing in the NYRR Millrose Games at The Armory.

Andre De Grasse, a 2015 NCAA champion at the University of Southern California, made his professional debut a night to remember. He won a closely contested 60 Meter Dash with a 6.61 time, turning back Su Bingtian (6.62). Buffalo Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, self-proclaimed “fastest player in the National Football League,” finished sixth with a 6.68 time.

In another meet highlight, it took exactly two weeks for high school phenom Drew Hunter to erase his national boys high school record. Hunter of Purcellville, Va., reset his previous mark of 3.58.25 with a 3:57.81 in the Armory Invitational Men’s Mile.

Staff Sgt. Robert Brown of the U.S Army won the first-ever NYRR Millrose Games Invictus Dash for wounded active duty and veteran service members. Brown won the six-person field with a 7.81 time in the 60 Meters dash.

For more results on the NYRR Millrose Games please go to either www.NYRRMillroseGames.org or ArmoryTrack.com.  

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2016 Invictus Games Announces Competitors for “Invictus Dash” at the 109th NYRR Millrose Games

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2016 Invictus Games Announces Competitors for “Invictus Dash” at the 109th NYRR Millrose Games

The 2016 Invictus Games has announced the six competitors who will take part in this Saturday’s “Invictus Dash” at the 109th NYRR Millrose Games. The race will feature American service members, active duty and retired, five of whom are training to represent the 2016 Invictus US Team at the 2016 Invictus Games, held May 8-12 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Kissimmee, Fla.

Created through a partnership between the 2016 Invictus Games, the Department of Defense and the NYRR Millrose Games, the new featured race will bring Invictus competitors alongside many of the nation’s top track and field athletes at one of the most prestigious indoor track and field meets in the United States. 

The 2016 Invictus Games, presented by Jaguar Land Rover, is the only international adaptive sporting event for ill, injured and wounded active duty and retired service men and women.  The Games will bring over 500 hundred competitors from 15 nations to compete in 10 sports, including track and field.

“We are honored to participate in the famed Millrose Games,” said Retired U.S. Army Captain Will Reynolds, Invictus Dash competitor. “We hope our sprint will shine a light on the power of adaptive sports in supporting our recovery and inspire others to see what is possible after injury.”

Retired U.S. Army Captain Will Reynolds lost his leg after an improvised explosive devise detonated in Iraq. He underwent 26 surgeries as doctors tried to save his left leg but they ended up amputating the leg at the knee. Reynolds served until 2008 in Fort Benning, GA; South Korea; Iraq; and the Washington, D.C. area. Following his two years of rehabilitation, he earned a Masters of Business Administration and a Masters degree in Public Health from the University of Rochester, New York. He now works as a manager with Deloitte and lives with his wife Cassandra and children Malachi, Gabrielle, Genevieve, and Evangeline in Bethesda, MD.

Captain Reynolds will be joined in “The Invictus Dash” by:

Retired USMC Lance Corporal Joshua Wege was injured during his tour to Afghanistan in 2009 with the Marine Corps. While in rehabilitation, Wege learned about adaptive sports at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He currently competes with the Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team. He is also working towards a degree from Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers, FL., with the goal of becoming a certified prosthetist.

Retired U.S. Army Sergeant Ana Manciaz, lost her right left after a motorcycle accident. Growing up in Los Lunas, NM she always remained athletic, but following her injury sports has taken a whole new meaning – both physically and mentally. Manciaz recently completed in her first triathlon season. She hopes to compete in the triathlon at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.

Staff Sergeant Gideon Connelly joined the Air National Guard in 2008 as an Aircraft Mechanic. In 2011, he was involved in a near-fatal motorcycle accident where he lost his left leg below the knee. He rehabilitated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Connelly returned to full duty and now serves as a Chaplain’s Assistant at the 175th Wing stationed at Martin State Airport, MD. Connelly takes part in many adaptive sports events, but his main love is sprinting. He won silver and bronze medals while competing in the 2014 Warrior Games and is currently training to be a part of the Paralympic track and field team for the 2016 Paralympic Games.

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Brown, a native of Moncks Corner, SC, was injured in 2006 while conducting operations in Iraq, which led to the eventual amputation of his right leg. Brown got involved with Paralympic track and field through the US Paralympic Military Sports Program and was later introduced to kayaking while rehabilitating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Army Sergeant Ryan McIntosh lost his right leg below the knee after stepping on a pressure-plate landmine while performing a routine mission in Afghanistan in 2010. An avid high school athlete, Sgt. McIntosh competed in track and football. Today, McIntosh competes in track and field, sitting volleyball and wheelchair rugby. He has competed in the 2012 and 2013 Warrior Games as well as the 2014 Invictus Games. McIntosh is assigned to Army World Class Athlete Program and resides in San Antonio, TX.

Captain Reynolds, Lance Corporal Wege, Sergeant Manciaz and Staff Sergeant Brown are training for the 2016 Invictus Games.  Staff Sergeant Connelly is currently training for the 2016 Paralympic Games.

The 109th edition of the NYRR Millrose Games will take place on February 20, 2016 at the New Balance Track & Field Center from 12-6 p.m. Fans can watch the 2016 Invictus Games US Team hopefuls by checking the NYRR Millrose Games viewing information HERE.

 

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