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.