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print showdowns, the world’s greatest shot putters and magnificent mile fields highlight the Millrose Games, this season’s fourth World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting, in New York on Saturday (11).
Fresh off a PB and 60m win in Boston, world 200m champion Noah Lyles takes on 60m world record holder and defending Millrose champion Christian Coleman at The Armory, which boasts the nickname ‘The Fastest Track in the World’.
Shot putters Ryan Crouser and Joe Kovacs open their 2023 campaigns by resuming their fierce rivalry, essentially picking up where they left off last September in Switzerland. As the women’s shot returns to Millrose for the first time since 2003, the event couldn’t ask for a better field led by Chase Ealey, the world champion and world indoor silver medallist.
According to tradition, the Rudin Wanamaker Miles cap the storied meeting, which was founded in 1908. A national record might be needed to win the men’s race, but which country will take the honours? Defending champion Ollie Hoare of Australia, USA’s Yared Nuguse, Sam Tanner of New Zealand and Mario Garcia Romo of Spain are top contenders. Great Britain’s Olympic and world medallist Laura Muir is the favourite in the women’s mile, having already claimed a New York record on the road.
Straight down the middle
Although The Armory is far from the neon lights of Times Square, it’s still a hop, step and a jump from Broadway – and perhaps no athlete enjoys putting on a show more than Lyles.
At the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix Boston, he posted a PB of 6.51, edging Trayvon Bromell by .002. Coleman clocked 6.71 in Fayetteville two weeks ago to open his season, well off his world record of 6.34 set in 2018 when he was also world indoor champion. Lyles, the Olympic 200m bronze medallist, has been working on his start in a bid to double in the 100m and 200m at the World Athletics Championships later this year in Budapest.
Lyles will also attempt to avenge an early season loss to his younger brother Josephus in Florida. Ronnie Baker, the third-fastest 60m runner in history and 2018 world indoor bronze medallist, won this event in 2018 and 2020. Ackeem Blake of Jamaica, Miles Lewis, the Puerto Rican record-holder, and Kendal Williams, who defeated Lyles in Florida but lost to him in Boston, are also in the field.
Aleia Hobbs is seeking her second straight win in the women’s 60m after exploding to a meeting record 7.02 in Boston. She also owns the world-leading time of 6.98, run in Fayetteville in late January. In Boston, Hobbs held off world indoor silver medallist Mikiah Brisco and Celera Barnes, who get another chance to defeat her at Millrose.
Melissa Jefferson, who edged Hobbs in the 100m at last year’s USA Championships; world indoor bronze medallist Marybeth Sant-Price, and English Gardner are also in the field. Shawnti Jackson was third at Millrose last year, setting a national high school record of 7.18, and will look to improve both her placement and her time.
Olympic silver medallist Keni Harrison, the Millrose 60m hurdles winner in 2020, will take on 2019 world champion Nia Ali, heptathlete Anna Hall, and Olympians Anna Cockrell, Devynne Charlton and Cindy Sember.
Ring rivalry renewed
The road to Budapest begins for the top shot putters on the planet. World and Olympic champion Crouser will face Kovacs, a double outdoor world champion and two-time Olympic silver medallist.
While Crouser has won at Millrose three years in a row and holds both the indoor and outdoor world records, he knows his compatriot is always in the hunt to topple him. Kovacs set the world-leading mark in 2022 while moving to second on the all-time list and winning the Diamond league final in Zurich. At the season-ending meeting for both, Kovacs won at Bellinzona with a toss of 22.19m, with Crouser next at 22.00m. Tripp Piperi and Nick Ponzio of Italy round out the field.
Ealey had a dream season in 2022, building on her world indoor silver to take the world title in Oregon and then capture the Diamond League title. Compatriots Maggie Ewen, the 2021 Diamond League champion, and Jessica Woodard will challenge Ealey for the first Millrose crown in 20 years, along with Canada’s Commonwealth champion Sarah Mitton.
The women’s pole vault features Katie Moon (formerly Nageotte) and Katerina Stefanidi, the last two Olympic gold medallists. However, in their previous meeting, the Greek vaulter was third and the Tokyo champion placed fourth in Boston, with Bridget Williams and Gabriela Leon going 1-2. All four athletes will be on the runway at Millrose.
Steiner seeks another record
The rarely run 300m has become something of a specialty for USA’s Abby Steiner. She already holds the NCAA record and is targeting the national record of 35.71 in her first indoor season as a professional. Two weekends ago, Steiner raced to a 400m victory in Fayetteville in 50.59. The world record of 35.45 is shared by Irina Privalova and Shaunae Miller-Uibo, with the Bahamian clocking her winning time in 2018 at Millrose. Jenna Prandini, Steiner’s teammate on the victorious 4x100m relay in Oregon, and 2019 world 200m silver medallist Brittany Brown offer strong competition.
The men’s 400m could be another duel between USA’s Noah Williams and Trinidad & Tobago’s world indoor champion Jereem Richards. In Boston, both clocked 45.88, but Williams surged on the inside to win by .004. Michael Cherry, fourth in the 400m in Tokyo and an Olympic and world gold medallist at 4x400m, opens his season at Millrose, along with the fourth man in the field, Bryce Deadmon, another Olympic and world gold medallist on relays.
Going the distance
The great Paavo Nurmi raced at the Millrose Games nearly 100 years ago and the distance races never disappoint. Of course, the signature event is the Rudin Wanamaker Mile.
After recently setting a North American indoor record over 3000m, Yared Nuguse is in a New York state of mind to break another continental record: Bernard Lagat’s 3:49.89 in the indoor mile. Nuguse and training partners Hoare and Romo are hoping for a fast pace to propel them into the record books. Hoare set an Oceanian record of 3:50.83 in winning the 2022 Wanamaker Mile and is the Commonwealth 1500m champion. Other contenders include Tanner, a three-time New Zealand champion; Great Britain’s Neil Gourley, whose home straight sprint led to a world-leading 3:52.84 in Boston; 2022 US indoor 1500m champion Cole Hocker, Johnny Gregorek, Sam Prakel and Kenya’s Eliud Kipsang.
Muir had a US indoor race debut in Boston, clocking 8:40.34 in the 3000m, and now is dropping back down to more familiar territory. The world and Olympic medallist in the 1500m set a course record of 4:14.8 on the road in the Fifth Avenue Mile in 2022. At Millrose, the record is 4:16.85, set by Elle Purrier St Pierre in 2020, which is the third-fastest indoor mile in history after Gudaf Tsegay’s 4:16.16 in Torun. In a deep field, Muir will be challenged by training partner and Olympic 800m finalist Jemma Reekie, and US champion Sinclaire Johnson.
In the men’s 3000m, Geordie Beamish and Cooper Teare, who went 1-2 last year, return to the Armory track where they will try to fend off Josh Kerr, the Olympic 1500m bronze medallist; Joe Klecker, Guatemala’s Luis Grijalva and Nico Young.
Alicia Monson, defending Millrose champion in the women’s 3000m, faces national indoor 5000m record-holder Elise Cranny with Karissa Schweizer’s national indoor 3000m record of 8:25.70 in their sights. Monson set a Millrose Games and Armory record last year of 8:31.62 en route to a stellar outdoor season. Katelyn Tuohy recently set an NCAA mile record of 4:24.26 in a race won by Monson; she’s primed for another test against the pros. European champion and 2019 world bronze medallist Konstanze Klosterhalfen won the Wanamaker mile in 2019 and has the fastest 3000m time in the field, clocking 8:20.07 outdoors.
Streaks at stake for Wilson
In the 600m, world indoor 800m champion Ajee’ Wilson will attempt to extend some impressive winning streaks.
Since losing to Alysia Montano in the 600m at the 2013 Millrose Games, she has won 17 straight races at The Armory, including seven at Millrose. She also has won 15 straight races indoors, most recently the 800m in Boston with a time of 2:00.45. Wilson is the second-fastest woman in history in the 600m outdoors and could threaten Keely Hodgkinson’s newly minted world indoor best of 1:23.41. The fastest performer in the field this season Shamier Little, the 2015 world silver medallist in the 400m hurdles, who clocked 1:24.65.
The men’s 800m will be a rematch between world indoor silver medallist Noah Kibet, still just 18 years of age, and world indoor bronze medallist Bryce Hoppel, the defending Millrose champion. The loaded field includes his compatriots Clayton Murphy, the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist, world indoor finalist Isaiah Harris, Great Britain’s Kyle Langford, Mexico’s Tonatiu Lopez and Irish record-holder Mark English. Cade Flatt, the second-fastest US high school runner at this distance, is also in the field.(02/09/2023) Views: 522 ⚡AMP
The NYRR Millrose Games,which began in 1908 as a small event sponsored by a local track club, has grown to become the most prestigious indoor track and field event in the United States. The NYRR Millrose Games meet is held in Manhattan’s Washington Heights at the New Balance Track & Field Center at the Armony, which boasts a state-of-the-art six-lane,...more...