Jenny Simpson gilds women’s 1,500 field at Prefontaine Classic
The world outdoor champion will be joined by Olympians and challengers in Friday race
By Curtis Anderson
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Jenny Simpson’s 1,500-meter victory at the World Championships last summer give the U.S. its first gold medal in that event since Mary (Decker) Slaney in 1983.
This year, the three-time NCAA champion from Colorado is hoping to duplicate that feat at the London Olympics.
The former steeplechaser will offer Hayward Field fans a sneak preview of her quest as the headline performer in the women’s 1,500 at the 38th annual Prefontaine Classic, it was announced Tuesday.
The women’s 1,500 will be held on Friday, June 1 during the free “Hollister Night at Hayward” tribute to the late Geoff Hollister, a Nike pioneer.
Simpson, who has the fifth-fastest time in U.S. history at 3 minutes, 59.90 seconds, will be challenged by a world-class field led by U.S. Olympians Anna Pierce and Shannon Rowbury; Canadian Sheila Reid, the first women to sweep the NCAA 1,500 and 5,000 as a Villanova junior last year; and 18-year-old Ethiopian Tizita Bogale, the world junior 1,500 champion.
Oregon Track Club Elite’s Nick Symmonds and Tyler Mulder bring a hometown flavor to the men’s 800. That race will be held on Saturday, June 2.
Symmonds, the four-time U.S. champion and World Championship finalist, will tune up for the U.S. Olympic Trials three weeks later in a field that includes five runners ranked in the top 10 last year by Track & Field News magazine.
They are Abubaker Kaki of Sudan (No. 2), the World Championship silver medalist; Russia’s Yuriy Borzakovskiy (No. 3); 18-year-old Mohamed Aman of Ethiopia (No. 5); Poland’s Adam Kszzot (No. 7), and 35-year-old Khadevis Robinson (No. 9), a veteran of seven World Championships.
Symmonds was ranked No. 6 in the world last year.
Americans Alysia Montano and Maggie Vessey head the women’s 800, which is also a Friday night race.
Montano, a three-time U.S. champion, and Vessey, placed fourth and sixth, respectively, at the World Championships.
The rest of the field includes OTC Elite’s Geena Gall, Ethiopian Fantu Magiso Manedo, and Americans Molly Beckwith, Alice Schmidt, Erica Moore, Phoebe Wright and LaTavia Thomas.