Ex-Ducks, world champions stack fields for Prefontaine Classic
Before Hayward Field gets its new look for the 2021 IAAF World Championships and possibly in time to host the 2020 United States Olympic Trials, some of the world’s best track and field athletes will compete one more time at the historic stadium for the Prefontaine Classic this upcoming weekend.
With multiple events featuring world champions and world record holders, this year’s field is packed with star athletes, including some Oregon alumni. From former football player and Olympic finalist Devon Allen to world champion Phyllis Francis and newly turned pro Raevyn Rogers, some past Ducks will compete at the current Hayward one last time.
Allen will run in his marquee event, the 110-meter hurdles, while Francis will compete in the 400-meter, the event that she took gold in during the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London. Rogers’ return to Hayward Field will be in a stacked 800-meter field that includes South African Caster Semenya and American Ajee Wilson.
Along with Francis in the women’s 400-meter, American great Allyson Felix and 2016 Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo line the world-class field.
Allen’s 110 hurdles race won’t be easy with Omar McLeod and Aries Merritt among others in the field.
The men’s 100-meter dash, which is not a Diamond League event, might be the biggest attraction of the weekend. The race features reigning world champion Justin Gatlin and 60-meter indoor world record holder Christian Coleman. Ronnie Baker, Ben Youssef Meité, Reece Prescod, Bingtian Su, Chijindu Ujah and Isiah Young also line the field that would be worthy of an Olympic final.
The Bowerman Mile will also feature a deep field that includes Clayton Murphy and Oregon alum and fellow American and Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz. Ayanleh Souleiman, who won the 2014 Bowerman Mile with a 3 minute, 47.32 second run — still his personal best and the meet record — and 17-year-old Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen will also run in the event.
In the women’s 1500-meter, American Olympic bronze medalist and world championship silver medalist Jenny Simpson will race with a strong field made up of Laura Muir, Brenda Martinez and many other Olympic-experienced runners. Former Duck and Australian distance runner Zoe Buckman is also set to compete in the race.
The women’s 400-meter hurdles will also feature a diverse field that includes Rio Olympics champion Dalilah Muhammad, world champion Shamier Little and former Arizona runner Sage Watson.
In the field events, the men’s pole vault features another world-class lineup with Olympic champion and world record holder Renaud Lavillenie, 2017 world champion Sam Kendricks, 2016 Olympic champion Thiago Braz and 18-year-old Swede Armand Duplantis.
As of Sunday, May 20, the men’s 200-meter and the women’s 100-meter haven’t not been announced but could also feature Olympic-worthy fields.
The meet will take place Friday, May 25 through Saturday, May 26 at Hayward Field.
Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow
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