One of track and field’s yearly traditions will take place this weekend in Eugene Oregon. The Prefontaine Classic held at Hayward Field hosts some of the sport’s best athletes and will kick off the majority of their outdoor seasons. The beauty in the name of the meet embodies the high level of competition. Steve Prefontaine on many accounts is considered the best distance runner to come out of the storied University of Oregon program. Furthermore, Pre fought for athlete rights and compensation at a time when Olympians weren’t fairly paid. This essentially lead to these athletes having their current platforms and livelihoods. Below are the names and storylines to watch at Friday and Saturday’s meet.
There will be a host of Ducks participating in the meet. Jenna Prandini will have her hands full in the 200m with the decorated Olympian Allyson Felix. The women’s 400m hurdles brings a trio of runners with Olympic experience in Dalilah Muhammad, Ashley Spencer and Shamier Little. Muhammad and Spencer walked away from the Rio Olympics with gold and bronze medals. Lastly, the 100m hurdles field of runners includes Kristi Castlin, Nia Ali and Dawn Harper-Nelson. Nelson a 2008 Olympic gold medalist, Ali a 2016 silver medalist and Castlin a 2016 bronze medalist should give the fans a true treat.
Devon Allen headlines the men’s 110m hurdles and he’ll be accompanied by two former Olympians in Aries Merrit and the seasoned veteran David Oliver. The men’s 100m dash should be a thrill. If you were a fan of the race in the Rio Olympics you should recognize a few faces. The silver medalist Justin Gatlin will be participating along with the 2016 bronze medalist Andre De Grasse. Ronnie Baker is a name to keep in mind, as he’s the only runner in the field to run under 10.0s this year. We won’t have another LaShawn Merritt vs. Kirani James matchup this year, however the field does bring something to the table. Merritt (3rd place in 2016 Olympics), Vernon Norwood, Tony McQuay, and Baboloki Thebe, whom have all run under 45s, will be a part of this year’s race. The triple jump to the surprise of many may be the best event of the meet, which includes the silver and gold medalists from the 2016 Olympics. If you’re looking for fireworks, Will Claye and Christian Taylor should be able to provide the crowd with a few. Finally, the Bowerman mile, the meets lead event will include a host of Kenyans, many of which are making their season debut.
The meet will begin Friday at 7 and there will be coverage on NBC enjoy!