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Top Five Events To Watch At Cardinal Classic

Top Five Events To Watch At Cardinal Classic
Photo: Kirby Lee - USA TODAY Sports
Led by a star-studded crew of NCAA champions and All-Americans, the Cardinal Classic is poised to be a great opportunity for fast times this weekend at Stanford's Cobb Track and Angell Field. Check out the top five races to watch live on FloTrack this Friday and Saturday.

Women's 800m

Who: Olivia Baker, Kaela Edwards, Dani Jones, Savannah Camacho, Sage Hurta, Malika Waschmann, Olicia Williams, Alisha Brown
When: Friday, 7:20 PM
Why: Last year's NCAA runner-up, Olivia Baker, will be running her first outdoor 800m after finishing seventh at the NCAA Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas. In 2016, Baker had a breakthrough series of races, starting with a third-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships. She continued the momentum during the outdoor season with a personal best of 2:01.02 at Payton Jordan and a second-place finish to collegiate-record holder Raevyn Rogers at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. This Friday will mark her first outdoor 800m of 2017.

Watch Baker's 2016 NCAA run:

Baker will face tough competition in NCAA indoor mile champion Kaela Edwards. Edwards is also entered in the 1500m at the meet. The Cardinal Classic will mark Edwards' first outdoor race since placing fourth in the mile at the NCAA Indoor Championships. 

Another competitor to watch will be NCAA indoor 3K and distance medley relay champion Dani Jones, who stunned the crowd in College Station with her kick that earned two NCAA crowns. That same kick should translate well to a new personal best in the 800m. 

Women's 1500m

Who: Annemarie Schwanz, Christina Aragon, Elise Cranny, Cora Gallop, Kaela Edwards
When: Saturday, 7:13 PM
Why: After rolling on the competition at the Stanford Invitational, Annemarie Schwanz will return in an attempt to lower her No. 4 NCAA mark. The Fresno State standout ran 4:13.82 to win the 1500m three weeks ago and faces even tougher competition this Saturday. 

Stanford All-American Christina Aragon is scheduled to run with her teammate and NCAA 1500m runner-up Elise Cranny. Both runners boast 1500m personal bests of 4:09 and faster. Saturday will mark both runners' first real attempts at season-best marks in their signature event. 

Women's 5K

Who: Erin Clark, Sharon Lokedi, Alice Wright, Fiona O'Keeffe
When: Friday, 8:15 PM
Why: A group of All-American talent highlights the women's 5K, namely Erin Clark of Colorado, Sharon Lokedi of Kansas, and Alice Wright of New Mexico. Last year, Wright finished second in the 10K at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. She is returning from finishing third in the 5K at the Bryan Clay Invitational, where she ran a season's best of 15:53. Lokedi just notched a season's best of 33:37 in the 10K at the Stanford Invitational, which currently stands as No. 9 in the NCAA. Clark's most recent performance was an eighth-place finish in the 3K at the NCAA Indoor Championships. 

nullAnother athlete to watch will be freshman phenom Fiona O'Keeffe of Stanford. As a high school senior this past year, O'Keeffe ran a 15:56 5K to win the USATF Junior Championships. Saturday will mark her first outdoor 5K as a collegian. 

Men's 1500m

Who: Ben Saarel, Craig Nowak
When: Saturday, 7:34 PM
Why: Colorado All-American Ben Saarel will be dropping down to sea level to compete in his signature event. During the indoor season, Saarel finished eighth in the mile and 15th in the 3K at the NCAA Indoor Championships. His most recent performance included an altitude converted 3:43 1500m at the Colorado Invitational. 

Oklahoma State All-American Craig Nowak is scheduled to toe the line after running a season's best of 3:43.43 at the Stanford Invitational. During the indoor season, he helped the Cowboys to a sixth-place finish in the DMR at the NCAA Indoor Championships. 

Men's 5K

Who: Grant Fisher, John Dressel, Craig Nowak
When: Friday, 8:35 PM
Why: Stanford All-American Grant Fisher is scheduled to run his first 5K of the year on his home track. After redshirting the indoor season, Fisher opened up at the Big Meet dual where he won the 1500m in 3:46. Last year, the sophomore led the Cardinal squad to a runner-up finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, where he finished fifth as an individual. Prior to the fall, Fisher showed his strength in the 5K, claiming a sixth-place finish in the NCAA final and competing at the Olympic Trials as a freshman. 

Watch Fisher's 2016 NCAA run:

Fisher will face competition from Colorado All-American John Dressel, who notched a 5K personal best of 13:42 during the indoor season. He rode the momentum all the way to the NCAA Indoor Championships, where he placed fourth in the 5K final and eighth in the 3K final. 

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