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Erik Sowinski Headlines Pro 800m At Georgia Meet Of Champions

Erik Sowinski Headlines Pro 800m At Georgia Meet Of Champions
Photo: Kirby Lee - USA TODAY Sports
For the first time ever, two sections of professional men's 800-meter races will be contested as part of the Georgia Meet of Champions in Marietta, GA, on Friday, May 19. 

The races feature some of the best middle distance talent in the country, including world indoor bronze medalist Erik Sowinski and a total of eight men who have run under 1:46. The professional showdown will offer a prize purse of $2,000 for the winner, $1,000 for second place, and $500 for third place. If the winner runs under 1:45.00, he will receive a $1,000 bonus. The professional showdown will take place in conjunction with the high school competition. Athletes will be aiming to run under the USA Outdoor Championship standard of 1:47.5 and the world championship standard of 1:45.9. 

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As the fastest competitor in the field, Sowinski holds an 800m personal best of 1:44.5 and most recently posted a season's best of 1:45.95 at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 15. He also contributed to Team USA's 4x800m victory at the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas. Last year, Sowinski earned bronze in the 800m at the World Indoor Championships in Portland, his first international championship medal of his career. 

Watch Sowinski's Mt. SAC performance:

Brooks Beasts Shaquille Walker and Drew Windle will also be in contention. As a collegiate last year, Walker broke through with a still-standing 800m personal best of 1:44.99 at the Sun Angel Classic. He continued the momentum at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, where he finished third and also competed through the semifinal of the Olympic Trials. Windle also ran his 800m best of 1:45.65 last year. He recently posted a sixth-place finish in the 1500m at the Payton Jordan Invitational. 

nullAsics Furman Elite's Ryan Martin is set to run after posting a 1:48 season's best and victory at the Payton Jordan Invitational. Martin's personal best of 1:44.77 was run at the famous 800m dual between former Big West Conference rival Charles Jock in 2012. 

Hoka NJNY will be bringing several competitors, including Brian Gagnon, Jesse Garn, Joe McAsey, and Chris Giesting. Gagnon and Garn boast 800m personal bests under 1:46. Garn, a recent graduate of Binghamton, finished fourth in the 800m at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Championships. He also recently posted a personal best of 1:45.9 at the Larry Ellis Invitational. 

Former University of Alabama standout and Ghana Olympian Alex Amankwah will be competing after posting a recent season's best of 1:46.5 to win the War Eagle Invitational. 

Former Hampton University athlete Edose Ibadin is now competing for District Track Club after finishing ninth in the 800m at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships. He recently posted an 800m personal best of 1:45.91 at the Larry Ellis Invitational. 

Other notable middle distance standouts include BAA's Christian Harrison, Atlanta Track Club's Brandon Lasater, NYAC's Russell Dinkins, BAA's Sam Ellison, Districk Track Club's Derek Holdsworth, and Atlanta Track Club's Pat Peterson.

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