Eight 2019 NCAA Stars Taking Their Talents To The Pre Classic

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The greatest single-day track and field meet on U.S. soil, the Prefontaine Classic, will have strong representation from a handful of 2019 NCAA stars. Annually one of the top Diamond League meetings, this year’s event—hosted by Stanford as OG Hayward Field is no more—will again be comically loaded with star power, including the following names from this past collegiate season.

(Note: Sha'Carri Richardson, Cravon Gillespie and Teahna Daniels have been added to the Pre Classic 100m fields since publication)

Allie Ostrander, 3,000m Steeplechase

A personal best is all but guaranteed for the winner of three straight NCAA steeplechase titles as Allie Ostrander and her 9:37 PB will race six women at Pre who have run 9:05 or faster. Ostrander is much better than her time would indicate, and her true mettle will be tested in a field stronger than even a World Championship final. This loaded contest is likely to be won in under nine minutes, so Allie O won’t be close to the front, but she’ll have plenty of women to chase, including four other Americans.

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Daniel Roberts, 110m Hurdles

Immediately after concluding his collegiate career with a narrow 110m hurdles loss to Grant Holloway in 13.00, which tied him with Renaldo Nehemiah for second-best in NCAA history, new Nike pro Roberts will step right up to the Diamond League against a loaded high hurdles field at Pre. With no Holloway here, Roberts owns the fastest time in the race this season, but five sub-13 men—including reigning Olympic and World champion Omar McLeod—will put the 21-year-old’s status as a medal favorite to the test.

Dani Jones, 1,500m

The 2019 NCAA 5k champ ran an abbreviated outdoor schedule for the Buffaloes in her return from injury, but her victory in Austin proved Dani Jones was at least close to peak form. At Pre, she’ll finally get to race NCAA 1,500m runner-up Jessica Hull this season, and, oh yeah, five women with sub-four PBs. Her 4:07.33 best will be history come June 30.

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Jessica Hull, 1,500m

She was beaten at the line by Oklahoma State’s Sinclaire Johnson in the fastest NCAA women’s 1,500m final ever, but Jessica Hull was still thrilled with her 4:06 in Austin and the massive upside it represented. Like Jones, her personal best is sure to come tumbling down as a result of chasing this world-class field that includes reigning Olympic champ Faith Kipyegon, Laura Muir and Hull's fellow Aussie Linden Hall.

Weini Kelati, 3,000m

After finishing runner-up on two occasions at NCAA Championships during this past school year, New Mexico sophomore Weini Kelati finally broke through with her narrow victory in the 10,000m. At Pre, she will chop 7,000m off that distance to race an eclectic 3k featuring 1,500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba, reigning world 5k and cross country champion Hellen Obiri and 10k world record holder Almaz Ayana, to name a few. Like is the case for Jones and Hull, Kelati will hope to latch on to this fast pace for a big PB.

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Mondo Duplantis & Chris Nilsen, Pole Vault

After a shocking defeat to South Dakota’s Chris Nilsen in Austin that ended his collegiate career with a thud, Mondo Duplantis will have a shot at revenge against the 2019 NCAA champion at Pre. Both men will be looking for that magical six-meter clearance, while Nilsen will try to take another step toward world-title contention after raising his PB to 5.95m at NCAAs.

Payton Otterdahl, Shot Put

A back injury limited NCAA indoor shot put collegiate record holder Payton Otterdahl from reaching his full potential this spring, but perhaps three more weeks of training plus a field featuring Ryan Crouser and Tom Walsh will provide the spark for the North Dakota State star to return to his 21.81m ways. 

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USA Olympian Paul McMullen Has Died

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Paul McMullen, the 1996 USA Olympic Team Trials 1500m champion who would run a lifetime best of 3:33.89 for that distance five years later, has died according to several people prominent in the track and field community in Michigan where McMullen, grew up, lived and attended college at Eastern Michigan University.  The cause of death was said to be a skiing accident which occurred in Northern Michigan, but no other details were yet available.  McMullen was 49.

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SPIRE Academy Student Athletes Train with the Best

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This story is sponsored by SPIRE Institute & Academy. SPIRE and its expert coaches, teachers and performance trainers offer residential camp and academy training programs in basketball, track and field, swimming, esports and drone racing.

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