As the 2018 track season gets underway, many international and collegiate athletes headed the Stanford yesterday to try and blow out the ‘winter cobwebs’. With many stellar performances over the sprints and hurdles, with athletes opening up there seasons well, the stories of the evening belonged to the middle distance events.
With Section One of the men’s 1500m featuring Olympic 1500m Champion Matt Centrowitz and Olympic 5000m Silver Medalist Paul Chelimo, it was sure to be a thrilling race. The rest of the field consisted of many successful collegiate athletes, such as Stanford’s Sean McGorty and Grant Fisher, but many eyes turned to the youngest in the field – Jakob Ingebrigtsen – a mere age of seventeen. Jakob was the story of Athletics last year, as a youngster breaking the 4 minute mile barrier, competing with his seniors and holding his own, whilst claiming two European Junior Gold Medals on the track and one on the Cross Country, whilst claiming double titles at the Norwegian National Championships, competing against the senior athletes. You could say there was a lot of pressure on young Jakob in this race, with the athletic world expecting him to run extremely fast this year. However, nobody expected him to come out on top of the stacked race at this early season meet.
Jakob claimed the victory in 3:39.06, in a 55 second final lap. In second place was Olympic Medalist Paul Chelimo (3:40.16) with Erik Jenkins of the Nike Oregon Project claiming third (3:40.28) and Centrowitz struggling to feature in the race coming in sixth place. A slow race by international standards, but the seventeen year old demonstrated his form and his lack of fear by beating some of the greats of the sport. Special mention to the pace maker of the race – Mike Wilson of New Mexico – a friend of mine and an up and coming athlete to watch.
Jakob wasn’t the only Ingebrigtsen to claim a victory yesterday, as his older brother – Henrik – won the Section One 5000m race in a time of 13:16.97, a narrow victory over Riley Masters, who clocked the same time, with the infamous collegiate Justyn Knight coming home in third place in 13:18.74, a fantastic race.
On the women’s side, there was a very close race in the Section One 1500m, with Sarah Vaughn claiming the victory in 4:11.70, ahead of Christina Aragon and Claudia Saunders who ran 4:12.28 and 4:12.38, respectively.
Across the board, the world class times we are used to seeing on the international circuit were not seen at the Payton Jordan Invitational. However, with it being early in the season, it makes us anticipate the rest of the season, eager to see who comes out on top in the coming Diamond League races.
Full results for the Payton Jordan Invitational can be found here: https://www.flotrack.org/results/6193997-2018-payton-jordan-invitational/24358