23 May, 2018

Lyles and Coleman Ready to Clash in Pre Classic 200

  • Christian Coleman - Image of Sport

The 20-year-old Lyles has never lost an IAAF Diamond League race, and indoor 60-meter world-record holder Coleman was last year’s fastest American in the 200.

(The 44th Pre Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 25-26 at historic Hayward Field.)

Eugene, Oregon – Noah Lyles and Christian Coleman are ready for a fantastic 200 duel at the Prefontaine Classic.

The 20-year-old Lyles has never lost an IAAF Diamond League race, and indoor 60-meter world-record holder Coleman was last year’s fastest American in the 200.

The stellar field also includes reigning world champ Ramil Guliyev, U.S. champ Ameer Webb, and last year’s world fastest, Isaac Makwala.

Noah Lyles is just 20 years old and has won all three of his Diamond League races. He set PRs in two of them, but the crown jewel may have been the thriller in last September’s finale in Brussels when he ended a summer lost to injury with a superb victory over Guliyev and Webb.

The Pre Classic will be the Virginian’s reunion with the Hayward Field track and some of his greatest moments. In 2016 he nearly made the U.S. Olympic team, scorching the track in 20.09 – a national high school record, breaking one set more than 30 years earlier. He finished 4th in one of the best 200-meter races in history, and he hasn’t lost a half-lapper since.

The 2016 Track & Field News High School Athlete of the Year responded to the Trials disappointment by dropping down to the 100 and winning the World Junior Championships. His PR in the 100 is 10.14 (set at Hayward Field in winning the 2015 U.S. Juniors), but he crushed a wind-aided 9.86 in Florida last month. This will be his first 200 race since a PR 19.83 victory at the Doha Diamond League earlier this month.

Christian Coleman, 22, is prepared to finish a rare double. The start will be in the Pre Classic 100 some 90 minutes earlier. There the sprint sensation will be tested by a gantlet of the world’s fastest – if he is able to win that race and add the 200 victory he will join Hall of Famer Maurice Greene, who twice won both events at the Pre Classic.

Coleman blazed an incredible trail last year in winning The Bowerman Award as the nation’s top collegian. It included a rare sprint double/double of NCAA titles – the 60/200 indoors and 100/200 outdoors. This year indoors he blazed the three fastest 60-meter times ever.

Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev, 27, startled the world with a gold in London. The two-time Olympian has made multiple major finals and first won notice as the 2007 World Youth Championships silver medalist. Last summer he lowered his 100 PR to 9.97.

Ameer Webb, 27, won his first U.S. title last year. The Rio Olympic semifinalist was last year’s No. 4 in the T&FN world rankings. He was inches behind Lyles in the Diamond League final last year and is the last man to defeat Coleman in the 200. As a collegian he won NCAA indoor and outdoor titles for Texas A&M in 2013. He has a 100 best of 9.94.

Botswana’s Isaac Makwala, 31, has a unique set of skills, starting with a 43.72 400 PR. The No. 2 ranked 400 runner by T&FN last year was the fastest in the 200 last year at 19.77. He won the Commonwealth Games 400 last month as well as a fast 200 in Osaka this weekend.

Jereem Richards, 24, was the bronze medalist in last summer’s London World Championships. Runner-up in the NCAA Indoor 200 for Alabama, the Trinidadian had his best moment as a member of last year's gold-medal winning World Champs 4x400 team. He split 43.5, the fastest of the meet. Last month he won the Commonwealth Games 200.

Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, 24, just missed a World Champs 200-meter medal last year, finishing 4th, but he brought Britannia home by anchoring one of the country’s best gold medals. The LSU grad has a strong history, winning the Jamaican junior championships in 2011 before representing his home country in the World Youth Championships.

Aaron Brown, 25, is a two-time Olympian from Canada. A former Pac-12 champ for USC, he was NCAA runner-up in 2014. He has a 100 PR of 9.96 and last month was silver medalist in the Commonwealth Games.

Men’s 200 MetersPersonal Best
Isaac Makwala (Botswana)19.77
Noah Lyles (USA)19.83
Christian Coleman (USA)19.85
Ameer Webb (USA)19.85
Ramil Guliyev (Turkey)19.88
Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Great Britain)19.95
Jereem Richards (Trinidad)19.97
Aaron Brown (Canada)20.00

Fans can follow the event lineups as all announced fields are posted at PreClassic.com. The direct link to current start/entry lists is HERE and will include updates to all announced fields.

Tickets for the 44th annual edition of the Prefontaine Classic, to be held May 25-26 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., are available at www.ticketmaster.com, as well as at 1-800-WEBFOOT and the Autzen Stadium ticket window. Sponsored by NIKE continuously since 1984, the Prefontaine Classic will be shown live to an international audience by NBC.

The Prefontaine Classic is the longest-running outdoor invitational track & field meet in America and is part of the elite IAAF Diamond League of meets held worldwide annually. The Pre Classic’s results score has rated No. 1 or No. 2 in the world in each of the last seven years by All-Athletics.com, the official data partner of the Diamond League.

Steve Prefontaine is a legend in the sport of track & field and is the most inspirational distance runner in American history. He set a national high school 2-mile record (8:41.5) while at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay, Oregon, that is the fastest ever in a National Federation-sanctioned race. While competing for the University of Oregon, he won national cross country championships (3) and outdoor track 3-Mile/5000-meter championships (4), and never lost a collegiate track race at any distance. As a collegiate junior, he made the 1972 U.S. Olympic Team and nearly won an Olympic medal, finishing 4th in the 5K at the 1972 Munich Olympics, at age 21. After finishing college in 1973 and preparing for a return to the Olympics in 1976, he continued to improve, setting 18 American records. His life ended tragically on May 30, 1975, the result of an auto accident, at age 24. The Pre Classic began that year and has been held every year since.