What To Watch At Millrose Games: Athletes, Storylines To Watch
Your guide to the must-watch races and stories at the 2023 Millrose Games at The Armory in New York City on Saturday, February 11.
One of the most-hyped events of the indoor season is finally here! The indoor track season has kicked off with a bang already over the last few weeks, with big showdowns between sprint stars, resetting of high school, NCAA, American, and world records, and early statement races from the likes of Abby Steiner, Aleia Hobbs, and more. Now, they’re all headed to the Big Apple to throw down at the 115th Millrose Games.
We will have a squad at The Armory to bring you a pre-meet show, live updates, mixed zone interviews and a post-race show. Stay tuned to the CITIUS MAG social channels for all the links to those.
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Follow along with live results here, and you can watch the meat of the professional program between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. EST live on NBC. As always, you can also follow the action with our live updates on Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube.
Here are the top 10 storylines we’ve got our eyes on this weekend (in order of the meet schedule so you can follow along in real-time!):
High School Milers Sink Or Swim (Men’s Mile, 4:10 p.m.)
Before they head off to the NCAA next year, two of the country’s brightest high school stars are taking on the pros in the early heat of the men’s mile. Connor Burns (Ashland, MO) and Rocky Hansen (Arden, NC) are in the hunt for a sub-4 clocking - Burns did it last year outdoors but hasn’t broken 4 indoors, and Hansen has a 4:01.11 PB. They’ll throw down against the likes of Reed Brown, Matt Wisner, and Robby Andrews, so they should have plenty of company. Rocky caught up with CITIUS MAG correspondent Gary Martin, an accomplished high school miler in his own right, on the podcast this week if you’d like to brush up on his story before Saturday’s race.
Aleia Hobbs Stays Hot (Women’s 60m, 4:18 p.m.)
Aleia Hobbs has wasted no time getting off to a speedy start in 2023: In addition to running a big personal best of 6.98 to become the 9th-fastest woman all-time in the 60m, her four 60m times (two prelims, two finals) are the #1-4 60-meter performances by an American this year. The next-fastest American is her former LSU teammate Mikiah Brisco, who is also entered in this race with a 7.10 season’s best, but all indications point to Hobbs keeping her streak alive and perhaps even moving up the all-time list. Another runner to keep an eye on is Shawnti Jackson, the HS senior lining up with the pros who already owns the national HS record in the event. Can she go faster than her 7.18 PB with some professional competition?
A Rivalry Reignited (Men’s 60m, 4:23 p.m.)
Noah Lyles put the world on notice last weekend at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. The sprinter who many consider a 200-meter specialist has clearly been working on his start, lowering his personal best to 6.51 en route to taking down Trayvon Bromell in his sponsor’s showcase event. Now he’ll face off with indoor world record holder Christian Coleman, an even more exciting prospect given Coleman’s 6.34 personal best and the well-documented beef between the two stars. Coleman will almost certainly hit the lead early, but can Lyles stay close enough to unleash his ferocious top-end speed over the shortest professional event?
Big Throws Season (Shot Put, 4:28 p.m.)
Ryan Crouser and Joe Kovacs, the top two shot putters in the world over the last 5+ years, are opening up their 2023 seasons with another head-to-head showdown. Crouser has the 37-9 lifetime edge over Kovacs, but their 2022 record was much closer, with Crouser winning only 4 of their 7 matchups (but snagging gold at the World Championships). Another world champion, Chase Ealey, headlines the women’s field. She’s already competed twice in Europe this year, but she hasn’t yet rediscovered the magic that led to an undefeated 2022 outdoor season. We’ll see if she finds it in the ring on Saturday.
Monson-Cranny Rubber Match (Women’s 3000m, 4:38 p.m.)
Considering they’re two of the U.S.’s biggest distance stars in recent years, you’d think On Athletic Club’s Alicia Monson and Bowerman TC’s Elise Cranny would have a long history of head-to-head racing. But Monson and Cranny have actually only ever raced 3 times in their careers, and they’ve split two 3000ms 1-1. So whoever wins this weekend will take the edge - and it will likely be either Monson (8:26.81 PB) or Cranny (8:29.95 PB) who takes the crowd in this field given their credentials. It will also be fun to keep an eye on collegians Katelyn Tuohy (NC State) and Mercy Chelangat (Alabama) to see if they can get close to Karissa Schweizer’s 8:41.60 NCAA record in the event, set at this event in 2018.
Meeting In The Middle [Distance] (Men’s 3000m, 5:00 p.m.)
The men’s 3000m field is an intriguing mix of talented milers moving up (including Olympic 1500m medalist Josh Kerr and NCAA mile record holder Cooper Teare) and more distance-oriented guys like Joe Klecker of OAC and Nico Young of NAU moving down to meet in the middle. Luis Grijalva is known more as a 5000m runner, but he ran 3:53 at BU earlier this season looking quite comfortable, and defending champ Geordie Beamish has focused on the 5000m in recent years but has an NCAA title in the mile. This is probably one of the closest races on the card this weekend, and the eventual victor will likely emerge due to superior tactics, rather than trying to outrun this stacked field.
Abby Steiner Chases History (Women’s 300m, 5:17 p.m.)
With 200m speed and 400m strength, Abby Steiner seems perfectly equipped to throw down some seriously fast times over the 300-meter distance, a race rarely run outdoors but a staple of the indoor circuit. Steiner’s PB is 35.80, less than a tenth of a second off the American record of 35.71, and her world #2 season’s best of 50.69 in the 400m shows she’s fit. With fellow Puma pro Jenna Prandini one lane outside her, Steiner will have someone to chase early and hopefully urge her to a record-setting mark.
Ajee’ Wilson Defends The Home Turf (Women’s 600m, 5:32 p.m.)
Ajee’ Wilson’s nearly 10-year undefeated streak at the Armory has already survived its first challenge of the season at the Dr. Sander Invitational, and with American indoor record holder Athing Mu announcing her withdrawal from the race earlier this week, she has to be considered the favorite. Wilson’s 1:22.39 PB from the 2017 outdoor season is the second-fastest time in history, indoors or out, and more than a second under the world indoor record of 1:23.41 set by Keely Hodgkinson two weeks ago. The biggest question is not whether she can win the race, but rather whether she’ll get out hard. In her first two races of the season, Wilson seemed content to lay back and snag the victory in the last few strides with a strategically-measured effort, but she’ll need to race more aggressively to threaten the record.
The British Invasion (Women’s Wanamaker Mile, 5:41 p.m.)
The British are coming - scratch that, they’re already here! Scots Laura Muir and Jemma Reekie are already Stateside having competed at the NBIGP in the 3000m and mile, respectively, and Muir is probably the runner to beat given her Olympic silver, World bronze, and 3:54.50 1500m PB. But you can’t discount the lethal kicks of U.S. champ Sinclaire Johnson, 1:57 800m runner Sage Hurta-Klecker, and Josette Andrews (nee Norris) to defend the stars and stripes. And with the way Canadian Lucia Stafford has been running this season, it would be no surprise if she spoils the 1812 rematch and claims the title for our neighbors to the north.
OAC vs. the World (Men’s Wanamaker Mile, 5:51 p.m.)
To borrow a phrase from the Coffee Club podcast, this race is full of “heavy hitters”. All eyes will be on defending Wanamaker champion Olli Hoare and his 3:47 mile personal best, but he might not even be the fastest guy on his team right now with Yared Nuguse coming off an American record in the 3000m and Mario Garcia Romo entering his first full pro season with a head of steam. The fastest American in the field is Johnny Gregorek (3:49.98 PB), but you can never discount Cole Hocker’s lethal kick. If things get messy and tactical, don’t be surprised to see Kiwi Sam Tanner or Scot Neil Gourley mixing things up in the final lap after strong performances last weekend. The safe money is on the trophy to stay in OAC hands, but which Boulder boy comes out on top is anyone’s guess.
If you’re in New York City this weekend, be sure to say hello to Chris, Kyle or Mac while at The Armory. Thanks for reading! Let us know what other races you’ll be watching.
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David Melly (@DavidMellyRuns)
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Shanti Jackson for the upset.
i got Yared in the mile