• Curtis Anderson

OTC Elite athletes achieve top 10 rankings in world and U.S.

EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon Track Club Elite continued to make its presence known on the global stage in 2018.

Multiple OTC Elite athletes finished the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons rated among the best in the world and U.S., according to annual rankings published by Track & Field News magazine.

OTC Elite was strongest in the 800 meters.

Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba, now in her fourth season under the tutelage of head coach Mark Rowland, was ranked second in the world in the 800m for the third consecutive year. The two-time Olympian successfully defended her World Indoor title in Birmingham, won two races on the outdoor Diamond League circuit, and clocked a season best of 1 minute, 55.86 seconds, a mere .39 off her lifetime best of 1:55.47.

Nijel Amos, a native of Botswana, closed out the year ranked No. 3 in the world in the 800m. The 2018 African champion posted a season best of 1:42.14 to win the Diamond League race in Monaco, his fastest time since claiming the silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics. Amos came back two days later with a 1:43.29 clocking at the London Müller Anniversary Games, marking the best back-to-back performances of his career.

Two OTC Elite newcomers – Hanna Green and Sabrina Southerland – were ranked among the top 10 performers in the U.S. in the 800m. Green, a USATF indoor and outdoor finalist, was ranked No. 8 after posting a lifetime best of 2:00.09 in the U.S. outdoor final. Southerland, the NCAA indoor champion for Oregon, and USATF outdoor finalist, was ranked No. 9 with a PR of 2:00.72 set in Sacramento in May.

Hassan Mead dropped down from the 10,000m to earn a No. 3 ranking in the U.S. in the 5,000m. Mead was third at the USATF Outdoor Championships, and took first place at the North American, Central American and Caribbean Championships (NACAC) in Toronto. He also posted lifetime bests in the mile (3:55.91) and two-mile (8:24.09).

Ben Blankenship opened the season strong with a fifth-place finish in the 1,500m at the World Indoor Championships. The U.S. runner-up in that event also clocked 3:54.77 in the indoor mile, the sixth-best performance in the world for 2018. Despite being slowed by injury outdoors, Blankenship came back in December to win the individual 10K title at the USATF Club Cross Country Championships in Spokane.

Elsewhere, Andrew Osagie, of the United Kingdom, ran his fastest 800m in five years at 1:45.09; Harun Abda posted a season-best of 1:46.50 in the 800m and became a renowned pace-setter on the Diamond League circuit; NCAA indoor 3,000m champion Andy Trouard joined the club out of Northern Arizona; Sally Kipyego and Luke Puskedra resumed training for 2019 marathons; and Great Britain’s Tom Farrell continued his injury rehab.