• Curtis Anderson

OTC Elite’s Blankenship, Green, Abda set for Pre Classic

EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon Track Club Elite will be represented by three athletes at the 45th annual Prefontaine Classic at Stanford University’s Cobb Track and Angell Field in Palo Alto, Calif., on Sunday.

Ben Blankenship, a 1,500-meter finalist at the 2016 Rio Olympics, is scheduled to compete in the Bowerman Mile for the fourth consecutive year. He is coming off a third-place finish in the Emil Zátopek Mile (3:57.27) at the Golden Spike meet in Ostrava, Czech Republic on June 20. Harun Abda will pace the Bowerman Mile.

Hanna Green, a second-year pro out of Virginia Tech, is entered in the 800m in her Pre Classic debut. Green tuned up for the meet with a victory in the 800m (2:01.76) at the Harry Jerome Classic in Burnaby, B.C., on June 20. OTC Elite’s Sabrina Southerland was fifth in that race, just three days after earning her master’s degree at the University of Oregon. OTC Elite’s Drew Piazza was third in the men’s 800m.

The Nike-sponsored Pre Classic has been moved to Stanford this year because of ongoing construction at the new Hayward Field in advance of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials and 2021 IAAF World Championships.

The Pre Classic has been ranked as the world’s No. 1 or No. 2 single-day track and field meet in each of the past eight years by All-Athletics.com based on overall performance and quality marks.

In addition, five OTC Elite athletes will participate in a High Performance middle distance event at Lane Community College on Saturday.

Three races have been set up to give athletes a chance to achieve qualifying standards for the USATF Outdoor Championships (July 25-28, Des Moines, Iowa) and IAAF World Championships (Sept. 27-Oct. 6, Doha, Qatar).

The race schedule is as follows:

  • 6:30 p.m. – Men’s 800m

  • 6:40 p.m. – Women’s 800m

  • 6:50 p.m. – Men’s 1,500m

OTC Elite’s Vincent Ciattei, Tom Farrell, Hassan Mead and Drew Piazza are entered in the 1,500m with teammate Neil Gourley serving as the pacer. Gourley also is expected to run the 800m.