Stanford No. 9 women’s and No. 18 men’s track and field will host the 23rd annual Payton Jordan Invitational this Thursday at Angell Field, concluding the regular outdoor season in their third and most competitive home meet of the year. In one of the most highly anticipated domestic invitationals, athletes from dozens of schools across the country will compete alongside former Olympians and NCAA titleholders to prove their mettle ahead of championship play.
Following the invitational, the Cardinal will hold onto the home advantage when they host the Pac-12 Multi-Event Championships on Saturday and Sunday and the final Pac-12 Championships May 12-13.
Stanford has had a smooth spring, highlighted by a victory against Cal on April 7 in their one scored meet of the outdoor season and a number of school record-breaking races. The invitational will offer Stanford another opportunity to hit a few more personal bests and school records before taking on the Pac-12s, which Stanford men have failed to conquer since 2002 and Stanford women have failed to conquer since 2005.
The Stanford women, with a roster dotted with nationally-ranked athletes across diverse events, will seek to stay near the top of the pack.
The Cardinal’s 4 by 400m team, No. 8 in the NCAA and No. 1 in the conference, is one of just three in the nation to claim five athletes running their legs in under 54 seconds. The team is also ranked third in school history for their record time of 3:31.65. The team is led by senior Olivia Baker, hitting a 53.03, Gaby Gales, Missy Mongiovi and freshman standout Ashlan Best. At last week’s National Relay Championships, Baker notably ran the third-fastest anchor leg of the sprint medley relay in collegiate history, winning the event.
In discus, fifth year senior and 12th-best thrower in American history Valarie Allman will aim for gold, while the second ranked shot putter in the NCAA, senior Lena Giger, will try to top her personal-best of 18.09 meters. In distance events, graduate student Vanessa Fraser is predicted to shine in the women’s 3000m and the 1500m, in which she hit the third fastest time by a collegian this year, 4:10.63.
The Cardinal men are having similar 4-by-4 success, having hit 3:05.76 this season, less than half a second short of the Stanford record. The runners, Frank Kurts, Isaiah Brandt-Sims, Gabriel Navarro and Julian Body are also stars in the 4 by 100m, hitting 40.04 seconds, the fourth fastest in school history. In sprints, senior Brandt-Sims is expected to lead the cardinal in the 100m, with a personal best of 10.53.
In the 1500m, Stanford has three runners breaking 14 minutes, led by Grant Fisher with a consistent time sub-13:40,and Sean McGorty, who has a personal best of 13:40.57, ranked fourth in the country. Fisher is also the reigning NCAA outdoor 5000m champion, an event he is likely to headline at the invitational.
A number of non-Stanford men’s track stars will draw crowds Thursday. Rio Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz will run the 1500m, with a record of 3:30.40 and only slightly slower performance this season. Canadian Cross Country star, collegian Justyn Knight, is currently seeking to best his own 13:17 in the 5000m, with a three-year streak of setting personal records at the Payton Jordan. More Olympians will hit the track in the steeplechase, the 10,000m and other distance events.
The Payton Jordan Invitational will commence with field events at 4 p.m. and track events at 6 p.m. this Thursday, May 3, at Angell Field. General admission tickets can be purchased at gostanford.evenue.net ($10/adult; $5/student, youth, seniors). Event coverage will stream on flotrack.org.
Admission to the Pac-12 Multi-Event Championships this weekend (May 5 and 6) is free and open to the public. Events will run from 12:00 to 5:45 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. Sunday at Cobb Track and Angell Field. The complete schedule is available at Pac-12.com.
Contact Sylvie Ashford at sylviash ‘at’ stanford.edu