Stanford track and field returns to Cobb Track and Angell Field on Friday for the fourth annual Cardinal Classic, the second of three home meets this season. The two-day meet plays host to 16 teams and several NCAA top-contenders.
“We’re really fired up about what this meet has grown into over the last few years,” said Chris Miltenberg, the Franklin P. Johnson Director of Track & Field.
The men’s teams, ranked No. 15 in the nation, will face steep talent from No. 7 Oregon, No. 17 Indiana and No. 25 Purdue, while the No. 13 Cardinal women host No. 5 Oregon, No. 14 Colorado and No. 17 Washington.
The classic comes two weeks after Stanford hosted Cal in the 125th Big Meet, which saw the Stanford women claim their fifth-consecutive meet crown behind a record-breaking performance from senior javelin specialist Mackenzie Little. The men finished second to Cal in a decision that came down to the final race.
While Little will not be competing this weekend, she was named as one of 10 athletes to the 2019 Women’s Watch List for The Bowerman — collegiate track and field’s highest honor. Little is the reigning NCAA national champion in the javelin, and leads the NCAA with the farthest throw this season (59.47 meters, 2019 Big Meet). The announcement was released on Thursday afternoon by U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
The organization also named Stanford senior Grant Fisher as one of 10 athletes on the Men’s Watch List. Fisher, a nine-time All-American and the 2017 NCAA 5,000 meter national champion, joins the likes of Wisconsin’s Morgan McDonald, the reigning NCAA cross country champion, and Florida’s Grant Holloway, a 2018 Bowerman finalist.
Fisher will run the 5,000 meters for the first time this season on Friday night. The race, which will close the first day of the competition, includes four athletes who raced at the 2018 NCAA 5,000 meter finals in Eugene, Oregon. Along with Fisher, who placed third at the meet, Iowa State’s Edwin Kurgat (seventh), Purdue’s Jaret Carpenter (10th) and Oregon’s Cooper Teare (17th) will all be in the mix on Friday.
Fifth-year reigning Pac-12 steeplechase champion Steven Fahy will also join the field. Fahy finished third at NCAAs last year in the steeplechase event. Two rising stars for the Cardinal will be looking for season bests in the race. Sophomore Alek Parsons and redshirt freshman Connor Lane, who broke 14 minutes in the 5,000 at the Stanford Invitational three weeks ago, will both join the competitive field.
“I’m really looking forward to the 5k’s and 1500’s on both the men’s and women’s sides,” Miltenberg said. “We’ve got big crews racing together on both genders and both teams have incredible momentum right now.
On the women’s side, four-time NCAA runner-up Erin Finn of Michigan and Furman’s Savannah Carnahan, an NCAA outdoor 5,000-meter finalist, will highlight a stacked field in the women’s 5,000. Stanford will be led by its own leader, junior Fiona O’Keeffe, a two-time top-five NCAA 5,000 placer. She will be joined sophomores Jessica Lawson and Jordan Oakes and fifth-year Abbie McNulty. Lawson comes into the race ranked eighth in the nation in the 1,500 meters, while McNulty earned her first All-American honor in the 5,000 in the most recent indoor season.
“Most of all, I want our team to keep focusing on really competing on the situation right in front of you today, whether it’s the 5k or the javelin or everything in between,” Miltenberg said. “That is how we’ll continue doing it our way and building momentum into the championship season.”
Contact Alejandro Salinas at asalinas ‘at’ stanford.edu.