The boys and girls Dream Mile and 100 meter races won’t be the only highlights for prep fans at the adidas Grand Prix at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island this coming Saturday.
The women’s Diamond League 800 will also feature two high schoolers. That Neptune (Neptune, N.J.) senior Ajee’ Wilson is contesting the event is no surprise; she’s been racing collegiate and elite athletes at almost every opportunity since the indoor season. But the fact that Harvard-Westlake senior Amy Weissenbach is entered is eye-opening. Not only will it be Weissenbach’s first race at this level, but it will also be the first time the pair of 2:02 performers have met since the World Youth Championships final last July.
Wilson won the World Youth title in that race in Lille, France with a 2011 US#2 2:02.64, good for #6 all-time, while Weissenbach wound up fourth after a dive at the line. Wilson also defeated Weissenbach at the World Youth Trials a few weeks earlier. For the season, Weissenbach had the fastest time, with her 2:02.04 from her state meet being a national federation record and #3 all-time.
That the two U.S. preps have the opportunity to compete in a Diamond League race is an incredible opportunity. The field-runner field also includes American pros Maggie Vessey, Jenny Simpson, Molly Beckwith and Erica Moore, as well as Ethiopian Fantu Magiso and two British runners. Magiso has the top entry mark at 1:57.56, followed by Vessey at 1:57.84. But in the Millrose race, Wilson beat Vessey and was less than half a second behind Magiso.
Interestingly, neither comes into this race having matched their 2011 bests, though, and neither is atop the U.S. list. That honor belongs to Bronxville (Bronxville, N.Y.) soph Mary Cain, who has clocked 2:03.34. Wilson has run 2:05 three times outdoors with a best of US#2 2:05.19, while Weissenbach has done so twice with a best of US#3 2:05.55. Indoors, however, Wilson did produce a 2:04.13 at the Millrose Games, which elevated her to #2 all-time undercover.
It will be fascinating to see whether the competition can help either or both preps elevate their game, possibly to the level of Kim Gallagher’s 1982 2:00.07 USR, and whether Weissenbach will finally have Wilson’s number or if the Jersey star will prevail again. The two stars could meet again a week later at the USATF Juniors in Bloomington.