Olympic year makes Payton Jordan Invitational a big deal


The 21st annual Payton Jordan Invitational, which has developed into the premier distance-running track meet in the country, takes place Sunday at Cobb Track and Angell Field. The meet is named for the school's legendary former track and field coach.

Being an Olympic year, the meet takes on special significance as a prime opportunity to reach the qualifying standards for the Olympics and Olympic Trials. In this meet, fast times are the goal, and with many runners coming down from altitude training for this meet, there is even more of focus on speed.

Field events begin at 11 a.m., with running events starting at 4 p.m. Parking is free on campus.

Among the top athletes are U.S. Olympian Evan Jager, ranked No. 4 in the world in the steeplechase in 2015 and who will run the 1,500, and Kenyan Sally Kipyego, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist in the 10,000. She will run the 5,000 on Sunday. Oregon junior Edward Cheserek, a 13-time NCAA individual champion, will run the 1,500.

The meet also features standout Stanford athletes from the past, present and future. Chris Derrick ('12), the three-time U.S. cross country champion, will run the 5,000. Garrett Heath ('08), who vanquished Olympian Mo Farah at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country Race in January, will race either the 1,500 or 5,000.

Among current Stanford runners, NCAA indoor 3,000 runner-up Sean McGorty, already an Olympic Trials qualifier in the 1,500, and freshman standout Grant Fisher, will race in the men's 5,000. This is Fisher's track debut at that distance.

Claudia Saunders, a two-time NCAA outdoor 800 runner-up, will race the 800 alongside top U.S. competitors Katie Mackey and Maggie Vessey.

Two future Cardinal will be running. Christina Aragon, the fifth-fastest high school 1,500 runner of all-time, will race at that distance. Ella Donaghu, another member of Stanford's graduating class of 2020, also races the 1,500.

Of the times on the 2015 U.S. performers' list, last year's Payton Jordan meet was the source of:

* Fifteen of the top 21 times in the men's 10,000.

* Six of the top nine in the women's 10,000.

* Five of the top 12 in the women's 5,000.

* Five of the top 13 times in the men's 5,000.

At last year's Payton Jordan (through May 2), there were:

* Two world-leading marks.

* Seven U.S.-leading marks.

* Nine collegiate-leading marks.

* 57 exceeded World Championship standards.

* 50 men under 14:00 for 5,000 meters.

* 37 women under 16:00 for 5,000.

* 35 men under 29:00 for 10,000.

* 38 women under 33:00 for 10,000.

* 17 men under 8:45 in the 3,000 steeplechase.

* 37 women under 4:20 in the 1,500.

* Three national records.

* 21 school records.

* Two meet records.

— Stanford Athletics

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