Cardinal Classic hosting talented group of track athletes


The two-day Cardinal Classic, a new home meet on the Stanford track and field calendar, begins Friday at Cobb Track and Angell Field.

The meet grew out of last year's Stanford Twilight Meet, a first-year event contested over a single evening. Like the Twilight, this will mainly be a college-focused competition with few post-collegians.

Christina Aragon.

Elise Cranny.
There will be 22 teams represented. Among the most prominent are Texas (No. 9 in USTFCCCA women's rankings, No. 10 in the men's), Florida State (No. 13 women), and Harvard (No. 14 women).

Stanford (No. 10 women, No. 14 men) leads a group of distance powers that include Colorado, New Mexico, Northern Arizona, and Oklahoma State.

For adults, tickets are $10 each day. For youths, seniors, and staff, tickets are $5 each day. The ticket booth outside the entrance to the track stadium opens at 8 a.m. each day.

The women's 800 and the men's 5,000 will be among the most anticipated events from a Stanford perspective.

The meet will mark the season outdoor 800 debut for Cardinal junior Olivia Baker, the reigning Pac-12 400 champ who was second at NCAA outdoors last year.

Stanford's Grant Fisher will race a 5,000 for the first time since finishing sixth at NCAA outdoors last year as a freshman. His 13:30.13 from that race placed him on the U.S. under-20 all-time list.

Stanford teammates Christina Aragon, a freshman, and junior Elise Cranny, two of the top women in the country, race each other in the 1,500.

Last year, Aragon became the first American to medal in the event at the World U20 Championships, running a personal best 4:08.71.

Cranny, the reigning Pac-12 champion, set a school record of 4:09.54 while placing second at the 2016 NCAA Championships by 0.004. Each reached the semifinals of the Olympic Trials last summer.

Three-time Argentina champion Carolina Lozano and Fresno State's Annemarie Schwanz, the Stanford Invitational winner and a returning NCAA finalist, are in the field. So are Tabor Scholl and Page Hurta of Colorado's NCAA indoor champion distance medley relay team.

Among those in the 800 field are 2016 Canadian Olympian Alicia Brown, Iowa State's NCAA indoor 800 finalist Jasmine Staebler, and Dani Jones, the NCAA indoor 3,000 champion who anchored Colorado to a dramatic NCAA DMR victory.

Among the throwers competing are Stanford senior discus thrower Valarie Allman, whose 205-6 (62.64 meters) at Long Beach State last weekend was the longest throw by an American this year.

Allman is redshirting in order to return for a fifth year in 2018, but has set two personal discus records in three discus competitions already this season. She is a two-time Pac-12 discus champ and was third at NCAA's last year.

Stanford sophomore Mackenzie Little, the 2016 Pac-12 javelin champ, never has lost at home and will seek her sixth victory at Cobb Track and Angell Field.

In related news, former Stanford runner Madeline Duhon placed 19th among women at the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Duhon ran 2:38:44 for her fastest marathon, bettering her 2:40.07 from the California International Marathon in 2015.

She placed 42nd at the Olympic Trials marathon in Los Angeles last year.


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