Lagat in search of sixth Wanamaker win at 101st Millrose Games

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    Ryan
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    INDIANAPOLIS – Reigning World Outdoor 1,500m and 5,000m champion Bernard Lagat will attempt to win the sixth Wanamaker Mile of his storied career Friday night at the 101st Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

    The third event of USA Track & Field's 2008 Indoor Visa Championship Series, the Millrose Games will be televised live Friday night from 7-8 p.m. Eastern Time on ESPN2 and Saturday on NBC from 2:30-3:30 p.m. ET 2. It will be Webcast by Sportnet next week, available via link from http://www.usatf.org.

    The oldest indoor invitational track and field meet in America, the Millrose Games begins a new century with many stars of track and field taking center stage in Madison Square Garden.

    Lagat continues to chase history

    A two-time Olympic 1,500m medalist, Lagat used his patented finishing kick to hold off Australia's Craig Mottram to win the Wanamaker Mile last year. With a win Friday night, Lagat would tie National Track & Field Hall of Famer Glenn Cunningham with six Wanamaker wins. Irish all-time great Eamonn Coghlan owns the most Wanamaker titles with seven. Lagat enters Millrose following an impressive win last weekend at the Norwich Union Five Nations Challenge in Glasgow, Scotland, where he won the 1,500 meters in 3 minutes, 45.89 seconds.

    Last weekend at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games Mottram showed he's ready to challenge Lagat for the Wanamaker title with his 3,000m win in 7 minutes 34.50 seconds, which bettered the U.S. All-Comers record of 7:35.24, set in Boston by Haile Gebrselassie in 2004, and is the fastest time in the world this year. Also keep an eye on NCAA 10,000m record holder and Olympic Games hopeful Galen Rupp, who will be looking to break the 4-minute mile barrier for the first time.

    Best in the world compete in Visa Men's Shot Put

    Fans at recent editions of the Millrose Games have gotten spoiled watching the finest men's shot putters in the world, and this year will be no exception. Reese Hoffa enters the event #1 world ranked by Track & Field News, and is the reigning world indoor and outdoor champion. He will be challenged by 2007 Indoor Visa Champion and 2004 World Indoor champion Christian Cantwell, who won at Millrose last year with a meet record toss of 21.88 meters/71 feet 9.50 inches, which was the farthest indoor throw in the world in 2007. Also keep an eye on 2005 World Outdoor champion and two-time Olympic silver medalist Adam Nelson, who ended last season ranked #2 in the world. Dan Taylor, who ended the 2007 season ranked #6 in the world, may also challenge for top honors.

    The men's pole vault features reigning World Outdoor champion and 2007 Millrose winner Brad Walker, who ended last season ranked #1 in the world. He'll face 2004 Olympic silver medalist Toby Stevenson, University of Oregon standout and reigning NCAA Outdoor champion Tommy Skipper and 2006 USA Outdoor champion Russ Buller, among others.

    Stars aplenty in men's sprints, hurdles

    The men's 60 meters features a group of talented young sprinters looking to make their mark in The Big Apple. 2006 World and USA Indoor 60m champion Leonard Scott will face a strong challenge from DaBryan Blanton, who won last Saturday's Reebok Boston Indoor Games in 6.65 seconds. 2004 Olympic and two-time World Outdoor men's long jump champion Dwight Phillips is in the field, along with 2007 World Outdoor Championships 4x100m relay gold medalist Leroy Dixon, and 2007 USA Outdoor 100m runner-up Trindon Holliday of LSU.

    The Mel Sheppard men's 600 yards features 2005 World Outdoor 400m hurdles champion Bershawn Jackson and reigning USA Outdoor 800m champion Khadevis Robinson, who won the 600 meters earlier this month at the USA vs. The World at Run for the Dream meet in Fresno, Calif., and won the 800m last week in Boston. Leading the field in the Hershey's Men's 60m hurdles is 2004 World Junior 110m hurdles champion Aries Merritt, who placed sixth at the 2007 AT&T USA Outdoor Championships. Also in the field is Joel Brown, who was the runner-up last week in Boston, and Antwon Hicks, who barely beat Brown across the finish line for the win in Boston in 7.59 seconds.Goucher returns to action at Millrose

    2007 World Outdoor Championship 10,000m bronze medal winner Kara Goucher will compete in the NYRR Women's Mile Friday night in New York. Her performance at the World Championships in Osaka was the first World medal ever won by an American woman at that distance. She'll face stiff competition from Russia's Liliya Shobukhova, the 2006 World Indoor Championships silver medalist at 3,000 meters and a former world record holder at that distance.

    Hayes, Demus headline women's sprints

    2006 Millrose winner Joanna Hayes will look to win again in the Tyson Foods Women's 60m hurdles. Hayes, 31, set the Olympic record of 12.37 seconds in winning the 100m hurdles gold medal in Athens in 2004. She'll face Canada's Perdita Felicien, the 2003 World 100m hurdles champion and 2004 World Indoor champ.

    2002 World Junior 400m hurdles champion, 2005 World Outdoor silver medalist and 2006 Visa Champion Lashinda Demus will be one of the favorites in the Visa women's 600-yard run, along with 2007 World Outdoor Championships 400m finalist, 4x400m relay gold medalist and 2007 Millrose 400m champion Mary Wineberg.2007 Pan Am Games 100m gold medalist and World Outdoor Championships 4x100m relay gold medalist Miki Barber will look to win the adidas Women's 60 meters for the second week in a row following her victory last week in Boston in 7.27 seconds. She'll be challenged by 2005 Visa Champion and 2005 World Outdoor Championships 4x100m relay gold medalist Angela Daigle-Bowen, and 2007 World Outdoor 100m bronze medalist and 4x100m relay gold medalist Carmelita Jeter.

    Dragila vs. Stuczynski in women's pole vault

    2000 Olympic gold medalist, two-time World Outdoor champion, seven-time Millrose winner and MSG fan favorite Stacy Dragila returns to Millrose again Friday night in the adidas Women's Pole Vault. She'll face the heavily favored, two-time national champion and U.S. Outdoor record holder Jenn Stuczynski. Last week in Boston, Stuczynski won easily clearing 4.60m/15-1. Stuczynski then raised the bar to 4.82m/15-9.75, 1cm beyond Dragila's indoor AR of 4.81m/15-9.25, but was unable to clear the bar successfully.

    In other women's field event action, three-time Olympian Amy Acuff enters Millrose after winning the high jump January 21 at the USA vs. The World at Run for the Dream in Fresno, Calif. After clearing the winning height of 1.95 meters/6 feet 4.75 inches, Acuff had three near-misses at the American indoor record before being named the Athlete of the Meet. Challengers include 2005 NCAA Outdoor champion and 2007 USA Outdoor runner-up Sharon Day, who was second to Acuff in Fresno, and 2007 USA Indoor runner-up Gwen Wentland.

    Waking titles on the line

    National titles in the men's and women's 1-mile race walk events also will be up for grabs at the 101st Millrose Games. Defending champion Loretta Schuellein, a local teacher, will take on a field that includes 2004 Olympic Teresa Vaill. The Susan Rudin men's 1-mile Championship is wide open, with 3-time defending champion Tim Seaman sitting out as he recovers from injury. Curt Clausen, the 1999 World Championships bronze medalist in the 50km walk, headlines the entries.

    Tickets for the 101st Millrose Games are now available at Ticketmaster (call 212-307-7171, visit http://www.Ticketmaster.com or at Ticketmaster outlets); or at the Madison Square Garden box office. USATF welcomes you to pay with your Visa. For information and a look back at 100 years of tradition, visit the event website at http://www.Millrose-Games.com.

    The USA Track & Field Visa Championship Series will continue February 15 with the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., and February 23-24 with the AT&T USA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Boston. For more information, including TV broadcast schedules, visit http://www.visachampionshipseries.com

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