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Bartoletta and Kovacs steal the show on Nike Prefontaine Classic “Distance Night”


EUGENE, Oregon -- Two world leaders highlighted Friday night at the Nike Prefontaine Classic, as Americans Tianna Bartoletta and Joe Kovacs dazzled the “Distance Night” crowd at Historic Hayward Field.

In her first of two Diamond League events at the Nike Prefontaine Classic, Bartoletta (Tampa, Florida) captured the women’s long jump title with a new all-conditions best of 7.11m/23-4 (+2.5). Bartoletta now leads the Diamond League long jump standings with eight points and is slated to compete in the women’s 100 meters on Saturday.

Kovacs (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) engaged in a back-and-forth battle with Germany’s David Storl, trading the lead until the final throw of the night. Kovacs launched the shot 22.12m/72-7 to take the win and edge closer to Storl in the overall Diamond League standings. Ryan Whiting (Port Matilda, Pennsylvania) scored Diamond League points with a third-place throw of 21.37m/70-1.50, a new season’s best.

Maggie Vessey (Los Angeles, California) kicked off the track action in style, winning the USATF High Performance 800 meters in 2:00.07. Compatriot Phoebe Wright (Seattle, Washington) nabbed a season’s best 2:00.79 with her second-place finish.

In the Nike High School Elite Mile races, Ryen Frazier (Raleigh, North Carolina) outkicked Danielle Jones (Phoenix, Arizona) to win the girls title in 4:39.84. On the boys side, crowd favorite Mikey Brannigan (Northport, New York) couldn’t hold off a surging Carlos Villareal of Arizona, who took the win in 4:05.25. Brannigan closed in a personal best 4:05.78 for second.

Day two of the 41st Nike Prefontaine Classic promises to be a showstopper. Broadcast coverage of the Nike Prefontaine Classic begins Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT on NBCSN and the action continues on NBC at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT.

Fans can join the conversation by following USATF on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and using the hashtag #PreClassic.

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