Symmonds Wins 800-Meter Run at Prefontaine Classic in 1:45.86

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

EUGENE, ORE. -- Former Willamette University runner Nick Symmonds '06 won the 800-meter run at the Prefontaine Classic for the second time in three years, as he registered a time of 1:45.86 against a stellar international field on Sunday, June 7 at Hayward Field. Symmonds also won the 800 at the Prefontaine Classic in 2007.

In Sunday's race, Symmonds finished 0.35 seconds in front of Alfred Yego of Kenya, who took second in 1:46.21. Yego won the bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where Symmonds reached the semifinals. Christian Smith of the U.S.A. was third at 1:46.36 and Gary Reed of Canada was fourth at 1:46.37.

The U.S.A. achieved a 1-3-5 finish, as Khadevis Robinson took fifth in 1:46.64. Yuriy Borzakovkiy of Russia, the 2004 Olympic champion, was sixth at 1:47.05, and Ahmad Ismail from Sudan, who won the Olympic silver medal in Beijing, was seventh in 1:47.83. Elijah Greer of the U.S.A. placed eighth with a time of 1:49.15.

Symmonds pulled into the lead with about 200 meters remaining, after starting his kick sooner than normal.

"The pace was slow enough and I felt good enough, that I thought 'I've got to take the lead a little bit earlier'," Symmonds commented.

He was pleased by the support from the crowd at Hayward Field.

"I love 'em," he said of the fans in Eugene, "You know, all of my fastest times have come from Hayward Field. Hopefully, I'll just keep laying some fast ones down this summer."

At Willamette, Symmonds won seven NCAA Division III national championships. He earned four 800-meter titles and won the 1,500-meter run three times.

Nick Symmonds '06 won the 800-meter run at the Prefontaine Classic on Sunday. He's shown here winning the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2008.