(AP) NEW YORK (AP) — Deresse Mekonnen won the Wanamaker Mile on Friday night, becoming the first runner other than Bernard Lagat to win the Millrose Game’s marquee event since 2004.
The 23-year-old from Ethiopia finished in 3 minutes, 58.58 seconds, holding off Lagat’s challenges in the final two laps.
Mekonnen, the two-time defending world indoor 1,500-meter champion, had to pull out of the Millrose Games last year when Lagat won a record eighth Wanamaker Mile — and sixth in a row — because of visa problems.
Lagat finished in 3:59.01 and fellow American David Torrence was third in 4:00.13.
“I had not competed for about six months due to illness,” Mekonnen said through a translator. “I expected that Laghat would win and I thought that if he were first I might maybe make second.”
With her sights set on the World Championships later this year, Veronica Campbell-Brown started her season with a strong showing in the 60-meter dash. The toughest part of competing in the 104th Millrose Games for her was getting to Madison Square Garden.
Campbell-Brown, a two-time Olympic 200-meter gold medalist, made it from Florida late Thursday night after enduring 36 hours of flight delays because of the snowstorm that shut down New York area airports.
After a slow start out of the blocks, she blew past a strong field about 25 meters into the race, clocking a time of 7.11 seconds to beat American Lauryn Williams (7.22) and defending women’s 60-meter champion Lisa Barber (7.23).
“I love competing in New York, I’m happy that I was able to get here,” Campbell-Brown said.
Nesta Carter, also of Jamaica, won the men’s 60 in a time of 6.52 seconds, beating American Mike Rodgers by 0.04 seconds. Trell Kimmons, of the United States, was third in 6.57.
A five-time Olympic medalist and a winner of five medals at the world championships, Campbell-Brown is preparing to compete in the 100 and 200 at the World Championships in South Korea beginning in late August.
“It’s early in the season, it’s a good way to start,” she said. “It’s a championship year and I will run each race to prepare. As of now I don’t have a schedule but we will run the necessary races to be ready for the trials and championships.”
Williams, the 2004 Olympic 100-meter silver medalist, only competed in a few races in Europe last season — ask her and she’ll tell you her last competition was at the 2009 worlds in Berlin — but she was pleased with her result and is mentally ready for the season.
“I was nervous, I felt like it was the Olympics just because it had been a year. There’s a lot of anxiety, butterflies,” she said. “I got blasted out of the blocks, but closed nicely so it shows that I’m fit and I’m ready.”
Vonette Dixon won the women’s 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.00 seconds but finished sixth in the 60 dash.
In the shot put, Ryan Whiting beat favorite and reigning world champion Christian Cantwell with a throw of 69 feet, 11 inches. Cantwell was second at 69-4¼.
Ashton Eaton, who set the heptathlon world record at last year’s NCAA Indoor championships, won the made for the Millrose multi-challenge event that pitted the three top American Decathletes against one another in the 60-meter dash, high jump and shot put. Eaton beat 2008 Olympic gold medalist Bryan Clay and 2009 world champion Trey Hardee won world championships in 2009.
“There was a lot of nervousness for this young man because of the competition, but there was also a lot of fight from this young man,” Eaton said. “when it came down to the high jump, when I needed to clear a bar to win, that’s what I did.”
Houston Texans receiver Jacoby Jones won the second Super 60 event, blasting past a field of professional athletes and raising an arm in victory about 30 meters into the race.
He beat a field that included last year’s winner and former NFL defensive back Anthony Dorsett; former Arizona Diamondbacks infielder Junior Spivey; Duke basketball star Jay Williams, whose NBA career was derailed by a motorcycle accident; Olympic bobsled gold medalist Steve Mesler and L.A. Galaxy star Bryan Jordan.
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