Athletics News

New Balance GP Men — Lyles Polishes His 60 Chops

New Balance GP Men — Lyles Polishes His 60 Chops

Noah Lyles’ “nasty” first third of the dash led to a storming finish, the win and a significant PR. (VICTOR SAILER/PHOTO RUN)

BRIGHTON, MASSACHUSETTS, February 04 — Noah Lyles brought new fire to the New Balance Grand Prix. In his season opener, the WC double-dash champ showed that he can get up to top speed faster than ever, his 6.44 victory in the dash slashing 0.07 off his PR set here a year ago.

“I was just worried about the 10 to 20,” said Lyles. “I knew that my first 10m are always going to be kind of sluggish [and they were]. As long as I’m next to everybody, I don’t care. But that 10 to 20 needs to be nasty. It needs to be getting that power into the track.”

He did so successfully, pulling even with fast-starting Ackeem Blake with just a stride or so to go to score the win by 0.01, leaving Ronnie Baker (6.54) and Fred Kerley (6.55) behind. The time tied Lyles for the No. 7 position on the U.S. all-time list. He says he has his sights focused on the World Indoor, “because that’s the only team I haven’t made.”

For ’22 world 100 champ Kerley, his 6.57 heat before the final appeared to be his first-ever indoor 60, preceded only by a sluggish outdoor race in the weird pandemic summer of ‘20.

In the 1500, Jake Wightman returned to the track for the first time in 13 months, but the ’22 world champion had to contend with 20-year-old Hobbs Kessler. After being rabbited through the first 1000 in 2:23.90, Kessler ran behind Vince Ciattei, with Wightman a stride behind. Then, just after 1100, Kessler caught the field off guard by launching his kick early. He never looked back and only Wightman could give him a good chase. However, Kessler built up a 6-meter margin at the bell and though Wightman ran a faster final lap (26.36–26.87), the youngster prevailed in 3:33.66, missing Yared Nuguse’s U.S. Record by just 0.44 in becoming the No. 3 American of all time.

Said Kessler, who was just 10th in the New Balance mile a year ago, “It feels good to go from last to come back and win.”

“Not the best outcome for me,” admitted Wightman, who finished in 3:34.06, “but you’ve gotta start somewhere. It’s been a long time, so I’m just glad I’m in one piece and running alright. Training you don’t have to make these race decisions and you’re in control of the reps. In that race I was never in control. I never got to the point that I was. I was hoping with a lap to go I could’ve been, but Hobbs held me off,…

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