Athletes boost team concept at TrackTown Summer Series

Oregon recruit Cooper Teare, of Alameda, Calif., heads to the finish line ahead of Luis Grijalva, of Fairfield, Calif., in the Boys’ elite mile at the TrackTown Summer Series meet at Stanford’s Cobb Track & Angell Field on Thursday. Teare held on for the victory – 4:01.92 to 4:02.64. (TrackTown USA/Josh Phillips)

STANFORD, Calif. – An estimated 2,000 fans filled Cobb Track and Angell Field at Stanford University on Thursday night to watch and experience the first of three meets in the expanded TrackTown Summer Series.

Four coed teams made up the competition – the San Francisco Surge, New York Empire, Portland Pulse and Philadelphia Force. The Surge lived up to its nickname, coming out on top by overtaking Portland in the final event to finish with 90 points. The Pulse placed second with 86, followed by the Empire with 84 and the Force at 69.

Coming less than a week after the 2017 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Sacramento, many of the athletes were eager for redemption.

Such was the case for Olympian Queen Harrison, who was looking to rebound from what she called a “devastating” performance last week and “refocus” at the Summer Series.

Queen Harrison, of the New York City Empire, glides over the hurdles in a winning time of 12.73 seconds at the 2017 debut of the TrackTown Summer Series at Stanford’s Cobb Track and Angell Field on Thursday night. (TrackTown USA photo by Josh Phillips)

Harrison did just that, winning the 100-meter hurdles in 12.73 seconds, two-tenths faster than she ran at USAs.

“I know I’m fit and one of the best in the world, but mentally I got a little clouded,” Harrison said about her performance in Sacramento. “So, I was glad to come out here and run faster than I did at USAs and prepare for the rest of my season.”

Hannah Fields won the 1,500 meters in 4:05.30 to clinch the team title for the home team. Like Harrison, Fields was unhappy with her performance at USAs, but she roared back to win this race with a personal best by six seconds.

Hannah Fields clocked a 6-second personal best with a winning time of 4:05.30 in the 1,500 meters to enable the San Francisco Surge to clinch the team title at the TrackTown Summer Series on Thursday. (TrackTown USA photo by Josh Phillips)

“I went into this race with a chip on my shoulder, a little bit,” Fields said. “I wanted to prove it to myself that that wasn’t a reflection of my fitness, so it was nice for it to pay off.”

Rio Olympic silver medalist Paul Chelimo said the U.S. outdoor championships left him a bit fatigued, but that he wasn’t going to let that stop him from getting the win for his team, the Portland Pulse.

Chelimo was a first-round pick in the TrackTown Summer Series athlete draft last May. He came through for his team and Portland’s general manager, Bernard Lagat, by winning the 3,000 meters in 7 minutes, 48.58 seconds.

Rio Olympic silver medalist Paul Chelimo, of the Portland Pulse, used a blistering final lap to pull away for the win in the 3,000 meters at the TrackTown Summer Series on Thursday. (TrackTown USA photo by Josh Phillips)

For Chelimo, the TTSS meet was not only about getting the win for his team, but also for promoting domestic racing.

“A big part of me doing the TrackTown Summer Series is that I really want to promote track and field in the United States,” Chelimo said. “I had to choose between the Paris Diamond League and the Summer Series … It’s really good to promote sports locally. In the future, I see the TrackTown Summer Series being a big event.”

For many of the athletes, it’s the team aspect of the Summer Series that is most alluring.

“It feels more like college,” Chelimo said. “Where you can cheer on your teammates in every single event. I love that. That’s one thing I miss about college athletics.”

Harrison shared similar sentiments.

“This whole team concept is the coolest part,” she said. “Before we started, I’m yelling “Team New York” and my teammate and I slapped hands at the line. So I think there’s something really cool about it being a team atmosphere that takes some of the pressure just off of Queen Harrison and puts it all throughout the whole New York Empire.”

Other standout performances from the TrackTown Summer Series at Stanford:

  • Aaron Mallett came away with a personal best 13.37 to win the 110-meter hurdles for the New York Empire.
  • Quanesha Burks beat out Olympic medalist Brittney Reese to win the long jump for San Francisco at 22 feet, 2 1/4 inches.
  • The Portland Pulse took away the victory in the hammer throw with a combined mark of 472-1 (143.88m) from Gwen Berry and Colin Dunbar-Hatton.

Up next, the TrackTown Summer Series heads to Portland with the second meet at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham on July 2 at 1 p.m.

For complete results and to watch the Live Stream visit SanFrancisco.TrackTownSummerSeries.com.