Lena Nilsson to Run in Saturday's Prefontaine Classic

May 21, 2003

UCLA junior Lena Nilsson will compete in the women's 1500m on Saturday (May 24) at the 29th annual Prefontaine Classic at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, OR. The IAAF Grand Prix I meet, the second event on USA Track & Field's 2003 Outdoor Spike Tour, will be televised on NBC from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. PT on Sunday, May 25.

Nilsson (Vallentuna, Sweden), who last weekend at USC became the first women's athlete in Pac-10 history to repeat as the conference champion in both the 800m and 1500m, has a season-best time in the 1500m of 4:13.21 (May 18, winning the Pac-10 title), No. 9 on the current World list. At the Pac-10 meet, Nilsson helped lead the Bruin women to their seventh consecutive conference team crown.

Nilsson will be racing against a veteran World and USA experienced 1500m field (the event begins at 1:07 p.m. PT). Australia's Suzy Walsham is currently No. 5 (4:12.10) in the World in the 1500m and Jamaica's Mardrea Hyman is No. 11 (4:13.68). Representing the USA will be - three-time Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton, who was ranked No. 4 in the World last year and No. 1 in the U. S. (her 4:25.27 mile time last season was the fastest in the World); Sarah Schwald, who placed third (4:11.40) at the 2002 USA Outdoor meet and Collette Liss, seventh (15:37.87) at last season's USA Outdoor in the 5000m.

In her Bruin career, Nilsson is a three-time NCAA Champion (2003 - Indoor 800m/ 2002 - Outdoor 1500m, Indoor distance medley relay) and holds the school records in both the 800m (2:02.26) and 1500m (4:09.89). Nilsson is coached by Eric Peterson, UCLA's women and men's distance coach.

Other Bruins competing at the Prefontaine Classic are UCLA greats Gail Devers in the women's 100m hurdles, Amy Acuff in the women's high jump and John Godina in the men's shot put.

Now in its fifth year, the Golden Spike Tour provides America's top athletes the opportunity to compete in the U. S. in front of a nationally televised audience.

Following the Prefontaine Classic, Nilsson and her Bruin teammates will compete at Stanford on May 30-31 at the NCAA West Regional Meet.

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