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Matthew Centrowitz takes on defending champ Dejen Gebremeskel at New Balance Indoor Grand Prix

Published by
RunnerSpace.com/Pro   on Jan 19 2012, 10:28 PM

Battle of the Bronze: Centrowitz takes on defending champ Gebremeskel

One of the more intriguing matchups at this year's New Balance Indoor Grand Prix will be between two young rising stars, Matthew Centrowitz of the USA and Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia in the Men's Two Mile. Gebremeskel won the 3000m last year in a thrilling sprint finish over World Champion Mo Farah. Centrowitz won the NCAA 1500m title last spring, and both he and Gebremeskel came home with bronze medals from the World Championships in Daegu. Here's a side-by-side comparison:

Matthew Centrowitz (USA)
Age: 22
2011 World Champ. bronze, 1500m
Ranked #8 in the world, 1500m
1500m Best: 3:34.46
Dejen Gebremeskel (ETH)
Age: 22
2011 World Champ. bronze, 5000m
Ranked #6 in the world, 5000m
5000m Best: 12:53.56

The prospect of 1500m and 5000m specialists meeting in an event that's middle ground is always an exciting clash of speed and stamina, and newly minted medalists Centrowitz and Gebremeskel are sure to make the Men's Two Mile one of the most heavily anticipated events of this year's New Balance Indoor Grand Prix.

Ethiopians a reliable force on and off the track at the Reggie Lewis Center
Some of the Ethiopia's greatest stars have graced the blue track at the Reggie Lewis Center, including Olympic Champions Haile Gebrselassie, Kenenisa Bekele, Meseret Defar and Tirunesh Dibaba. But the top competition only forms one half of what makes the Reggie Lewis Center such a special place for Ethiopia's superstars, who travel halfway around the world to line up in Boston each year. The other half of the equation is the boisterous and infectious support they receive from whole sections of Ethiopian supporters each year. We spoke with Mesele Kifle, who has been involved with the Ethiopian community in Boston for decades, for his insight:

NBIGP: What is it about the Ethiopian community in particular that gets supportive crowds coming year after year?
Kifle: There are many Ethiopians living far away from where they grew up or where their parents grew up, and it helps to connect the people here with their homeland to see their countrymen winning here and raising the flag.
NBIGP: If you had to pick just one highlight from the many editions of the meet, is there one that sticks out in your mind and particularly resonate with the community?
Kifle: Last year's with Dejen was the best. Tirunesh and Meseret always do really, really good, they're always winning by some distance. But this person comes and wins with just one shoe and to win a race that's really, really close, that was the biggest excitement.
NBIGP: So when he (Gebremeskel) toes the line this year to face Matthew Centrowitz, a rising American star, will he get the loudest support of all?
Kifle: Oh yes, because even people who did not come last year have heard about what he did and even if they do not know his name, the ones from last year will tell the new one, “this is the guy!”

World Champion Jenny Simpson on the T
If you find yourself waiting for the T these next few weeks,  you might be greeted by IAAF World Champion Jenny Simpson, who has lent her voice to the audio announcements that play in the T stations across the Greater Boston area, reminding riders that the Reggie Lewis Center is located directly across from the Roxbury Crossing Orange Line Station, making the T one of the best ways to get to the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. Check out the announcement here:http://on.fb.me/zxeZuY

Fast Friends
As has been the case for 17 years now, many of the world's best track and field athletes are coming to Boston for the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. But unlike in the early days of the event, being a fan isn't limited to just showing up and cheering on your favorite athletes at the meet. Check out the official Facebook fan pages and Twitter handles of some of the stars coming to Boston next month:

World Champion Jenny Simpson (USA)
World and European Champion Mo Farah (GBR)
American Record Holder Jenn Suhr (USA)
World #1 1500m runner Morgan Uceny (USA)
World Championship bronze medalist Matthew Centrowitz (USA)
World Championship bronze medalist Dejen Gebremeskel (ETH)
Olympic bronze medalist David Oliver (USA)

New York vs. Mass. High School Boys' 4x800m Relay Teams Announced
In a new event, the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix will be featuring several top New York and Massachusetts area high school teams clashing in two relays, the Girls' 4x400m and Boys' 4x800m Relays. The fields for the Boys' 4x800m is listed below:

Boys' 4x800m Relay
Lowell (Lowell, MA)
Pembroke (Pembroke, MA)
St. John (Shrewsbury, MA)
Acton (Boxboro, MA)
Fordham Prep (Bronx, NY)
Kellenberg (Uniondale, NY)
Monsignor Farrell (Staten Island, NY)
St. Anthony's (South Huntington, NY)
St. John the Baptist (West Islip, NY)
Xavier (New York, NY)

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