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Ramsden And May Secured Kiwi One-two In NCAA 1500m Final

Maia Ramsden signed off her NCAA career with Harvard University in style by mounting a successful defence of her NCAA 1500m title in Eugene, Oregon today to lead home a stunning New Zealand one-two from Kimberley May.

Ramsden, who placed tenth in the 1500m final at the 2024 World Athletics Indoor Championships in March, produced a dominant display to stop the clock in 4:06.62 to further underline her huge potential.

Aucklander May, a Providence College student, who has enjoyed a huge breakthrough season unleashed a ferocious kick over the last lap to advance from seventh to silver, posted 4:08.07 – just 1.07 seconds shy of her PB set in Lexington two weeks earlier. Oregon State University student Klaudia Kazimierska took bronze in 4:08.22.

Ramsden, who also won NCAA mile gold earlier this year and who last month in Los Angeles set a PB of 4:02.58 – within 0.08 of the Olympic entry standard time - was content to sit second behind Lindsey Butler for the first half of the race before making her move on the penultimate lap to hit the bell almost a full second clear of her nearest rival.

The 22-year-old Harvard University student, who spent a period of her childhood based in Wellington, then accelerated further clear of the field to romp to an impressive win and clinch a second successive NCAA 1500m crown.

May, who in March collected the NCAA Indoor mile bronze medal behind Ramsden, was in mid-pack for much of the race before revealing impressive final lap speed to take a brilliant silver medal.

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On an interview with FloTrack Ramsden said of the race: “I came here feeling I had nothing to prove but that was the same as last year. I think this year I had more concrete expectations for what I was capable of. Last year I knew NCAA Champs would be the last race of my season, and I was ready to be done but this year was about finding more patience because I am hoping to be racing until the end of August. I had a great time (today). My family is here, and my little sister is here watching me race for the first time since I was 16, so it’s been cool.”

Of the race she added: “The best case scenario would have been for it to have gone out quick - you feel smoother and the gear changes happen more naturally. But after the first lap I thought I’m going to have to go to plan B. I had to practising trusting myself and not worry too much what was going on behind me.”

Ramsden will now look to target a place in the New Zealand team for the Paris Olympic Games with her next planned competition the Harry Jerome Classic in Vancouver, Canada on Sunday 16 June (NZT).

An ecstatic May was delighted a change in race tactics reaped rewards and speaking to FloTrack she said: “We decided to do something new. I’ve been doing a lot of leading, and it hasn’t been working, so today we wanted to have a bit more in the tank so I could finish strongly over the last 400m.

“It felt really good on that last lap, it was a bit chaotic, I got spiked but I was patient. With 300m to go I got a bit lucky on the inside and with 200m to go I felt good so I just coming down that home straight as fast as I could.”

On New Zealand finishing one-two she said “it was really cool.”

The performance in Eugene, Oregon adds further sheen on what has already been a vintage year of New Zealand middle-distance running. At the World Indoor Championships in March George Beamish claimed a stunning gold medal in the men’s 1500m final and last month James Preston lowered the 62-year-old national record of Sir Peter Snell in the men’s 800m, running 1:44.04 in Pfungstadt, Germany.

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