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New Balance Grand Prix track meet comes to town Saturday

Sydney McLaughlin is seen competing for the US in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2016 Olympics.
Sydney McLaughlin is seen competing for the US in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2016 Olympics.(Associated Press/File)

Some of the up-and-coming names in track and field are set to gather Saturday for the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix meet at the Reggie Lewis Center.

Scheduled to headline the field is Sydney McLaughlin, who reached the semifinals of the 400-meter hurdles in Rio de Janeiro as a high school junior, the youngest US track and field Olympian in 36 years.

Now 19, the New Jersey native won the NCAA title in May while at Kentucky, breaking her own world under-20 record with a time of 52.75 seconds. She decided to forgo her remaining NCAA eligibility last fall and join Team New Balance.

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This is the second Grand Prix for McLaughlin, who was part of the relay team that broke the world indoor record in the distance medley in 2017. Her three teammates — Jenny Simpson, Emma Coburn, and Brenda Martinez — are also set to compete Saturday.

Simpson took home bronze in the 1,500 meters at the 2016 Olympics and recently secured a record seventh title in the 5th Avenue Mile in New York.

Fellow 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Coburn is the reigning 3,000-meter steeplechase world champion, but will compete in the mile at the Grand Prix. Martinez was the silver medalist in the 800-meter dash at the 2013 World Championships.

Harvard star Gabby Thomas is set to make her Team New Balance debut. The Florence, Mass., native inked her pro contract in October after breaking the NCAA indoor record with a 22.38-second finish in the 200-meter dash. She holds numerous indoor and outdoor records for the Crimson, helped the program win the 2018 NCAA indoor championship, and placed sixth at the Diamond League final in Belgium over the summer.

Several decorated runners highlight the men’s side of the event, with the 800 meters one of the most competitive races. Defending champion Donavan Brazier, the American U20 record-holder and 2018 US indoor champion, headlines the field.

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“I’m excited to come back to Boston,” said Brazier. “I had a great race there last year, so it seems like the perfect place for my first 800 meters of the year.”

Spaniard Saul Ordonez, a medalist in the event at last year’s World Indoor Championships, is expected to push Brazier, with 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy and 2016 World Indoor Championships gold medalist Boris Berian posing additional threats.

The men’s 3,000-meter race should be close, as three of last year’s top four finishers return. Edward Cheserek, the defending champion and owner of the second-fastest indoor mile in history, is the likely favorite, with 2016 Olympic 5,000-meter bronze medalist Hagos Gebrhiwet and reigning 3,000-meter European Indoor champion Adel Mechaal expected to push for gold.

The 24th iteration of the Grand Prix is the only US event on the six-stop IAAF World Indoor Tour, which also features meets in Germany, Poland, Spain, and Great Britain. Tour winners earn $20,000 and a spot in next year’s World Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China.

The meet at a glance

■   What: 24th New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, the first of six stops on the IAAF World Indoor Tour.

■   When: Saturday, 3:45 p.m.

■   Where: Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, Roxbury Community College.

■   Tickets: General admission tickets are $22 each and provide open seating on Turns 1 and 2. Gold tickets are for $44 for adults and $34 for children and provide assigned seating along the two straightaways. Platinum tickets are available on a limited basis for $66 for adults and $56 for children and provide seats directly above the finish line. Tickets can be bought at nbindoorgrandprix.com or by calling 1-877-849-8722.

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