Gabby Thomas won her homecoming.
Thomas, who graduated from Harvard last spring, captured the women’s 300 meters in 36.52 seconds Saturday at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury.
Thomas studied neurobiology for four years, but only ran for three as she signed a pro deal with New Balance and gave up her final year of eligibility. That move had been cemented when she won the 200 meters at the 2018 Division 1 Indoor Championships in an NCAA-record 22.38 seconds.
“It was really great to compete at home, here in Boston,” she said. “A lot of people come out to see me and it means a lot. Especially this being my first year out of college and having that energy around me, it’s really an amazing feeling. I’m happy to be back. I’m happy to be home.”
The meet kicked off the 2020 World Athletics indoor tour, which will segue into the road to the Tokyo Olympics in July.
Earlier in the day, Sydney McLaughlin withdrew from the women’s 500, the race that was originally going to serve as the meet’s finale.
In a statement, McLaughlin was said to be “a little tight from traveling” and was asked by her coach not to compete.
“She’s got an exciting season ahead and her health is our first priority, so we want to make sure she takes care of herself,” said coach Joanna Hayes.
The schedule was subsequently shuffled, with the men’s 600 meters — highlighted by reigning outdoor world champion Donavan Brazier — closing the meet.
Brazier did not disappoint, exploding in the final 200 meters to cross by himself in 1:14.39. He, too, felt right at home.
“It feels great. This is my tradition, so far while being a professional,” he said. “I’ve run at Boston Reggie Lewis four years straight now and I’ve come out with four wins in a row — so might as well just keep coming back.”
Elle Purrier — who grew up in Vermont, starred at UNH, and now lives in Boston — was impressive in winning the 2-mile in a personal-best 9:29.17, pulling away from Dominique Scott and eight-time US champ Emma Coburn in the process.
“It’s amazing [competing in Boston],” she said. “It’s just so cool to see such a big crowd from my college and just my friends from home, it makes it a lot more special.”
In the women’s 1,500, Jessica Hull outkicked Konstanze Klosterhalfen, winning in 4:04.14. Although Australian, Hull was a four-time NCAA champ at Oregon, including the outdoor 1,500 and the indoor 3,000.
“I was just trying to be strong through the finish line,” Hull said. “Last season that was exposed as my weakness, so I just had an opportunity today to practice that and I was pretty excited that I had been patient enough to wait.”
Nia Ali, the reigning world champ, won the 60-meter hurdles in 7.94.
“I’m so excited to be back running and I’ve never opened my season that fast, so I’m excited,” she said.
“It means a lot to start off the season here [in Boston]. My family is able to get down and see me and I appreciate that. Especially being from the East Coast, I love being back here, no matter what the weather is. I know the crowd is always good to me, so I love it.”
Chris O’Hare (3:59.62) edged Nick Willis at the tape in the mile — but he needed a little help.
“The first race of the season is always somewhat of a mystery, never feels good,” he said. “So when we were coming through in a 60-second pace, I was thinking, ‘I don’t feel good at all.’
“So, at that point, it’s just about remembering my two sons, remembering why I’m doing this. You know, they’re always my motivation, but it’s times when it gets tough that they always motivate me in the race to go to that extra gear.”
Other men’s winners included Pablo Torrijos (triple jump, 54-11½), Bethwell Birgen (3,000, 7:44.21), Demek Kemp (60, personal-best 6.50), Bryce Hoppel (1,000, personal-best 2:17.41), and Obi Igbokwe (400, 46.50).
Amina Smith took the women’s high jump, the meet’s opening event. She cleared 6 feet 2¼ inches, as did Priscilla Frederick, but took the title on misses.
Among the other women’s winners was Newton South senior Lucy Jenks (junior girls’ mile, 4:47.83).
At Reggie Lewis Center
Masters 1 Mile
1. Mark O’Shea, 4:34.31; 2. Sandu Rebenciuc, 4:35.42; 3. Mick Hill, 4:35.75.
Tommy Leonard Memorial 1 Mile
1. Chris O’Hare, 3:59.62; 2. Nick Willis, 3:59.89; 3. James Randon, 4:01.32.
1. Demek Kemp, 6.50; 2. Keitavious Walter, 6.61; 3. Zhouzheng Xu, 6.68.
1. Obi Igbokwe, 46.50; 2. Vernon Norwood, 47.48; 3. Kahmari Montgomery, 47.72.
1. Donavan Brazier, 1:14.39; 2. Michael Stigler, 1:20.21; 3. Robert Grant, 1:20.36.
1. Bryce Hoppel, 2:17.41’ 2. Jake Wightman, 2:17.51; 3. Saul Ordonez, 2:18.81.
1. Bethwell Brigen, 7:44.21; 2. Edward Cheserek, 7:46.74; 3. Jonas Raess, 7:52.20.
1. Pablo Torrijos, 16.75; 2. Chris Carter, 16.56; 3. Troy Doris, 16.07.
Masters 1 Mile
1. Sascha Scott, 4:56.67; 2. Karolyn Bowley, 5:08.51; 3. Ann Restak, 5:27.59.
1. Elle Purrier, 9:29.17; 2. Dominique Scott, 9:31.98; 3. Emma Coburn, 9:32.81.
1. Nia Ali, 7.94; 2. Christina Clemons, 7.98; 3. Janeek Brown, 8.00.
1. Gabby Thomas, 36.52; 2. Shamier Little, 37.07; 3. Kendall Ellis, 37.36.
1. Lisanne De Witte, 1:10.50; 2. Jordan Lavender, 1:12.53; 3. Brooke Feldmeier, 1:13.07.
1. Jessica Hull, 4:04.14; 2. Konstanze Klosterhalfen, 4:04.38; 3. Ciara Mageean, 4:06.42.
1. Amina Smith, 1.89; 2. Priscilla Frederick, 1.89; 3. Liz Patterson, 1.85.
Boys’ Sprint Medley
1. Lexington, 3:33.33; 2. La Salle Academy, 3:33.74; 3. Newton North, 3:35.57.
Girls’ Sprint Medley
1. Bishop Louglin, 4:05.20; 2. Tewksbury, 4:13.76; 3. Norton, 4:16.31.
JUNIOR BOYS (1 Mile)
1. Cruz Culpepper, 4:11.44; 2. William Coogan, 4:14.93; 3. Gavin Sherry, 4:16.99.
JUNIOR GIRLS (1 Mile)
1. Lucy Jenks, 4:47.83; 2. Taryn Parks, 4:49.80; 3. Ella Kurto, 4:52.31.