By Mike Smith
This week marks a turning point in the indoor track season a bit for me, as we have the Relay Carnival (I’m naming it that and am putting in a plug to simply make this an all division meet) as we really begin to scope down looking at developing a plan and determining a roster for the State Championships.
For us at Mascenic, we put together our best 4×800 meter team to ensure we have run a good enough time to get into the Division 2 meet. Sitting in second prior to this meet, it seemed we should get in, but with 40 plus teams potentially putting it together for this meet, we entered our squad to make sure we found a spot in the top 9.
And I guess we did, running 11:03 to accidentally end up as the top seed going into February 12th. Not sure exactly sure what we’re going to do with it, but I suppose considering I wanted to ensure we’re in, the #1 slot does just that.
But this isn’t to talk about what my team did, or not directly, it’s about everything else that happened this weekend in track. American records were broken. Collegiate records were broken. Collegiate leads were run. World leads were run.
Let’s start out with Yared Nuguse of On Athletics going out and smashing the American Record on Friday night in the 3000. Run on Boston University’s notoriously fast track, Nuguse, who only a year ago set the collegiate record at this meet, pushed the record to 7:28.24, taking down Galen Rupp’s indoor record (set here) and Grant Fisher’s outdoor record in the process.
Sam Atkin of Great Britain also broke the national record held by Mo Farah, running 7:31.97. Also fitting is that behind them, Drew Bosley of NAU broke Nguse’s collegiate record by almost two seconds by running 7:36.42. While not a record, 19 year old Hobbs Kessler ran 7:39.00. Now that’s some fast racing.
Two hours later in the 5000, Woody Kincaid blitzed a 26.27 second final 200 to run down On Athletics Joe Klecker to run 12:51.61 to Klecker’s 12:54.99 to both go under the 13 minute mark, Klecker for the first time. Kincaid’s run was good enough to go under Grant Fisher’s American record by almost two seconds and puts him #4 on the all time indoor list behind Kenenisa Bekele, Haile Gebrselassie and Daniel Komen. That’s some pretty elite company. Klecker, after taking over from the pacers with about a mile to go, kept ratcheting up the pace, so much so he wasn’t sure that even though he only needed a 37 second last lap that he was going to make it to the finish line. That’s going all in.
In this race, the Dutch and German indoor national records also went down, with Mike Foppen and Sam Parsons running 13:11.60 and 13:12.78.
And while this is how it went for the pros and collegians, we had some of our home grown athletes put up some good numbers. Phillip Exeter’s Byron Grevious and Coe-Brown’s Aidan Cox were in the 3000 as well, running 8:15.10 and 8:16.65, which is said to the the #2 and #3 times for high schoolers across the country. Both were back on Saturday as well to anchor their respective Distance Medley Relays, running a 4:11 and a 4:12 split on the anchor leg. That leaves Phillips Exeter with the #1 DMR time in the country with a 10:05.35. Coe-Brown is now #3 in the country running 10:12.89. Those are some smoking fast times.
In the mile, Luis Grijalva would win, running 3:53.53, dragging fourteen others below the 4 minute mark. This is also the new Guatemalan National record.
Speaking of the mile, across the country at the UW Invitational in Washington, eight Washington Huskies went under the 4 minute mile barrier all in the same race. Led by Joe Waskom in 3:51.90, after being paced by pros Johnny Gregorek and Sam Prakel to set the facility record. Must have been pretty cool to do that with all your teammates on your home track.
Sticking with the mile theme, at the Dr. Sander Invitational at the Armory in NYC, Katelyn Tuohy broke the collegiate record, running 4:24.26, in a race she came in third behind pros Alicia Monson and Whittni Morgan. XC national champion and collegiate mile record holder. Not a bad way to finish off and start the year.
Also at the Dr. Sander Invitational was a showdown between Sage Hurta Klecker and Ajee’ Wilson in an attempt to break the American record in the 1000. Wilson would prevail, 2:35.97 to 2:36.37, meaning Jen Toomey’s 2:34.19 remains the record. But what’s probably more incredible is Wilson’s undefeated streak at the Armory which now spans ten years. The Amory is Ajee’s house.
I haven’t included a 17 year old running 7:40 for 3000 in Karlsruhe, or some other fantastic action across the many college ranks, or the Lilac Grand Prix results coming out of Spokane. Or the rest of the HS action both across the state and also down in Boston on Friday and Saturday. There’s simply too much action going on right now to know what to make of things.
But what I do know is that in less than two weeks, the best of the best in NH track will be up in Hanover, at the Leverone Field House, to see what they’ve got. Whether it’s streaking down the runway prepping to jump, warming up in the outside lanes before a race, practicing lead leg/trail leg over the hurdles, getting the requisite number of warm up throws in, or simply “getting into the zone”, it will be good to see the best in New Hampshire, taking to the contest arena after a three year hiatus.
And I’m glad I’ll have a front row seat.
Mike Smith will be commentating for the Division 1 and Division 2 championships on the NHTF YouTube livestream.