Brooks PR Races 2013
The first final of the day was the Girls’ Two Mile, which would serve to kick-start the fan’s expectations for the day. This field was as loaded as any in the meet but with Erin Finn in the race every knowledgeable fan knew that the race would go out quickly. There was a brief moment, where Washington stalwarts Katie Knight of North Central (Spokane) & Alexa Efraimson of Camas ran shoulder at the front but Finn assumed her anticipated leadership role shortly thereafter. Yes it can be said, that Erin was briefly in fourth behind Julie McConville of Massachusetts, but Finn would lead the rest of the way. When she it made her move to the head of the race, it was a usual occurrence for any distance race she enters. Erin always favors the bold, as she set up the national XC race at Foot Locker in 2010 & 2011 (and had cruel fate not intervened last December, when she was ill the day of the qualifier, she probably would have led the way last fall. Even in this year’s US Junior meet against collegians, it was Finn, who began the move to separate from the pack. The thing about this race was that, although everyone expected an early push, no one expected such a fast pace. She rolled through the 400M in a high 73 seconds and essentially never looked back. The pace was so brisk that no one really made an effort to cover it. Alexa Efraimson & Wesley Frazier of North Carolina did step it up, which allowed them to gap the pack, but they lost ground to Finn. Frazier later put it bluntly that she expected a fast pace – just not that fast!
Finn blew by the 800M in 2:26 with Efraimson in second followed by Frazier & McConville. Katie Knight, an internationalist who represented the US in Scotland last year (Finn was with her) & will join Erin in representing the US in Poland at World’s along with Finn again) took over fifth soon after. Prior to reaching the 1200M Frazier decided to give herself as much of a chance as possible to win, should Finn falter, & cantered into second place, where she would remain in a bit of a no-man’s land the rest of the race. A 3:41 split was followed by a 4:58. Yes she had slowed from 75 to 77 but she was gaining ground on everyone and was still remarkably below ten minute pace.
Had anyone been thinking of a late challenge Erin would not relent and a late bid was obviously can to take some doing. Frazier was relentless in pursuit, as she widened her gap over any would be challenger, but Erin’s fluid stride belied the fact that she was within herself no matter what the clock seemed to say. The real race, and it was hard to tell at that time, was for third where McConville ran alone in third, while now ahead of Knight, who had eased into fourth. Efraimson labored at the time probably due to the early pace and seemed to be inexorably falling off the necessary pass for fourth.
With Finn seemingly sauntering to victory in an impressive 10:08 the crowd then turned towards second but I should mention that the victory time knocked five seconds off the record set by 2012 Foot Locker champion Molly Seidel and in so-doing had run a race to revive the memory of long ago Washington hero Gerry Lindgren. It was almost unfair for Frazier to come home in 10:14: a time which would have challenged Seidel but on this day was a distant second. And let us remember that Wesley had raced virtually alone herself.
As brilliant as the first two runners were there was a rather inspirational race for third. Julie McConville had held third for the better part of the contest yet Katie Knight was beginning to press her late. Alexa Efraimson had struggled earlier to stay with Knight but for a time was unable to stay with her. After yielding ground she finally told herself that she had to make a move to remain with Katie. It’s a lesson for all runners & especially for the young, as most distance races have an almost inevitable ebb & flow. The key is to give yourself a chance by remaining in contact during the “ebb” so that you have a chance to turn it around during the “flow” portion. Somehow Alexa summoned something from within and over the final two laps began her late charge. Knight, who is a very formidable runner, had swept past McConville, yet was losing ground to Efraimson, who was pouring it on down the stretch. She had been so far back it was almost inconceivable that she could overhaul Knight, who was rolling but she not only caught her she flew past to record a third place time of 10:15. She somehow was less than a second behind Frazier, while Knight finished fourth in a very fine 10:17. Those, who wonder why we oppose the rankings, while I extol the runners of the Northwest, ought to take note for that any state would be more than proud to say they came from their homeland.
Julie McConville seemingly deserved better than her fifth place finish, yet her time was an impressive 10:18. Madi McClellan of Texas followed in sixth with10:22 with Kennedy Jensen coming home a second later. Coloradan Jordyn Colter garnered 8th ahead of Minnesotan Maria Hauger and Emma Abrahamson of Colorado rounded out the top ten. Ryan Frazier, also from North Carolina, & Chandler Olson, who had been in the mix early, placed twelfth. Chandler is another Washingtonian.
They were only one final into the race and there already a record had fallen. The young men’s two mile also had a stellar field, so the thought was enticing. Better yet, if the guys did take a record down fans would see a sub-nine minute mile at this early point in the season. It was a large field, which was poised at the start & surprisingly Jacob Thomson of Louisville was standing in the second row. That said it was another of the Jakes, who settled into the lead & in this case it was North Dakotan Jake Leingang. Zach Perrin of Montana quickly moved into second, while Thomson established himself in third. Well back in the large early pack were both Andrew Gardner of Washington & Bernie Montoya of Arizona.
The contestants had already broken into two packs by the time that Leingang went by the 400M in 68 seconds and the 800M went in a slowing 2:18, where it was announced that Bakri Abushouk of North Carolina had assumed second. Thomson was definitely in third and Montana runners Zack Perrin & Troy Fraley held the next two places. Everyone seemed more than content to let Leingang do the work and the two-time Foot Locker champion, who was looking to improve on last year’s second place finish and dutifully accepted the load. He remained ensconced at the head with 3:30 but Perrin had moved into second just ahead of Thomson. Kai Wilmot of North Central (Spokane) held fourth, while Montoya slowly began to thread his way towards the front.
The first mile went in 4:38 with Leingang holding court over Perrin & Thomson plus Aaron Templeton of Tennessee in fourth. The pace, of course, had improved to 68 but that was hardly enough to scare off most of the field. Yet another 68 led to little change save for the fact that Montoya was now positioning himself to strike. It was still a waiting game as another lap went in 67 for a 6:53 total but the Arizona appeared to be ready to strike. With his noted closing speed it had to be a bit unnerving especially, when he moved past Thomson.
Bernie passed the leader and appeared to be a facile winner as he sped towards home but Thomson regrouped to move into second. With three-quarters of a lap to go Thomson, who was coming off an impressive mile & 800M last weekend in Lexington, Kentucky barreled past Montoya intent on victory. It almost appeared that the Arizonan had been caught off guard for he yielded ground initially before launching his own counterattack. Thomson led around the final turn with Montoya gaining As he rounded the final turn coming into the straight, the strain could be seen on his face but Thomson kept a fairly smooth form. Montoya, however, had even a better form as he seemed to glide to a slight lead. The ensuing portion of the race saw a dazzlingly stretch run on the part of both runners and their final marks gave witness to the depth of their efforts and the end result showed a narrow margin of victory for Montoya in a record time of 8:54.63. Thomson crossed the line just off his shoulder in 8:54.88. The valiant Leingang also dipped under the former record with his 8:56.86. What can one say, when a runner places third with a time like that, but obviously gave all that he had that day.
Andrew Gardner of the storied Mead program in Spokane is one for whom the longer the distance the better he will be, yet he was a solid fourth with 9:06, which gave him a second to spare over Zack Perrin. Blake Haney of California (9:08) edged Aaron Templeton, who shared the time with his seventh place finish & Bakri Abushouk followed in eighth. Ninth went to Joe Sansone of Texas in 9:09. Taylor (Kai) Wilmot claimed tenth with 9:09 and Estevan De La Rosa, like Wilmot only a junior, took eleventh in 9:15. Troy Fraley rounded out the top dozen.
The girls’ 800 Meter run saw Hannah Meier become a two-time Brooks’ champion, as she added the shorter race to her victory in the Mile last year. She did it in a way that left little doubt for she took the lead at the start and raced away from any potential threat. Her first quarter was an almost stunning 60 flat and her final winning mark of 2:07.45 was a full second under the record of Shelby Houlihan. Katie Willard of Texas got up for second with 2:09.89 & Therese Haiss of Ohio secured third with 2:10. Reagan Anderson of Delaware also ran 2:10, while Ersula Farrow of Michigan claimed fifth with 2:11 to nip Courtney Clayton of Illinois. Californian Nikki Hiltz, who lost her senior cross country season due to injury, returned to action placing ninth.
For a few weeks it had been known that Tyler Smith of Calgary, Alberta, Canada was dealing with some physical issues, so it had come as somewhat of a surprise, when he scored at the Simplot Games 800M for the third successive year. The day before the race Tyler confirmed that among other things he was hampered by a hip-flexor. With that type of issue the caveat is not quick accelerations but even with that he would face a solid field including the 2013 American leader Tre-tez Kinnaird, who has run 1:51. As anticipated Smith took the lead, as he had the previous year. Not looking like one with any physical problems he sped through the 400M in 55 seconds. Kinnaird was in close pursuit, while Andres Arroyo of Florida held third. There was certainly no let up in the pace during the second 400M & in fact as the last lap began Arroyo moved up quickly as if he could assume the lead. It did not happen as both Smith and Kinnaird moved out a bit almost as in tandem. Once again on the final turn Arroyo accelerated but was countered for the second time by the duo, who increased the tempo of their strides. Arroyo finally gave way as Tre moved to another gear, yet somehow Smith responded to hold him off at the tape. The final time was a new record of 1:50.88. Kinnard was a close second with an American best for the year of 1:50.97. Arroyo earned a hard-fought third with 1:51.10 to edge Jacob Dumford of Ohio, who ran 1:51.41. Incidentally Dumford hails from Westerville, where American legend Bob Kennedy was a prep runner. Amos Bartelsmeyer of Missouri, who had held second place for a time in the early going finished fifth with 1:52.28. It was another stacked field, so even the sixth place finish of Donnie Lee Jr. of Alabama (1:52.93) is something in which to take pride.
The girls’ mile has been one of the most celebrated events of the meet the past few years and there was more than a fair amount of anticipation this year in spite of the fact that Hannah Meier, the defending champion & meet record-holder in the event with 4:43, chose to contest the 800 Meters. It was not long after the crack of the gun that Amy-Eloise Neale, who runs for Glacier Peak HS in Washington, made a bold move to the front. After a lap of the track Anna Maxwell of San Lorenzo Valley appeared just off her shoulder, although Haley Meier took over second during the ensuing circuit.
They went through the first 400M in 72 with Neale holding court over Meier & Maxwell yet most of the competitors were still in the hunt including Heather Bates, who assumed the third position. Also making her presence felt at that time was Kennedy Weisner.
The pace slowed a bit during the next four hundred to around 74 seconds, which saw Neale tow the field through the 800M split in 2:26. Haley Meier remained in command of second but Carmen Carlos of Alabama had taken possession of third by that point. Neale continued to set the pace through 1200 Meters and in spite of her efforts there remained a solid cast of contenders, who were poised to pounce during the stretch run. The pace remained at 72, which saw them hit the split in 3:40. It soon became evident that Haley Meier had been biding her time and had a good deal left & she made a move to the front about the time that they hit the bell in 3:56. At first she opened up a good four meter lead, which she knew she would need. After the race Haley made it clear she was well aware of Neale’s formidable kick yet down the backstretch it appeared that she could close out the deal. It was an ephemeral moment, however, for Neale moved off Meier’s shoulder off the final turn. As they hit the final straight it had suddenly come down to just the pair despite the fact that for a brief moment a number of runners had appeared poised to strike, when the bell rang. Though Meier was seemingly in full flight Neale edged ever closer & passed her about half way down the stretch. When she had reached the finish Neale was a clear winner over the game Meier. The final time was an impressive 4:45.89 with the closing 400M covered in a brisk 65 seconds. Meier garnered a 4:46, while Anna Maxwell came home in 4:47. For Maxwell it was a very pleasant finish after facing challenges at the end of the XC season and, although she had appeared to be fading for a time, she found the strength to dig in a claim third.
Fourth went Rebekah Topham of Iowa, who ran 4:48, which gave her a two second advantage over Maddy Berkson of R.I. Courtne Kriegshauser took sixth & was credited with the same time. Carmen Carlos (4:51) & Heather Bates (4:53) secured seventh and eighth respectfully with Bates edging Kennedy Weisner, who was given a version of Bate ’s time. Californian Kelly Lawson and Oregonian Paige Rice placed tenth & eleventh in this early season race.
Given the resounding finish of the meet and more specifically, the boy’s Mile the guys this year had a hard act to follow but a solid field toed the line prepared to contribute their part in Brook’s PR history. It was a bit surprising to see Jacob Burcham move quickly to the inside, while making sure he did not take the lead, but Chris Marco certainly had no inhibitions as he stormed to the front. It did not take long for him to take a five meter lead. The New Jersey runner led through the first 400M with 62 seconds. For a time it was a solid pack that had seemingly coalesced into a massive conglomeration but Joe Hardy of Seattle Prep soon took care of that by making sure he was in the place position. A sixty-six second 400M left everyone in contention, yet surprisingly Marco had widened his lead.
Brock Baker of Tennessee supplanted Hardy for the pole position of the chase pack and he put in an effort to cut into the lead a bit. Jacob Burcham, who had been nipped at the line in last year’s race, began to assert himself and began his move to the front, while he in turn pulled a small phalanx of runners in his wake including Hardy, Baker & Carl Hirsch of Wisconsin. They swept past the 1200M in about 3:10 with everyone up front in high gear. It seemed for a bit that it was Burcham, who was gearing up for the victory but Trevor Gilley swept pasted a trio of runners that included Burcham. All through the day fans could hear the pop of a small cannon, which launched Brooks shirts into the crowd & Gilley ‘s move was so quick that it seemed as if he might have been part of the Brooks act for he boldly strode to the front and with that he was gone. For sure no one seemed prepared for his launch and he raced away to triumph in 4:08, which was just a little more than a second off of the Brook’s record set by Marcus Dickson last year. The final 400 was a quick 58 seconds.
Brock Baker had appeared on his way to a second place effort but Joe Hardy overhauled him shortly before the finish line and earned second in 4:09.88 to edge Brock’s 4:09.93. Marco may have led the way early yet he still garnered fourth in 4:10 as he caught the fading Burcham who ran essentially the same time. Carl Hirsch followed in sixth with 4:12 & edged Ryan Silva of Arizona. Connor Mora, whose name was botched all day, cruised home in 4:13, while Keith Williams of Spokane placed ninth with 4:16. Robert Domanic of Texas took tenth (4:17) ahead of Sumner Goodwin (4:17), yet another Spokane runner. Patrick Gibson of Bellingham, Washington had an off day with 4:18, while jean-Baptiste Tooley, the youngest runner in the race, came in thirteenth.