The New Balance Indoor meet has long been one of the best, especially with the absence of the wonderful indoor Brooks PRI meet in Seattle. As usual the competition here was national in scope but it also exhibited some fine performances from Northwest Runners as well. Leading the way was Elijah Armstrong of Idaho, who annexed the Men's 5K championship on Friday.
Armstrong, a two-time Footlocker national finalist, took the lead early and opened up a sizable lead, as he speed through 800 Meters in 2:19. At that point the distant second place runner was Edwin Rutto of New Jersey but by the 1200 Meter mark, which was passed in 3:29 Mike Brannigan of Pennsylvania took over second. From that point onward the race had evolved into a two-man battle with Armstrong leading way through splits of 4:40.5 (1,600M) & 7:22 at the half way mark. Casey Comber moved into a distant third at the point and, although challenged at times by Rutto & Dominic Hockenbury, Comber controlled that position for the remainder of the race.
Armstrong continued to lead with a mile to go, when he pulled Brannigan through a split of 10:08 & the Pocatello pace-setter set continued splits of 70 seconds through each successive 400 meter split. Fans really got their money's worth, when Brannigan surged into the lead with a lap to go but Armstrong never let him get too far ahead and coming off the final turn Armstrong unleashed a furious kick, that saw him sweep past the valiant Quaker runner to win by meters in a time of 14:41.72. Brannigan followed with 14:42.33 with Comber placing third in a fine 14:51. It was a fine race overall with a brilliant ending with splits of 57.5 for the final 400M & 27 for the last 200M. Eric Van der Els finished fourth in 15:02 & Eric Hockenbury held on for fifth in 15:08.
Anna Rohrer of Indiana, a two-time Foot Locker national champion dueled Ryen Frazier in much the same fashion of the boys' race but this time the final result was a new national standard of 16:10.79. Rohrer took a little over a second off the former record of Tessa Barrett, while Frazier's time of 16:12.81 garnered her the number three best of all-time, as she supplanted her sister. Stephanie Jenks ran a fine time yet was a distant third with 16:40. The Iowa runner ran 16:40 to top Aubrey Argyle of Utah by ten seconds. Sarah Kettel ran 16:57 to take fourth ahead of Bella Burda of New York (16:58) while freshman Weini Kellati of Virginia clocked 16:59.
The young men's Two Mile was yet another battle between Foot Locker National Finalists and there was little separating the top three, as the runners all ran versions of 8:48. Andrew Hunter, a junior from Virginia, got the nod in 8:48.22, as Kodiak's Levi Thomet was just nipped with 8:48.32. Alex Ostberg of Ct. was barely edged with his time of 8:48.88. Ryen Frazier came back to claim the Young Women's Two Mile in 10:02. The North Carolina runner topped Kate Murphy of Virginia by 18 seconds.
Grant Fisher of Michigan, a two-time Foot Locker champion, secured a facile victory in the Mile with a clocking of 4:03.54. James Burke of N.Y. edged Sam Ritz of Pa. with both running versions of 4:08. Nevada Moreno, a sophomore, edged Ryen Frazier & Danielle Jones, who both had marks of 4:44 with her time of 4:43.
The Northwest was well represent in the girls' 800M, which was won by Sam Watson in 2:08, as Sophie Cantine placed fifth with 2:10. The Lakeside (Seattle) runner is a sophomore. The guys' 800 Meter saw five runners come in with times of 1:51 but Brian Bell was the winner with 1:51.03.
New Balance offers various heats and races for various levels of racing and Central Catholic runners traveled to display their talents as well. Four Ram runners competed in the EE race at Two Miles with Sam Truax placing 17th in a time of 9:39.45. Zack Lavier finished 21st in 9:42.55 and Sam Lomax followed in 31st with 10:0536. Daniel Thompson was one place back with his time of 10:06.44. Jean Baptiste Tooley garnered 17th in that division's Mile with 4:35.53.