Prep stars had their moment at the adidas Grand Prix, when fine fields coalesced at Randall Island in New York City this Sunday. In the Girls’ Dream Mile Oklahoman Stephanie Jenks took the lead by the 200 Meter mark, which was run in 37 seconds on her way to a one lap time of 71 seconds. Ellie Gonzalez held second after 400 meters but the field of stars remained in hot pursuit and appeared to be running well within themselves. Sarah Feeney of Utah, the 4A champion at 3200 Meters in 4A appeared to be chomping at the bit and assumed control of the pace up front shortly before she led the pack through the 800M 2:23. Her move was covered by Jenks but the field began to string out behind the pair, who ran in single file at that point.
Feeny, a three-time Foot Locker national finalist, looked strong as she led the way at the 1200M mark in 3:32 but Jenks still seemed to be capable of unleashing a kick, which could vault her back into the lead. The resemblance of a race only last another half lap until Feeny surged away to open a distinct gap. Her stride unfurled, it became apparent that the race was now for second with Jenks gamely holding onto her place and Hannah Long of Missouri taking third at the time. Sarah continued to roll through the final quarter and finished with a commanding lead in a time of 4:39.23. Jenks finished a more than game second in a fine 4:42 and Danielle Jones garnered third in 4:43 by overtaking Long down the stretch . Long finished in 4:42 and Audrey Belf took fifth just a bit more than a second later. For those, who question the continued excellence of Foot Locker, it was displayed for all to see, as Kennedy Weisner & Brianna Schwartz placed sixth and seventh (4:46 & :50) to go with Jenks & Long. Dorris Haley (4:51) & Ellie Gonzalez (4:52) earned 8th & 9th and Lucy Biles came in tenth with 4:56. Biles, yet another FL finalist, is the Utah 5A champion but she & her state rival rarely seem to be on at the same time but she is a deserving talent for sure.
The Dream Mile for the guys was intriguing because it featured Josh Evans, who had registered the year’s fastest prep time of 4:01 just the week before, against Grant Fisher of Michigan, who most considered America’s top middle distance runner. That of course was just the prerace view on paper but the real race evolved into a rematch between Foot Locker finalists Fisher & Matthew Maton of Oregon and one can only anticipate what lies ahead next year for the two stalwart junior runners. At the end of the day, while the victory went to Fisher, it is Maton, who appears to be gathering strength.
Austen Dalquist took the early lead & recorded splits of 31 and 60.66, while both Fisher & Evans bided their time just off the pace. It was hard to anticipate much from Maton at that point, as he viewed with Ricky Faure of Wyoming at the back of the spread-out pack. While Evans took over the lead to tow the pack through 800 meters in 2:02 Maton was still well back in thirteenth (second last) at that point. It was during the third lap that the race truly took shape with Fisher moving to the fore with Evans & Garrett O’ Toole in hot pursuit. While most eyes were fixed on the front of the pack the Summit Strom runner began to move quickly through the pack. He took the inside track and led the chase pack, while the leaders pushed through 1200M in 3:02. Evans was still the titular leader at that point.
Fisher began his drive to the finish with 600 Meters to go, while Maton was bridging the gap between the two main packs. Grant was in firm control by that point and as he went into the final turns he appeared to be a lock for victory. Meanwhile the Summit star appeared to be a blocked sixth at that point until he bolted outside between two runners to extricate himself for the final stretch. Fisher closed well to record a triumph in 4:02.02 but it was Maton, who was eating up yardage at the end and he finished an impressive second with a big personal best of 4:03.23. Californian Blake Haney saved something for the end to take third in 4:04.08, as he edged Josh Evans by three-tenths. Garrett Corcoran followed a second later in fifth & Wesley Pectol was just nipped at the tape. Dalquist claimed seventh ahead of O’Toole with 4:05 & 4:06.
Utah’s Conner Mantz annexed tenth by edging Faure. It should be noted that this is not the two-time Foot Locker finalist’s better distance and he returns for a senior campaign with a focus on Foot Locker. It was a rousing end to a banner track season yet we also look ahead to the fall, when Fisher, Maton & Mantz return. Still, as formidable as they are, the trio will have to contend with John Dressel of Washington & Elijah Armstrong of Idaho, who should have much to say at the long XC distance. It was a fine day for running, which leaves us tantalized by what is to come next year.
Not to be overlooked was Camas Comet Alexa Efraimson, who ran against professional runners in the 1500m. Though in the race early, she got more than a taste of what it will be like should she turn pro as some advise. Jostling is a part of the big time scene and Alexa faded at the end, although she still ran a fine 4:07. One can only wonder, how she might have fared, had she run with her peers.