Dolphins' Wetherbee going the extra Mile

BOSTON - Competing at Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center is nothing new for Colleen Wetherbee.

The glare of the national spotlight isn't particularly foreign to her, either.

Tonight, the Dennis-Yarmouth senior is among an elite field of 14 of the nation's top middle-distance runners doing battle in the third annual Girls' Junior Invitational Mile at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games.

The Reggie Lewis track is a fast one. There have been four world records and eight American records set in the 11-year history of the European-style pro meet; last year, 11 men broke the four-minute mark in the mile, the most in any indoor meet in history.

Wetherbee routinely competes at Reggie Lewis during the indoor track season, but this marks the four-time Massachusetts state champion's first appearance at the invitational Boston Indoor Games.

Among those squaring off against Wetherbee are Danielle Tauro of Manahawkin, N.Y., the '06 USATF Junior National Mile champion and seven-time New Jersey State champ; Brittany Sheffey of Bellport, N.Y., a six-time New York state champ who owns the nation's fastest indoor mile (4:54.09) this season; and fellow Bay State native Keely Maguire of Georgetown, a two-time Boston Globe Div. 2 Cross Country Runner of the Year.

Wetherbee finished second to Tauro in the mile at the 99th Millrose Games last year, and the D-Y standout also was runner-up at last year's Nike Indoor Nationals. Wetherbee also has been invited to compete in the mile at this year's Millrose Games, slated for Friday, Feb. 2 at New York's Madison Square Garden.

Today's festivities begin at 5:25 p.m., and Wetherbee's race is set for 6:35.

Also on hand for the Boston Indoor Games will be Marblehead native Shalane Flanagan, who is competing in the women's 3,000 meters. Flanagan, a 2004 Olympian at 5,000 meters, was a Massachusetts state champ in the mile and 2-mile. At North Carolina, she won three NCAA titles - including a cross country crown in 2002 that was the school's first.

Competing in the men's mile is Alan Webb, who broke Jim Ryun's 36-year-old schoolboy record for the outdoor mile. Webb ran a personal best indoor mile at the New Balance Games in New York earlier this month.

Highlighting the field for the women's 3,000 meters is Ethiopian Meseret Defar, the world record holder and Olympic champion at 5,000 meters. She returns for another try at a world record two years after coming within a second of breaking the 3,000 indoor mark.

Jenn Stuczynski will go after Stacy Dragila's American indoor record in the pole vault.