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32nd Golden South Classic
at Warden Field, the First Academy
Orlando FL - June 7, 2008

presented by

Joe Franklin's bold goal
Florida runner shoots for sub-4 mile

by John Dye

ORLANDO FL 6/6/08 -- As 300 elite athletes prepare for tomorrow's 32nd Golden South Classic, the most intriguing prospect is Joe Franklin's improbable quest to become the fifth high school runner ever to run a sub-4-minute mile.

The Godby FL senior (right) has national championship credentials in the 800 -- he is US#1 this season with a stellar time of 1:48.97 and he won the Nike Indoor Nationals in March at 1:54.09. But his 1600m PR is only 4:08.84 and that came in last year's Florida state meet.

Nevertheless, in this week's interval session with Dave Devine, Franklin discussed his stated goal of becoming the fifth high school runner ever to break 4 minutes in the mile.

"Unfortunately it seems there will not be a rabbit, which for me is kind of unsettling since I'm really bad at leading races. Somewhere in the middle of longer races I drift. I'm going to have to improve on that, but since this attempt has received so much attention I had hoped the lessons would have to wait. As far as the rabbit goes...you have lemons, you make lemonade. I don't even have lemons, so I'll just try to do what I planned to do without them."

High school runners usually keep lofty goals to themselves for fear of being scorned if they fall short of the goals. One is tempted to counsel Franklin to do the same. But after what German Fernandez did in California last Saturday, we should hesitate to trim the sails of this generation's brilliant distance runners.

photo by Vic Sailer, PhotoRun

The meet has much more to attract fans to The First Academy's Warden Field tomorrow:
  • Girls 800 - Charlene Lipsey NY top seeded with a time of 2:09.61 as runner-up to national leader Chanelle Price in the New York Relays in April at Icahn Stadium.
  • Boys High Jump - Mike Edwards FL 7:00.25 is ranked 9th in the country.
  • Girls 4x100 and 4x400 - Decatur GA (Dekalb County Express all star team) top seeded at 46.97 and 3:51.
  • Boys 100 and 200 - Maryland star Justin Murdock (10.41 and 21.27) will try to double.
  • Girls 100 and 200 - Freshman Octavius Freeman FL is top seeded off her wind-aided marks in the early season Bob Hayes Invitational (11.59 and 23.71).
  • Boys 400 - Torrin Lawrence FL 47.10 is US#4 but did not start in the state meet because of injury.
  • Girls 400 - Three 54-second burners will fight it out: Michelle Stegal GA, Brianna Frazier FL and Quinterra Charles TX.
  • Girls 100H and 400H - Georgia 4A champion Paige Morton aims for a double but will be challenged by Jamaicans Keisha Wallace and Danielle Dowie.
  • Girls High Jump - Maya Pressley FL 5-10 is tied for sixth best in the US.
This year's meet will benefit the Pediatric Sports Medicine Program at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando.

Veronica Campbell, a sprint favorite in the Olympics in Beijing this summer, is the adidas elite athlete on hand, fresh from her win at the Reebok meet in New York City last Saturday. She will sign autographs from 5-7 pm Saturday at the track. Campbell won the 100 at last year's World Championships and the 200 at the 2004 Olympics.

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