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DyeStat 2001 Indoor
February 2, 2001 at Madison Square Garden, New York
95th Millrose Games
Sara Bei and Nick Schneider
by John Dye
NEW YORK 2/2/01 -- The high school miles gave the big Madison Square Garden crowd all they could ask for Friday night in the Millrose Games.
Each race had lead changes, take charge moves, and stunning reversals at the tape. All the turning on the short Garden oval kept times on the slow side, but the tactics and the finishes were as entertaining as it gets.
Girls: Sara Bei CA caught Erin Donohue NJ in the last hundredth of a second, repeating her December come from behind victory in the Foot Locker Cross Country nationals in Orlando. The finish left Finish Lynx operator Giles Norton shaking his head and showing bystanders the picture; Norton somehow separated the two, 4:57.10 to 4:57.12. Stretch running Bei was impatient with a slow 2:34 first half by Theresa Fath and took the lead with 3 laps to go. Donohue immediately made her own charge to the top and it was a 2-girl race from there on. Donohue seemed the winner on the bell lap, but Bei crept up to her heels down the backstretch, rallied on the turn, and moved alongside at the head of the short stretch. Both girls lunged at the finish, and Bei not only won the race but edged Donohue for the fastest HS girls mile in the US this season. The rest of the field: Theresa Fath NY 5:01.29, Melissa Donais MA 5:03.63, Julia Pudlin PA 5:03.68, Chelsea Lenge CT 5:04.71, Megan O'Shea NY 5:19.37, and Raquel Barrientos CA 5:28.40.
Boys: It was Nick Schneider MN catching Bobby Lockhart VA in this one, 4:17.88 to 4:18.02. Lockhart set most of the pace (2:07 half) and did not seem to realize Schneider, winner of the LA Invitational 2 weeks ago, was closing on him in the last turn. Each runner had to overcome roughhouse tactics by Said Ahmed MA, who pushed and elbowed repeatedly on the tight turns.
The rest of the field: Said Ahmed MA 4:19.18, Brian Boyett NJ 4:20.02, Brian McGovern CT 4:21.27, David Vidal MT 4:21.99, Justin Romaniuk NY 4:23.33, Shane Stroup MD 4:24.18, and Alex Bloom CT 4:32.36.
Preps in field events, facing Olympic champions and stratospheric opening heights, had to chalk up the evening to experience.
Men's High Jump: Dan Olson NY cleared opening height of 7-0.25 but went out at 7-2.25 and watched 1996 Olympic champion Charles Austin wait until 7-5.25 to come in and win with his first jump.
Women's Pole Vault: Molly Lederman and Samantha Shepard, training mates in Jeff Robbins' Air Time club in Massachusetts, have taken turns holding the girls indoor record over the past year, with Lederman the current record holder at 13-1. Opening height was 3.80 meters (12-5.5), which meant that the second height of 4 meters (13-1.5) would be a new HS indoor record if either could make it. Lederman went out at opening height, leaving the door open for Shepard. Jumping in her 4th straight Millrose Games, Shepard seemingly cleared 4 meters on her first attempt, but the bar fell off after she landed. Her next two attempts were not as good, despite rhythmic clapping inspired by the announcer.
The men's 3000 was won by Leonard Mucheru, 21, of Kenya, who was the winner of the New Balance Games mile 2 weeks ago when Alan Webb produced his high school record sub-4. Mucheru held off fellow Kenyan Paul Bitok in 7:50.01 to 7:50.06, with American Bob Kennedy third in 7:54.34.
This venerable event, which unabashedly calls itself "the world's greatest indoor track event," goes back to the days when the Wanamaker Mile was a bigger attraction at the Garden in winter than the Knicks. Prep runners are featured on the same bill with Olympians. The high school mile is a premium, invitation-only event featuring the best in the nation. The 4x400 relay teams engage in furious battles on the tight, high banked turns that sometimes offer a roller derby flair.
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