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Portland Track Festival

Lewis and Clark College, Portland OR

Saturday June 13, 2009

Andrews headed to Portland in search of a Sub-4 mile

by Jim Lambert

June 1, 2009 – Robby Andrews has been hoping to find a hot mile to jump into all season to see how low he can go.

The superstar senior from Manalapan, NJ has gotten his wish.

Andrews (right, photo by John Nepolitan) has announced that he’s committed to run the mile at the Portland Track Festival on June 13, a high school-only race stacked with some of the nation’s premier milers.

The race, being held at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, is being billed by meet director Craig Rice as the Sub-4 Challenge.

Andrews isn’t about to make any predictions, but he really doesn’t need to, since it’s fairly obvious that the only reason he making the coast-to-coast trip is to make an attempt at doing something only four high school runners have ever done: break four minutes.

"I’m real excited about this," said Andrews, the national indoor record holder in the 1,000 (2:22.28) and the 800 (1:49.21). "I feel fortunate that I’ve been thought of highly enough to be invited to compete in a race of this magnitude. It’s a great opportunity."

Andrews will be in a star-studded field that includes Mac Fleet of University City High in San Diego, Jeremy Rae of Canada, Trevor Dunbar of Alaska, and Nathan Mathabane of Lincoln High in Portland.

According to several reports, Elijah Greer of Lake Oswego, Oregon is almost certain to join the field as well.

Greer is No. 1 in the nation this season in both the 800 (1:48.97) and the 1,500 (3:50.56) and is the 2008 U.S. Junior Champion at 800 (1:47.68.).

Fleet has gone 1:50.31 in the 800 this spring and has a mile best of 4:07.56, which he ran to win the Boston Indoor Games in February.

Rae is the National Scholastic Indoor and Penn Relays champion in the mile who owns personal bests of 3:49.12 for 1,500 and 4:08.14 in the mile. Dunbar has run 4:10.78 for 1,600.

Mathabane, who is headed to Princeton University, has run a US #2 3:50.58 in the 1,500 this season.

Also in the field will be Collin Jarvis of Rancho Buena Vista High in California (4:13.57 mile/8:58.15 3,200), Shane Moskowitz of Central Kitsap in Washington (4:11.75 1,600/8:59.53 3,200), Ken Krotzer of Auburn, Washington (4:12.48 for 1,600), and Mack Young of Redmond, Washington (4:16.45 mile).

A very key figure in the race will be Elliott Jantzer of Phoenix High in Oregon, who is expected to rabbit the field through the first half mile in around 1:58.

The only high school runners to drop below four minutes in the mile are Alan Webb (a national record 3:53.4 in 2001), Jim Ryun (3:55.3 in 1965), Tim Danielson (3:59.4 in 1966) and Marty Liquori (3:59.8 in 1967). Liquori, who ran at Essex Catholic High in NJ, holds the NJ state record.

"We’re all going there for the same reason and hopefully at least one of us can do it," said Andrews. "I don’t know how fast I’ll run, but I’m not going all the way out there to run slow.  There’s a lot of great runners in there and I’ll try to stay as close to them as I can and see if I can win it at the end."

Andrews hasn’t run a fast open 1,600 this season, although his 4:06.2 anchor leg on Manalapan’s distance medley relay team at the Penn Relays in April showed that he’s more than capable of hanging with any high school runner in the land over four laps.

Andrews will be running the 800 at the NJ Meet of Champions and  said he plans to run the 800 at the Nike Outdoor Nationals, scheduled for June 18-20 at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, N.C.

"This will be my last mile for high school, so I’m going to enjoy myself and run as fast as I can," said Andrews. "I can’t wait!"