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While the Mt. SAC and Kansas Relays dominated the national scene last weekend, the Penn and Drake Relays topped the national schedule this past weekend. Numerous top five national performances were established, including a new national 4x800m relay record. See what took place around the nation in the 13th edition of Distance Gala Weekly.

Penn Relays (PA)

Something always exceptional happens at the Penn Relays. This year the exceptional race was the boys 4x800m relay. From the start of the race it was clear that it was going to be something truly memorable. Albemarle (VA) and Morris Hills (NJ) broke away from the field during the second leg, with Albemarle pulling slightly ahead.

On the third leg, Morris Hills pulled slightly ahead handing off to the anchor leg. Albemarle's Anthony Kostelac ran an amazing 1:49.33 to edge Morris Hills' anchor Liam Tansey, who ran 1:50.65. As the crowd rose to their feet in the final leg, there was talk of the national record going down, and as Kostelac crossed the line, a new national record flashed across the giant screen in the stadium. Albemarle set a new national record of 7:30.67, while Morris Hills also broke the old record of 7:32.89, with their runner-up performance of 7:31.60.

Albemarle (VA) - 7:30.67 National Record

Garrett Bradley 1:55.43, Zach Vrhovac 1:50.57, Luke Noble 1:55.34, Anthony Kostelac 1:49.33

Morris Hills (NJ) - 7:31.60

Vincent Chiusano 1:55.22, Lucas Clybe 1:52.17, Sean Pohorence 1:53.56, Liam Tansey 1:50.65

One performance that seemed to be overlooked among the national record breaking race was junior Tom Mallon's 1:49.79 anchor leg for third place Central Bucks (PA). Central Bucks ran a great race to finish in 7:36.93, while Mallon showed why he is one of the top 800m runners in the country this season.

Elsewhere, Chelsey Sveinsson (Greenhill School, TX) and Jeremy Rae (Ontario, Canada) won the girls and boys mile races. Sveinsson crushed the girls field in a U.S. #1 time of 4:46.85, winning by nearly 13 seconds over runner-up Natalie Bower (Greater Latrobe, PA). Meanwhile, the Notre Dame-bound Rae ran a great race from start to finish, beating one of the stronger fields seen this season, with a winning time of 4:08.13, which was a meet record. Runner-up finisher Drew Shields (Fishers, IN) came home in 4:12.34, while third place finisher Bobby Peavey (Kellam, PA) ran 4:13.02.

In the girls 3,000m run, 2008 mile champion Stephanie Morgan (Barnesville, OH) pulled away from senior Emily Jones (Bromfield, MA) in the final straight, winning in 9:31.32. Jones finished in second place with a 9:32.22 effort, while Shelby Greany (Suffern, NY) was third in 9:35.42.

On the boys side, Robert Micikas (Crestwood, PA) upset the field, winning in 8:23.84, with Foot Locker finalist Ben Furcht (Lower Merion, PA) second in 8:24.72. Many thought Foot Locker champion Solomon Haile (Sherwood, MD) would pull away from the field early on, but that never was the case, as Haile finished fourth, while Foot Locker third place finisher Thomas Porter (Mountain View, VA) finished fifth.

Other notable winners: Upper Dublin (PA) won the boys distance medley relay in 10:08.48, out dueling W.W.-Plainsboro North (NJ), who ran to a runner-up finish in 10:11.28. The finest performance of the boys DMR came from Robby Andrews, who powered his Manalapan H.S. (NJ) team to a third place finish behind a 4:06.2 1,600m anchor performance. On the girls side, Tatnall (DE) upset Southern Regional (NJ), winning 11:49.37-11:58.74.

Penn Relays Results

Drake Relays (IA)

The 100th annual Drake Relays went off with wet and warm weather all weekend long in Des Moines, Iowa, but many of the region's top prep marks were established at the event. The defining performance came from sophomore Shelby Houlihan (E. Sioux City, IA), who won both the girls 800m dash and 1,500m run.

Houlihan posted one of the top 800m performances in the country this season, winning in a near photo finish with Sara Stoakes (North Tama, IA), edging the senior 2:10.17-2:10.22. Houlihan ran the 800m final on Friday, then coming back Saturday to win the 1,500m event in 4:37.03, besting in-state rival Katie Flood (Dowling Catholic, IA), who finished second in 4:39.11. Houlihan also helped her team pick up the 4x800m relay title, as E. Sioux City (IA) won by just over ten seconds in 9:20.77.

While Flood didn't earn the 1,500m win, she did impress in the girls 3,000m run on Friday, going 1-2 with teammate Ashlie Decker, as Flood edged her teammate 10:05.48-10:12.50. The winner on the boys side was Omet Kak (North Des Moines, IA), who won the 3,200m race, as well as the 1,600m run. Kak ran 9:19.71 in the 3,200m, while beating Lewi Manirumva (CR Washington, IA) in the 1,600m race, 4:19.43-4:20.51.

Another notable winner was Pleasant Valley (IA), who won the boys 4x800m relay in a close battle with Waukee (IA). Pleasant Valley, who's established distance dominance over the state the past few years, edged Waukee 7:58.00-7:58.85 to take home the relay title.

Drake Relays Results

Hamline Elite Meet (MN)

While many of the top middle-distance runners were tearing up the track at the Penn Relays over the weekend, one of the top 800m runners was putting on a clinic in windy and warm Minnesota. Zach Mellon (Buffalo, MN), who ran the U.S. #2 time of 1:48.64 last spring as a junior, guided his team to victory in the 4x800m relay and 4x400m relay, while winning the 800m dash as well. Mellon ran a strong anchor leg in the 4x8, and then came back with a 1:55.60 effort in the open 800m event, while anchoring his team from a come-from-behind victory in the 4x4, closing with a 48.9 second split.

Another notable performance came in the boys 1,600m run, where Moses Heppner (Warroad, MN) won in 4:17.74. Heppner surprised the field, running away over the final lap to claim victory. John Holt (Roseville, MN) placed second in 4:18.93. In the girls 1,600m race, Mara Olson (St. Louis Park, MN) won in 5:06.84.

The boys 3,200m run didn't produce the close finish many had hoped for, as Jeremy Drenkhahn (Wayzata, MN) won the ran by just over 15 seconds in 9:23.50. The girls side was won by Jamie Piepenburg (Alexandria, MN) in 11:06.66.

Another athlete that stood out Friday evening was junior Harun Abda (Fridley, MN). Abda, who ran 1:50.74 for 800m as a sophomore last spring, won the boys 400m dash in 49.40.

Hamline Elite Meet Results

Down the Backstretch Live Coverage

Distance Highlights from Around the U.S.

* At The Woodlands Regional Qualifier earlier in the weekend, NXN individual champion Reed Connor (The Woodlands, TX) won a hotly contested 1,600m run, beating the field with a 4:10.75 finishing time. Coming in second was Parker Stinson (Cedar Park, TX), who ran a new personal best of 4:12.85. Ten athletes in total dipped under the 4:20 barrier, while 16 athletes dipped under 4:22.

* A new U.S. top three performance in the girls 4x800m relay was had at the St. Vrain Invitational (CO). Coloroado's Thompson Valley High School ran the top three performance of 9:04.94 behind standout athlete Laura Tremblay's 2:10 split. The Classical Academy (CO) finished second in 9:17.48.

Additional Articles of Interest

Ritz, Meb Run Personal Bests in London (Universal Sports)

High School Running Movie Premiers on Hallmark (Runner's World)

Interview with Oregon's Nathan Mathabane (Dyestat)

To submit an article or results to Distance Gala Weekly please contact Scott Bush at: [email protected]


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