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Boys 4xMile Relay Preview
by Dave Devine

Keeping it Close

Many high school boys' track coaches would give their left arm for a single sub-4:25 miler. Coach George Calano of Collegiate HS in New York has four of them. So does Coach Jack Recla of Trabuco Hills in California. Coach Matt Kern of La Sierra CA has three, but two of those are twins with nearly identical 4:09 1600 PRs. Early Saturday morning at Nike Outdoor Nationals, these three coaches and several others are hoping to find their teams closely bunched heading into the final leg of the 4xMile Relay.  If that happens, the race could end up one for the ages.  Way back in 1976, South Eugene HS of Eugene, Oregon, ran a mind-boggling 17:06.6 to set a national high school record that has stood the test of time. No team has broken 17:10 since.

At last year’s Nike Outdoor Nationals, Fayetteville-Manlius, behind legs of 4:22.3, 4:19.7, 4:16.9 and 4:19.3 ran a meet record 17:18.33, the fastest clocking since 1986. With 4:15-milers seeming to fall from the trees this spring, there are several teams slated to run which may have a chance to challenge F-M’s meet standard, and perhaps claw their way under 17:15.

Here’s a look at three teams likely to be in the mix and one that shouldn’t be counted out:

Collegiate NY
“You never know what’s going to happen,” Coach George Calano says. “We learned that indoors at NSIC.”  There, Collegiate was leading through two legs before a slightly off third leg put them out of the race. “So the whole key is having everybody run well on that same day.”  With PRs of 4:14 ( Dwayne Alexis), 4:17 (Dylan Trotzuk), 4:23 (Itse Begho) and 4:12 for anchor Chris Williams (left), a scenario in which everybody runs well will certainly put Collegiate in contention. “Our goal,” Coach Calano says, “is to put Chris in position to win.  He’s a gamer.”  Asked to speculate about a possible record attempt for his team, Calano politely demurred. “I don’t care for them to be thinking that way.  We’re just looking for the win.”
Trabuco Hills CA

Trabuco Hills may be the most dangerous of all, with an impressive string of 1600 PRs that includes 4:24 (Chris Mosier), 4:16 (Riley Sullivan), 4:13 (Scott Blair) and 4:12 (anchor JT Sullivan - right).  “These guys have been running together all year,” Coach Jack Recla says, “and JT hates to lose.  He wasn’t happy with how the California state meet went, so he’s looking to do something here.”  Coach Recla is hoping some of the other highly-touted teams will be close heading into the anchor. “It’s awfully hard to run 4:12 by yourself, and you don’t want people to be running out there alone.  But if there’s three or four teams together at the end, we’ll be in the hunt.  JT can go with anyone.”
 La Sierra CA

“All year,” Coach Matt Kern, “we’ve been wanting to run the 4xMile.  We certainly wanted to get one in before the Knights graduated.”  The Knights are Dylan and Spencer Knight (left), a pair of twins as gifted as all but a few on the US prep scene.  With 1600 PRs under 4:10, ferocious kicks and range up to two miles, the Knights are the sort of two-for-one talent that may come along once in a coach’s career.  The supporting cast is solid too, with Steve Norton running 4:21.34y at Golden West and 400-800 specialist Jared Drinkard checking in with a 4:35.  The DMR is the real goal for La Sierra at NON (they’re thinking sub-10 after a 10:09.51 win at Arcadia), but they’ll be formidable here.

Shenendehowa NY

The boys from Shen deserve a mention, if only because they narrowly missed the national indoor 4xMile record at NSIC, running 17:26.12, only 0.14 off their own school's 17:25.98.  Steve Murdock (right) anchored that effort in 4:14.6, but emerged from the weekend with an injury that has dogged him through the spring.  Last Saturday, Murdock ran 9:21.74 for 6th in the NY State 3200, so his form is certainly in question, but anyone who was witness to the 1-2 punch of Murdock's NTN/FLN XC finishes knows that he's as gutsy as they come.  If Murdock is ready to go and gets the baton in contact, Shen could be running for the win.
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