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June 16, 2007 Greensboro NC

DyeStat on-site coverage

Primm Preeminent Under 1:50
the story of the boys 800

 by Dave Devine

Stepping to the track only moments after Chanelle Price stunned the stadium with her 2:02.76 #4 all-time race, the field in the boys’ 800 meters had a difficult act to follow. They didn’t disappoint.

The pre-meet form charts had this down as a match-up between two of the three sub-1:50 guys in the nation. Prosser WA senior Nectaly Barbosa (1:49.94) was out with an injury, but US#2 Cory Primm of CA (1:49.50) and US#1 Dylan Ferris of NC (1:49.27) were lined up and ready to go. It would be a rematch of sorts for the two leading half-milers, who battled at Arcadia with Primm getting the measure of Ferris and scoring the US#1 time. In the months since, Ferris had dipped under 1:50 himself and taken away Primm’s top ranking in the process. Primm came in wanting to make up for a sub-par indoor national meet, but also looking to reclaim the lead on the yearly lists.

Rankings check provides motivation

“I looked on DyeStat yesterday,” Primm (left) said, “and it helped to see him ranked in front of me. I wanted to get that back.”

When the gun went off, it was Alabama’s Chris Bilbrew who shot to the front as the runners collapsed from their lanes off the turn and angled for the rail. Primm looked relaxed on the backstretch, casting sidelong glances to gauge his opponents and steer clear of trouble. Ferris moved to the lead off the second turn and led the pack through 400 in 53, which fit right into Primm’s race plan.

“I wanted to make sure I was at 53-54, and then I thought I could outkick whoever was next to me.”

Ferris was five meters clear heading into the bell lap, but Primm erased that margin before the backstretch and positioned himself on Ferris’ shoulder for the final match-up everyone was seeking, including Primm.

The matchup materializes

“With a lap to go he was a stride or two in front of me and I was like, I guess this is how it’s going to turn out, me and him. It was painful. I wasn’t sure if I was going to have it or if he [Ferris] was going to have it, but then I could see myself distancing from him on the big screen. That’s when I knew I was going to win.”

After passing 600 at 1:19.9, Primm made his check of Ferris’ position on the stadium scoreboard, then blew through the turn and down the homestretch. In the closing meters, without the benefit of a video screen, he continued to throw glances over his shoulder.

“I always look back,” he said later. “It’s really bad. But I wanted to make sure that I beat him, because I came here to win.”

 early going
 in the stretch

photos by John Dye

 He didn’t need to worry, the 1:48.63 victory was his, along with his temporarily forsaken US#1 and the #3 time ever at this meet. Meanwhile Ferris, slowed by the ambition of his early pace, was edged by hard-closing Tennessee senior James Gilreath, who came into the meet with a 1:50.12 PR but walked away with a 1:49.98 runner-up finish. Ferris was third in 1:50.12.

“I felt like I was in shape to go 1:48,” Gilreath said after the race, “but it didn’t happen today. I didn’t run it how I wanted to. I think if I had gotten out closer to where they were I might have gotten up for the win, but [Primm] was the better man today.”

Both Primm and Gilreath had high praise for the young lady who immediately preceded them on the track.

“I was talking to Ferris [while Chanelle Price was running],” Primm said, “and we were both thrilled with how she did. It kind of motivated us to do well also. I saw her go out in 57 and I was like, dang, that’s how fast I used to go out.”

“It was awesome,” Gilreath agreed. “Everything—Centrowitz and Forys too—it’s been an awesome meet.”

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