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101st Millrose Games

Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY

Friday, February 1, 2008
- DyeStat on-site with John Nepolitan

 Millrose '08: From the blogs to the boards
Meet's own site

Selection Criteria

The Road to Millrose
5 runnners, 1 goal


Mile Fields


Boys - Girls

Photos - Video

Prior Years

Preview by Dave Devine

(note: The meet will be televised on ESPN2 tonight 7-8 p.m. ET and Saturday (tape) NBC 3-4 p.m. ET)

For the last five weeks, DyeStat has been following the progression of five intrepid East Coast milers invited at the beginning of the indoor season to chronicle their separate attempts to qualify for, and compete in, the 2008 Millrose high school mile races. Four of the bloggers—Kyle Merber, Caitlin Lane, Kristin Reese and Shelby Greany—were selected before their undercover campaign had even really begun. The fifth—Conestoga Valley PA senior Vince McNally—received an automatic invite to Millrose based on his miling last spring, and came aboard after he’d already received his bid to the boy’s race. The other four, in a testament more to their determination and drive than to our prognostication skills, all produced Millrose-worthy efforts in the succeeding weeks and received their respective golden tickets to the storied and prestigious race.

Now, the time for waxing poetic about workouts and weekend races has come to end. It’s time to lace up the spikes and determine who will join an impressive list of former high schoolers who can claim the title of Millrose Champion. It's time to move from the blogosphere to the tight turns and unforgiving boards of Madison Square Garden. Of course, the races are stacked with talent that extends far beyond the five we’ve been following these past few weeks. Here’s a quick rundown on the top competitors toeing the line this evening, and how these races might unfold.

Boys Mile
Vince McNally PA -- Robby Andrews NJ -- Kyle Merber NY
If you’re looking to the Millrose mile for fast times and big PRs, you’re probably looking in the wrong place. Millrose is about racing; about managing the narrow turns and short straights of the assembled track, as much as it is about clocking fast splits. In many cases, it’s about who can muster the speed to shut the door in the final lap. That reality favors smart racers with sizzling kicks. Kyle Merber (Half Hollow Hills West NY) and Robby Andrews (Manalapan NJ) are two competitors who would seem to fit that bill. They have yet to go head-to-head this season, but each has run 4:12 (Merber 4:12.42 at Reebok BIG and Andrews 4:12.48 at New Balance), and each is capable of summoning a sub-60 final 440. Merber has been known to linger in races and kick hard from just off the pace, but he’ll have to stick his nose into the fray in order to be in contention for this one. Andrews unleashed a furious kick in his New Balance win, and can close with anyone in the field.

Vince McNally has recent history on his side, as last year a Pennsylvanian came into Millrose with reduced expectations and stole the show. Jason Weller was last year’s unlikely titlist, and while McNally’s recent blog entries suggest a runner taking the longview toward outdoors, he does come in with the fastest PR in the field: 4:08.99 from Nike Outdoor Nationals last spring. He’ll be joined in his defense of Pennsylvania pride by Nick Crits (Wissahickon PA), a runner coming in slightly under the radar that could surprise in a tactical race. Another who will certainly be in the mix is Coloradoan-by-way-of-New-York Charles White. White, hot on the heels of Merber at last week’s Reebok Boston Indoor Games mile, finishing fourth in 4:13.33, will have a homecoming of sorts in his old New York stomping grounds, and has some serious last-lap wheels of his own. Willie Ahearn (Danbury CT) has run fast in several non-winning efforts this season (along with his victory at Bishop Loughlin), and will be looking to even the score against the region’s top milers. The problem is, he may have a hard time being the top finisher from his own high school, as fellow Danbury-invitee and teammate Parker Boudreau brings 1:52 800 chops to the race. Finally, a pair who would seem to be stronger at the longer distances, recent 9:06.30 3200 runner Pete Dorrell (Blackburg VA sr) and 8:24.30 3k runner Doug Smith (Gill-St. Bernard’s NJ jr), will match their endurance against the flat-out leg speed of some of their swifter competitors.

Girls Mile
Jillian Smith NJ -- Kristin Reese NY -- Cory McGee MS
Southern Regional NJ junior Jillian Smith is on a roll. Last weekend she gapped a Reebok Boston Indoor Games field chock full of competition she’ll see at Millrose, and did so convincingly. Her 4:48.83 from that race currently ranks her #1 on the DyeStat Elite list, and she brings the momentum of her big victory into the Garden. Add in her experience on the Millrose track as a fourth-placer last year, and the fact that she has a two-year Southern Regional win streak authored by recent-grad Danielle Tauro to uphold, and Smith has to be considered one of the definitive favorites in the race. Traveling north however, and unlikely to go quietly into the night, is last year’s Millrose runner-up and Nike Outdoor Nationals third-place finisher Cory McGee (Christian Pass MS). Only a sophomore, the precocious McGee has yet to show her talents on the track this season, but—like McNally on the boy’s side—received an invitation based on her 4:48.32 NON effort last spring. Training outside the spotlight, she’s certain to be ready for this race, and will bring the base that saw her qualify for Foot Locker this past autumn to the starting line.

The second fastest girls miler this season is Carmel NY senior Kristin Reese. Inconsistent at times, Reese managed to shake off a rough start to the season with a 4:52.65, last-gasp New Balance Games win that punched her ticket to Millrose. A week ago she suffered a rough race in Boston, but will look to rebound in the tighter confines of the Garden. Her height puts her at a slight disadvantage on the smaller Millrose track, and she’ll have to compensate with smart racing and good late-race positioning. Caitlin Lane (Greenwich NY sr) has shown repeatedly that she can win big races, with early-season victories at Brown and Dartmouth. She too had an off race in Boston, but will look to make up for that here. Hannah Davidson (Saratoga Springs NY sr) and Emily Lipari (Roslyn NY so) are two others who produced impressive wins against fellow Millrose competitors—Davidson at the Molloy Stanner Games and Lipari at the Hispanic Games. Each has national-level race experience and the capacity from cross country to draw on anaerobic reserves late in the race. Shelby Greany (Suffern NY jr), like Lipari and Davidson, has Foot Locker cred on her resume, but comes into the Garden seeking her first major mile win of the season. The remaining three qualifiers—Jillian King (Scotia-Glenville NY sr, 4:53.84), Jeanne Mack (La Salle RI sr, 4:54.86) and Melanie Thompson (Voorhees NJ jr, 4:53.58)—bring fast times, if slightly lower profiles into the race, and all have the ability to challenge if they place themselves in the mix with a lap to go.

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