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Skills To Pay The Bills

Southern Regional Teammates Tauro and Smith shine in Beantown

By Tim Fulton, armorytrack.com

It’s a team scoring sport at times during the season, but when you toe the line against the best runners in the country, your teammates usually aren’t in the race. Not so for Southern Regional, NJ runners Danielle Tauro and Jillian Smith.

Tauro’s the star. She won Millrose last year. She won Penn Relays. She’s done a lot of winning. Spectators watched her hang on for dear life to the final Foot Locker qualifying spot last fall before eventually passing on the meet to recover from Rhabdomyolysis. She proved she was fit last week with her 4:46.13 winning effort at the New Balance Games, as she set a new Armory record in the process. Now she was in Boston to prove she could beat the deepest mile field assembled this year. (continued below)

At left, Danielle Tauro crosses the finish line. Photo by John Nepolitan.  At right, Jillian Smith, Alex Kosinski and Lindsay Carson come around the curve 2-3-4.  Kosinski ran quite well for having never run an indoor race before.  Photo by Vic Sailer, photorun.net

Smith is the newcomer. She ran indoor and outdoor track last year as a freshman before returning to the soccer field this fall. Even Smith looks up to Tauro, measuring her progress against what Danielle did. Smith talked about trying to improve each year “just like Danielle did.”

As the field tried to gage what Danielle was going to do, no one took it out. Greenwich, NY star Caitlin Lane, formerly of Argyle and Saratoga, led the outside stagger on the first lap before settling in behind Tauro when the field came together. With all of the girls wearing the black uniforms they were given it was hard to tell who was who.

The pace slowed after a 35 second first lap with Canada’s Lindsey Carson right on Tauro’s shoulder in the early going and Lane running well out in lane two. The girls were running three wide. Brittney Sheffey (Bellport, NY) was sitting in 3rd or 4th place in the middle of the race, but was never really a factor. Lane starting dropping back with an obvious hitch in her stride. She has been nursing IT band problem all season long and she finally dropped out on the first turn just after 1000m.

After hitting the ¼ around 73, the entire field went through the ½ mile mark around 2:32. Danielle sensed her chance and started picking it up, and finally the field started to separate a little after being way to close in the early going. Carson went with her before the field starting pulling them back in. Alex Kosinski (Oak Ridge HS, El Dorado Hills CA) and Smith led the chase pack.

Carson tried to take the lead with about 500m left, but Tauro would have none of it. Tauro took the bell and pushed ahead. She wasn’t sure what was happening behind her, but when she turned around and saw her teammate and training partner Jillian Smith cross the line next, it was a special feeling.

The girls’ coach, Brian Zatorski, said the race went exactly according to plan. They anticipated no one would want to pass Danielle, which is what they wanted. They wanted Danielle to move on the 3rd quarter and Smith to sit back and try and pick off people on the end.

“She was smart,” he said. “She just hung back and just kind of moved up. It was great.


 Everyone is close at the beginning of the race.  Trailing Tauro closely are Canada's Lindsay Carson and California star Christine Babcock.  Photo Vic Sailer, photorun.net

“Danielle for so long has been kind of been doing it on her own. When Jillian was a freshman last year, we knew she was going to have the skills to pay the bills. We just brought her along slowly. She was able to catch up with Danielle training wise (after playing soccer) pretty quickly. I can’t even put it into words. It’s just an amazing thing to have each other to lean on everyday.”

“I just looked at her as a role model. I just kind of base my goals off her,” Smith said of her older teammate.

Tauro said she didn’t want to lead but that the pace was so slow she was comfortable doing it. “I just kicked it in and looked back and was surprised to see my teammate come in right behind me. It was pretty exciting.”

As far as Tauro having a teammate to train with? “It’s definitely made it so much easier. I’m less nervous if there’s someone there with me I practice with everyday. Lining up with her on the starting line, with her next to me, is like the best thing that anyone could ask for. It’s definitely special. We’ve been training really hard, stride for stride in workouts. I was surprised but at the same time I was confident she’d be right there.

After Millrose this Friday the girls will then look at the NJ State Championships and then the Nike Indoor Nationals to run the DMR and possibly the mile as well.

With two girls working together the way they are, it will be exciting to watch what they can accomplish the rest of the year.

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