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95th Millrose Games

Molly Huddle out of Millrose Mile

Officials and coaches debate reasons

2/1/02 at Madison Square Garden, New York NY

Molly should live in New Jersey, says Ed Grant -
What about Shalane Flanagan in 2000?

from officials of the Millrose Games

NEW YORK 1/30/02 - Molly Huddle, the current U.S. high school leader in the mile, will not be allowed to participate in the Millrose Games on Friday. The ruling came earlier this week from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association. Several discussions on the subject took place over the past few days in an effort to resolve the situation. Principals in those discussions were Howard Schmertz (Millrose Games Meet Director), Jim Spier (Girls' Mile Selection Committee Chairman), Dr. Robert Huddle (Molly's father), and state association officials.

The issue has to do with Molly not being a member of her high school team. Only those who are legitimate members of their team can compete in state sanctioned events without running the risk jeopardizing their eligibility for the balance of the year. Molly's high school, Notre Dame of Elmira, NY, does not have a high school indoor team, thus precluding her participation (a "catch 22" situation, it seems).

The case of Shola Lynch was cited. Shola ran for Hunter College High School in New York City in the eighties. They did not field a high school team then. At that time, Shola was one of the best runners in the country. The New York City governing body, the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL), ruled that because of that particular "catch 22" situation (similarly, no high school team for which to run), she would be allowed to participate in the Millrose Girls' Mile. In response to this example, Jim Spier was advised that the PSAL was a separate governing body with separate rules from the state association; their rules and precedents would not necessarily apply to that of the NYSPHSAA.


from New York coaches:

Coach 1:

Your story regarding Molly Huddle not competing in the Millrose Games may not be accurate in one aspect ... Elmira Notre Dame does indeed have an indoor track team this season (both boys and girls) - I've personally watched them compete in several meets.

At one of the meets, I talked to Larry Glanton (Trumansburg coach who is the coordinator for NY Section IV indoor track) about Molly ... he said Molly was barred from competing in the NY State Indoor Meet because Elmira Notre Dame's league (IAC) forbids athletes from competing in two sports in the same season, and Molly was already a member of the Elmira Notre Dame basketball team.

Some concern has been expressed by a few NY track coaches about their track athletes competing against an unsanctioned runner (Molly in this case) in a sanctioned high school meet.

That's all I know about this situation.

Coach 2:

Just a word on the Huddle situation. Her Section (section 4) does not allow an athlete to do two sports during the same season. Since she is playing basketball, she cannot represent the school in a track meet. If she wasn't playing basketball I am pretty sure that the school and state association would
have allowed her to run.

more from Coach 2:

They can't bar them (athletes) from competing as an individual, as she did in the finger lakes meet.
The problem arises when the millrose games gets a national federation sanction and calls the event an official hs event. Then each participant must be a member of their school team and must abide by all rules such as medical physical, practice days, limitations on meets per week and season, etc... When they don't have this sanction some states won't allow their athletes to come and run.

The Millrose Games policy on the HS miles states: "These are 'scholastic' events, sanctioned by National Federation of State High School Associations, as well as the State of New York, and as
such, all competitors must represent, and wear a singlet that so identifies them with, their school."

As far as I know they (Notre Dame) don't have an indoor track team. They didn't have a XC team before this year either, but they started one just for her and I think that she was the only one on the team. I would assume that they would have done the same for indoor if she wanted to, but she probably wanted to be on the basketball team. Her area of the state (Section 4) does
not allow an athlete to do two sports during the same season.

Millrose official 1:

Molly quit basketball 10 days ago so the 2 team thing is not the issue. I was not aware that Elmira Notre Dame had an indoor team ... I was told otherwise.

She should live in New Jersey, says Ed Grant

[Editor's Note: Ed Grant is the dean of track writers in New Jersey, having covered the sport for more than half a century.]


Too bad Molly doesn't go to a NJ school.

In our state, a school does not have to have a "formal" indoor team
for its athletes to participate. Case in point this year: Lindsay Van
Alstine of Hawthorne Christian, a one-girl team in CC ran in our state meet
recently (as well as in the Passaic County meet and several invitationals)

The rule here is that, as long as the principal signs the entry and
she is accompanied by a "coach," (Lindsay's coach is her father), it's OK

But we have gone even further than that. When Jodie Bilotta was in
school she was not a member of the Hunterdon central team indoors, yet
competed in both the Millrose Mile and the 1K at the old Meadowlands meet on
a principal's signature---even though NH had a team (of which Anne Marie
Letko was a member).

And there was the year when NH had a "club" team for girls, but no
boys team. The girls coach brought Andy Martin and Brad Hudson to the state
meet, they went 1-2 in the 3200 and then went home. When the meet was over,
those points were enough to win the team title.

New York, both on the state and PSAL level, has always been a
stickler about these things. When Bill McClellon was at De Witt Clinton
clearing 7 feet in HS meets, he was invited to the Millrose Games, but the
PSAL refused to allow him to compete. (That rule has since been eased to
accommodate "special cases," of which the PSAL unfortunately has so few these

Meanwhile, as many as a dozen NJ athletes have so competed over the
years: Milt Campbell, the late Aubrey Lewis, Marty Liquori, Bill Gaines
(who won two national AAU 55M titles when in HS and this in the midst of the
NCAA-AAU battle), Renaldo Nehemiah, Carol Lewis, Wendy Vereen, Dawn Bowles,
to name just a few.

Ed Grant


from an observor on t-and-f mailing list:

This decision is typical of the asinine rules makers in NY. These
people continually make decisions, in all sports, that have noting to do
with the best interests of the student-athletes they supposedly
represent. A basketball exhibition to raise money for Lupus was almost
canned for similar reasons, even when it was completely out of season
and had nothing to do with kids competing for their HS, it was an
all-star game.

These people really need to retire!


What about Shalane Flanagan in 2000?

from a former Massachusetts coach

It seems like there is not clear information on her ability to participate as
a "bona-fide high school athlete" for the winter season. IF she is/was on
her basketball team and the St. Assn. has rules on only one sport per season
(as does MASS) then she is out. She, her coach and her parents must have
known this and still tried to circumvent the rule.

But Millrose has not followed this in the past. IF they have had a Natl. HS
Sanction then they (Millrose) were in violation several years ago when they
invited Shalane Flanagan (Marblehead, MA) to compete. Shalane never ran
indoor track in her life till she got to NC. She wore her HS uniform in the
Millrose Games (which was a violation of the Natl and MA rules), and yet
nothing was said or done about her. It seems that everyone looked the other
way. Looking the other way has probably happened before, but the NY boards
will not let it happen in their backyard.

It is too bad she can't run. IF she was planning on Millrose she should not
have gone out for basketball (if she did plap basketball). She had to make a

Millrose Games 2002

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