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Frazier Wins Distance Triple at NBal Nationals

FRAZIER MAKES HISTORY WITH DISTANCE
TRIPLE AT NEW BALANCE NATIONALS

By Chris Lotsbom

(c) Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(Used with permission)

GREENSBORO,
N.C., (16-Jun) — North Carolina’s
Wesley Frazier made history on the
final day of competition
here at New Balance Nationals Outdoor,
becoming the first girl
ever to successfully complete the long distance
triple, winning the
mile, two mile, and 5000m in a span of less than 72
hours. Frazier
established herself as one of the best prep athletes
ever to compete
in these championships.

For the 17-year-old
from Raleigh, June 14 through 16 will go down as one of the most
memorable weekends of her athletics career. After taking the 5000m and
two mile titles on Friday and Saturday, respectively, the Duke-bound
senior toed the line at Aggie Stadium for the final time as a high
school athlete in the mile here today. She was determined to make her
last hurrah a memorable one.

“I’m really happy about it, I couldn’t ask for a better end to my high school career,” she said following the win.

Through
halfway in 2:22.15, Frazier sat meters behind New Jersey’s Josette
Norris, who had attempted to run the wheels off of Frazier. Responding
to Norris’s move with ease, Frazier ran within herself as she came up
on the leader’s shoulder.

Just like she had in her previous two
wins, Frazier decided her time to go was at the start of the bell lap.
Immediately, she extended her stride and opened up a gap on the
trailing Norris.

“I wasn’t sure –having already run so hard in
the last two race– if I was going to be able to win this one,” said
Frazier. “I just had to wait until the last lap and go.”

Down
the homestretch, Frazier wouldn’t slow the pace despite knowing the
victory was hers. Breaking the tape in 4:39.66, just tenths off of her
personal best, Frazier became the first girl ever to win the mile, two
mile, and 5000m at New Balance Nationals. The only other person to
complete the high school trifecta was Lukas Verzbicas at the 2011 New
Balance Nationals Indoor meeting.

Frazier’s initial reaction to
the historic feat was how painful it was. For the first time all
weekend, Frazier showed fatigue just after she broke the tape, going to
her knees in complete exhaustion.

“I’m happy it’s over” she said with a laugh. “I’m pretty sore…I don’t know if I’d do it again.”

Making
history roughly 70 miles from her hometown of Raleigh meant the world
to Frazier, as many of her friends and family were in attendance.
Receiving her All American crown and medal, Frazier got a standing
ovation from the crowd.

After breaking 16:00 for 5000m on
Friday evening, some track fans and media members began comparing
Frazier to Mary Cain, the Alberto Salazar-coached athlete who has
broken high school records from 800m to 5000m. Frazier rejected the
comparison.

“She’s an incredible athlete, I have a lot of
respect for her. That is saying a lot,” she said with a chuckle. “She
definitely has higher credentials than I do right now. She’s better; I
wouldn’t say I’m necessarily on her level. But I appreciate the
comparison.”

What makes Frazier’s success even more remarkable
is that she runs only about 40 miles a week. Including warm ups and
cool downs, she estimated that she had covered between 15 and 20 miles
in the last three days alone.

CROSSLEY, RED TIDE SET MEET RECORDS

In
the boys 800m, North Carolina’s John Crossley set a meet record thanks
to a patient strategy. Louisiana’s Blair Henderson took the pace out at
a blistering clip from the gun, stringing the field out by 400m.

Sitting behind was Crossley, knowing the quick early pace would likely tire most of the field.

“Everybody took it out fast. I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “But I ran my race, I don’t worry about them.”

With less than 300 meters remaining, Crossley made his move, taking the lead with authority.

“I
figured I’d had such a good season, I might as well leave it all out
right here in my last race,” said Crossley, who would break the tape in
1:48.01, shaving .08 of a second off the previous meet record.

“It
feels awesome. It’s an honor for me to be here and do the best I can
do,” said Crossley, competing at his first New Balance National meet.

Another
meet record fell in the boys 4xMile, as Red Tide TC of Michigan came
through with a late charge. Thanks to a 4:13.40 anchor leg by Brian
Kettle, the pride of Milford High School set a new meet record of
17:16.12.

“We knew we had a shot to do great things, we just
didn’t know what those great things would be necessarily,” said Kettle.
“It’s great to win and set a meet record.”

After strong opening
legs by Kyle Monagle and Kevin Black, Cody Snavely received the baton
in sixth, nine seconds out of first place. One by one, the senior
worked to move up and get closer to Stillwater, who was pushing the
pace up front.

“My whole goal was to just slowly reel them back
in and catch up with people, using them to key off of and keep moving
up so I could hand it off to Brian,” said Snavely.

When Brian
Kettle was handed the baton, Stillwater TC was still ahead with
Northport TC (NY) close behind. Lap by lap, Kettle began catching the
front runners, using his miler speed to his advantage.

A fast
4:13.40 final leg complete with a killer kick helped Red Tide secure
the national title. The meet record that came along with it was an
added bonus.

“Time is not really something you’re always
worried about. You just run hard and time takes care of itself,” said a
smiling Kettle. Red Tide’s finishing time was the fastest prep time run
since 1986. Stillwater TC hung on for second, with Northport TC coming
in third.

Red Tide wasn’t the only Michigan team to shine in
the 4xMile relay. Spirit of Pre (Saline, Mich.) won the girls title in
20:30.32. The quartet of Elianna Shwayder, Abby Rentschler, Alyssa
Cummings, and Lauren Green improved upon their fourth place finish at
New Balance Nationals Indoor three months ago.

SOUTHERLAND, WYNNE SWEEP TITLES

Reigning
New Balance Nationals Indoor winners Sabrina Southerland and Henry
Wynne won the girls 800m and boys mile, respectively. Both ran away
from the fields in the final lap with little challenge.

Southerland,
from New York, timed 2:06.26 for two laps. Though her time was slower
than her Indoor performance, the senior was still happy.

Wynne,
also a senior, took the mile lead before 400m and never looked back. As
soon as the bell rang, Wynne dug down and found another gear, using it
to power home in 4:07.84.

“I love these meets because of the crowds,” he said. “They definitely make me run faster.”

Distance medley relay titles were won by West Springfield TC (Virginia) on the girls side and Westerville TC (Ohio) on the boys.

Over 4,200 athletes from 47 states competed at New Balance Nationals

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