FISHER AVOIDS DISASTER, REPEATS AS NEW BALANCE NATIONALS INDOOR MILE CHAMPION
By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom
(c) 2015 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
YORK (15-Mar) — For roughly 1,550 meters of the boys’ championship
mile at New Balance Nationals Indoor here today, Michigan’s Grant
Fisher looked unstoppable. The 17-year-old from Michigan came in as the
class of the field, and assumed his position well out in front of the
pack from the gun. Shooting for a 4:00-clocking, Fisher looked to be on
his way to a record-setting mark in the discipline. Then disaster
struck, opening up the possibility for a monumental upset and major
Through the quarter mile in roughly 59 seconds
and halfway in 1:59, Fisher was a man on a mission. Although he slowed
slightly with 600 meters remaining, the high school senior refocused at
the sound of the bell, beginning his kick with vengeance on the
backstretch. No competitor was within 15 meters of the two-time
Gatorade National Cross Country Runner of the Year award winner.
an instant it looked like a four-minute time (or even lower) was
possible, as Fisher turned to a gear previously not seen at these
championships. Pumping his arms and legs in perfect form, Fisher
entered the final bend when the unthinkable happened.
into the turn, Fisher’s spikes caught the metal rail on the inside of
the track. Momentarily stumbling, Fisher took about three steps inside
the rail, then another step on the green colored infield surface
adjacent to the long jump pits — well off the banked racing surface.
and surprised, Fisher quickly made his way back onto the track,
finishing the final 50 meters in lane two and clocking a final time of
4:03.54. Despite the mishap, Fisher’s time was a meet record, bettering
Alex Hatz’s 4:05.50 mark from 2010. (In this reporter’s opinion,
without the stumble Fisher would have run between 4:00-high and
For minutes after the race’s conclusion, The
Armory’s crowd seemed hushed, unsure if Fisher would be disqualified.
From the video webcast, the usually upbeat Armory crowd could be heard
murmuring, awkwardly silent for a moment.
On the meet’s
webcast, Fisher appeared baffled in a post-race interview and simply
stated that he leaned too far into the turn. He said it was a near
perfect race up until that point.
Had there been a protest and
disqualification for Fisher making multiple steps inside the rail,
James Burke of Port Jefferson (NY) –the runner-up– would have been
given the gold medal thanks to his 4:08.48 performance.
FRAZIER RUNS AWAY WITH GIRLS 2 MILE TITLE, THOUGH DENIED THIRD CROWN
Frazier opened up a sizable gap within the first 800 meters of the
girls’ 2 mile and never looked back. Hitting halfway in 5:02, the
senior from North Carolina kept her foot on the gas to put away any
thoughts of the field catching back up.
The North Carolina
State University-bound Frazier broke the tape in 10:02.86, a very fast
time considering that less than 48 hours before she finished second in
the 5000m (16:12.81). Her margin of victory in the 2 mile was 17
Frazier wasn’t done yet, though. An hour and a half
later, she returned to the oval for the girls’ mile. Taking the lead
with 800 meters to go, it appeared a second title on day three of these
championships may become reality.
Nevada Mareno, also of North
Carolina, would play spoiler, though, kicking past Frazier with 100
meters left to win in 4:43.23. Frazier placed second in 4:44.48.
HUNTER WINS A ROUGH BOYS’ 2 MILE
Boys’ 2 mile was a three man contest, as Andrew Hunter, Levi Thomet,
and Alex Ostberg battled ferociously over the last kilometer. The trio
were so compact that elbows were briefly exchanged both around the
bends and in the straightaways of the 200m banked oval.
was the first to try and make the winning break with 300 meters to go,
matched seconds later by Thomet. On the backstretch with 150 meters
remaining, it was Thomet’s turn to go, briefly exchanging another elbow
before Hunter shut the door on the pass attempt.
Thomet –a native of Kodiak, Alaska– went again with 75 meters left.
Yet it was Hunter (Purcellville, VA) gaining the final and ultimate
edge, prevailing by a step in 8:48.22. He’d grab the finish tape in
celebration while Thomet finished an oh-so-close second in 8:48.32.
Ostberg, who had run the 4xMile yesterday with his Darien, Conn., teammates, was third in 8:48.88.
FAST 800M WINS FOR BELL, WATSON
Ohio’s Brian Bell had to run all the way through the line in the seeded
section of the boys’ 800m to claim the national crown in 1:51.08.
Shortly before the race began, Bell was upgraded from heat two to the
third and fastest seeded section. The late adjustment caused for some
In heat two minutes before, Brandon McGorty –brother of
Stanford University standout Sean McGorty– ran a blistering 1:51.50.
Had Bell not bettered his mark, McGorty would’ve won the title thanks
to medals being awarded based on time.
Sammy Watson of Rush
Henrietta (NY) won the girls 800m in 2:08.13. It was Watson’s second
title of the weekend, having been part of the national record setting
sprint medley relay team on Saturday.