MEMORABLE MILES CAP OFF HOKA ONE ONE ADRIAN MARTINEZ CLASSIC
**Prep Thomas Ratcliffe Goes 4:01.5 On Home Track**
By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom
(c) 2016 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(Used with permission)
CONCORD, MA, USA (02-June) -- A pair of scintillating miles capped off a busy
evening of racing here at the Hoka One One Adrian Martinez Classic held
in somewhat chilly and windy conditions. Sam Penzenstadler and Brie
Felnagle claimed victories with times of 3:57.80 and 4:32.72,
respectively, though it was local high school senior Thomas Ratcliffe
who stole the headlines with a drama-filled 4:01.50 state record mile.
"This was an incredible meet, probably the most incredible meet I've ever
been to," said Penzenstadler, looking back over the track and fans.
"It's just a great atmosphere, people all around cheering, and a high
schooler racing 4:01. Incredible race by him -- he made me go faster!"
Nestled amid ball fields and a quaint New England neighborhood, Emerson Field
was abuzz with anticipation. Some of America's best had descended upon
the suburb of Boston seeking season-best marks and possibly qualifying
times for next month's USA Olympic Trials. Penzenstadler, a Loyola
(Ill.) alum now running for Matt Centrowitz's District Track Club in
Washington, D.C., had never broken four minutes outdoors (he'd run
Through 800m on pace for a sub-four clocking and through 1200 meters in 3:00.3, the crowd's attention
was divided between Penzenstadler and Ratcliffe. At the front, Penzenstadler was
subtly being reeled in by the field, all the while Ratcliffe was
injecting a fierce move down the backstretch gaining three spots.
"Four minutes was the goal," said Ratcliffe, a student athlete at nearby
Concord Carlisle High School whose father, Tom, is a well known runners'
agent. "The last lap was a little bit tough."
At the line, Penzenstadler was able to edge Hoka One One's Eric Avila 3:57.80 to
3:58.23, before Syracuse and Providence collegians Joel Hubbard
(3:59.18) and Julian Oakley (3:59.33) rounded out the top four.
Ratcliffe came barreling down the stretch, drawing a roaring ovation
from his hometown crowd for eighth spot. Yet no one at first knew
whether his final time was under four minutes.
As soon as Ratcliffe finished, a brief power surge knocked out the timing displays
that were on the infield. As the crowd went silent for ten seconds,
4:01.50 suddenly flashed on the board. Though it wasn't a sub-four time,
the crowd still appreciated the 18-year-old's effort. His time was good
enough to break the Massachusetts prep state record, previously owned
by Garrett O'Toole's 4:01.89 from this same meet two years ago.
"It was a big adjustment. Getting pulled along was really nice," said
Ratcliffe, whose time ranks as the fourth best prep mark this season. As
for the fan support, Ratcliffe was taken a back. "Honestly,
unbelievable. I've never really seen anything like that before for track
and field, let alone just a high schooler like me. That was honestly
the best moment of the night, seeing those guys [friends, family, and
teammates] all supporting me."
Ratcliffe may attempt another four-minute mile in the coming weeks, but that is still to be
determined. He will run for Stanford University next year.
FELNAGLE SETS USA-LEADING MARK WITH 4:32.72 WIN
The women's mile saw a USA-leading mark thrown down by North Carolina alum
Brie Felnagle. The 2007 NCAA champion at 1500m dueled with a fellow
former NCAA champ --2014 indoor mile winner Emily Lipari, now running
for the B.A.A. High Performance Team-- as well as Michigan alum Brook
A blanket could have covered a majority of the field
up front through the bell lap before Felnagle turned to another gear
with her sprint.
"I just wanted to put myself in it and be
competitive and I kind of found myself in the lead which I wasn't
planning, but I felt good and went with it and it was awesome," said
Felnagle, whose winning time was 4:32.72. Felnagle still needs the 1500m
Olympic Trials automatic standard (4:09.50), and will focus on that
event rather than the 5000m.
Lipari (4:33.83) and Angela
Bizzarri, an NCAA Cross Country champion herself while at Illinois,
rounded out the podium in 4:34.01. Handler faded to eighth in 4:36.98.
"I think I'm right there with my fitness, and competing well was a good
indication about that," said Felnagle. "I'm definitely feeling good
GRUNEWALD, SANTANA KICK TO 5000M WINS
Once the pace makers stepped off the track roughly three kilometers (9:15)
into the women's 5000m, it became the Kim Smith show. The Kiwi mother of
one pounded lap after lap in roughly 75 seconds, leading Gabe
Grunewald, Sarah Pagano, and Rachel Cliff away from the peloton.
With the wind dashing any hopes of super fast times, the quartet labored on
at a decent clip hoping to make the most of the evening.
It was at the bell that Grunewald came up on Smith's shoulder and then swiftly
went by as soon as she reached 300 meters to go. Using her supreme
1500m speed, Grunewald increased her lead over the final circuit, towing
the B.A.A.'s Pagano a few steps behind.
Coming up on lapped traffic, Grunewald crossed the post first with 15:25.40 showing on the
clock, followed by Pagano in 15:26.79 (a personal best by 14 seconds).
Cliff (15:29.23), Smith (15:32.10), and Kaitlin Gregg Goodman (15:37.51)
rounded out the top five. Grunewald just missed the USA Olympic Trials
automatic qualifying time of 15:25.00
"It was a great race,
great competition," said Grunewald. "I think we did our best. I would
have liked to have been a little bit stronger in the last K or
K-and-a-half to maybe help keep the pace going, but I just wasn't sure
what I had left. I tried to save it and have a strong finish."
Grunewald said she'll race the 5000m again in Portland on June 12, aiming for the 15:25.00 qualifying mark.
Back in a distant seventh was 2015 NCAA 5000m champion Emily Sisson, running 16:01.21.
Santana, a Puerto Rican national who runs for the adidas Garden State
Track Club, ran to a lifetime best in the men's 5000m, breaking away
from Lex Williams and Tim Ritchie in the final 800 meters. Finishing in
13:48.10, Santana set a PB by 12 seconds. Williams and Ritchie's times
were 13:51.49 and 13:56.20. All three fell well short of the USA
Olympic Trials automatic qualifying time of 13:28.00.
FRICKER, JOHNSON TAKE 800M TITLES AS PREP WATSON RUNS 2:03.06
in the men's mile, a prep star was the talk of the crowd in the women's
800m. Sammy Watson, 16, the New York junior who won the high school
400m at the Prefontaine Classic last week, toed the line for the first
time against professionals here.
More nervous here than last
week at historic Hayward Field, Watson kept pace with Brooks Sports'
McKayla Fricker for two laps, though didn't quite have enough left in
the tank to overtake her elder rival.
Fricker won going away in 2:02.77 to Watson's 2:03.06, a personal best. Bethany Praska was third in 2:03.31.
"I think having the right mindset and not letting the competition get in
your head has helped me," said Watson. She's now just 6/100ths of a
second shy of the Olympic Trials automatic qualifying standard. "It was a
great race and I'm really happy with the new PR... I was really
nervous, shaking, but I'm glad it went well."
Watson will now travel six-plus hours back home in the morning to race at her New York
State meet on Friday afternoon. She's slated to run the 400m and 1500m.
For the men, Brandon Johnson and Drew Windle were a step up on the field,
running first and second in 1:46.72 and 1:46.81, respectively. Finally
healthy after a painful year of foot injuries in 2015 (a torn plantar
and stress fractures in his heel), Johnson was thankful to come away
with another victory this evening. He's now won four races this outdoor
season, and will not race again until the Olympic Trials.
"Anytime I can go to a race and come out with the victory, especially in cold
and windy conditions, it's really good," he said. "Coming back after
injuries and just building and getting strong, things have been going
good... Things are looking up and I'm excited going into the Trials."
Olympian and New England native Andrew Wheating placed fourth in the 800m in 1:47.33.
Brie Felnagle (r) leads Brook Handler, Emily Lipari and Lianne Farber
in the mile at the Hoka One One Adrian Martinez Classic (photo by Chris
Lotsbom for Race Results Weekly)