By Tim Loh for LetsRun.com, LetsRun.com staff
February 16, 2013
NEW YORK – Records dropped left and right at the 106th Millrose Games Saturday night.
Bernard Lagat grabbed the 2-mile mantle from Galen Rupp; Mary Cain continued her historic high-school season in the women’s mile; last-minute entry Erik Sowinski surged into the spotlight with an upset win at 600 meters; and Lopez Lomong took down the Wannamaker and Armory records in the mile.
Behind them, high-school senior Edward Cheserek bested Gerry Lindgren’s nearly half-century-old two-mile record and Tulsa’s Chris O’Hare set the NCAA record for the mile.
Women’s Wanamaker Mile: Mary Cain Steals the Show in 2nd
Before the race began, Mary Cain, 16, stood at the outside of lane six, seeded last.
When her name was called out, though, the sold-out Armory crowd – about 10 miles south of her home in Bronxville, N.Y. – erupted with some of the night’s loudest cheers.
Cain smiled quickly, took in a deep breath, and clenched her fists.
Once the racing began, she looked like she belonged.
From the gun, she settled into second, behind Sara Vaughn. With techno music blaring, she came through the quarter-mile in about 67, and the half-mile in about 2:15. But then she faded into the pack – which included Oregon’s Jordan Hasay, Colorado’s Emma Coburn, and Sarah (Bowman) Brown – while Canadian Olympians Sheila Reid and Hilary Stellingwerff took control of the race.
But on the penultimate lap, Cain came back in contention.
On the last lap, she moved into third place on the first turn, then into second – chasing only Reid – on the backstretch.
With Kate Grace giving chase down the final stretch, Cain maintained her stride to finish second in 4:28.25, smashing her personal best and previous high-school record by four seconds.
Afterwards, she joined winner Sheila Reid (4:27.02) for a victory lap to Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.”
Then, as she tried to leave the track, a meet official called out: “Mary! Mary!”
She turned and smiled; jogged across the track and posed in front of the giant clock showing her record time.
Men’s 600 meters: The Erik Sowinski!? Show
By Thursday morning, Erik Sowinski, 22, who was All-American at 800 meters last spring representing the University of Iowa, wasn’t even slated to come to New York.
Then Meet Director Ray Flynn called him with news: Kevin Borlee had scratched, opening a final spot for him to race.
“It’s official!” Sowinski Tweeted on Valentine’s Day. “I will be running the 600m at Millrose Games this Saturday!”
Even though on a European tour that saw him race in Austria, Moscow, and Germany, Sowinsky had run 1:15.99 for 600 meters in Moscow on February 3 (a time that would have been the US #3 heading into the year had Duane Solomon not run an AR of 1:15.70 and Cas Loxsom not run 1:15.79), Sowinski wasn’t grabbing much of the limelight prior to the race.
The race was billed as a showdown between Solomon and Nick Symmonds, who were 4th and 5th at the 800 meters in the London Olympics, both cracking sub 1:43.
The race went out as expected: Solomon pulled maybe 25 meters ahead of Symmonds, cruising through 400 meters in about 48 seconds — while Symmonds was trying to pull himself out of last place.
Heading down the final backstretch, Symmonds was making up ground, but not nearly fast enough to get himself into contention. Meanwhile, Solomon appeared in command, though Sowinski and Jarrin Solomon of Trinidad & Tobago were tight on his shoulder.
Sowinski surged over the last 100 meters and as he barreled up the final stretch, both Solomons in front of him were fading.
Sowinski got the win in 1:15.61 and the American record. (The IAAF does not recognize the 600m as an official record distance. USATF does but needs to include it on its website). It was hard to find Sowinski afterwards, as the men’s two-mile was gearing up to start. Meet officials and a couple of fellow athletes who lingered near the finish line didn’t know a lot about him.
Symmonds, however, recalled racing him last spring at the Olympic Trials — and noting his leg speed.
“I’m glad they have to run another 200 meters at USAs,” Symmonds said, referring to Sowinski and Solomon.
Symmonds, meanwhile, had come to New York straight from Mexico, where he’s been training with Leo Manzano.
He acknowledged that the likes of Sowinski and Solomon would make it harder for him to defend his five consecutive 800-meter U.S. championships this summer.
“But that’s what’s great about track,” he said. “You can fly right in, step on the track and get an American record.”
Men’s Two Mile: Bernard Lagat Gets Another American Record
Bernard Lagat, 38, showed up to New York with a number in mind: 8:08.7.
That’s what he and Coach James Li thought he could run for the two-mile.
He wouldn’t hit a single split Saturday, but he’d still go home with the American record.
Lagat led a tight group of Evan Jager, Cam Levins and Andrew Bumbalough through the mile in 4:06 – two seconds behind his goal split.
He passed through 1.5 miles in about 6:08.
“When I heard four laps to go, I thought, ‘I still have a chance, even though I missed my coach’s splits,’” he said later, seated barefoot in the press area as his son played with his spikes.
As the New York crowd typically does when Lagat enters the final 400 of anything, spectators rose their feet and thundered over the final two laps. Lagat dropped Bumbalough, Levins and Jager – and started closing in on lapping high-school senior Edward Cheserek.
The usually smooth sailing Lagat was spent as he crossed the line in 8:09:49, just ahead of Rupp’s 8:09.72. The American record was Lagat’s once again. At least for one week, Lagat holds the American records for 1500m, the mile, the 3000m, the two mile, and the 5000m.
Being nearly lapped by Lagat, helped Cheserek run 8:39.15, lopping off 0.85 seconds from Gerry Lindgren’s 49-year-old high school mark two-mile mark.
“I was worried Lagat might come up and catch me,” Cheserek admitted later.
Lagat had nothing but praise to offer meet officials, the city of New York and Cheserek.
He’d hoped to go out slightly faster, but he was happy nonetheless.
“My agent told me, ‘You didn’t get what’s on the paper, but you know what? A record is a record,’” he said.
Men’s Wannamaker Mile: Lomong Over Centro, O’Hare Impresses
With a quarter-mile to go in the mile, Matt Centrowitz, 23, appeared primed to repeat as Wannamaker champion.
But on the penultimate lap, University of Tulsa’s Chris O’Hare, the guy who put on a clinic at the 2012 NCAA indoor championships, surged past him – opening a path for Lopez Lomong to follow.
“It’s not every day you get to pass Centro in the mile,” O’Hare mused.
Lomong, who’d been waiting for any opening, never relinquished the lead. In his first showing here, he cruised to a Millrose Games and Armory record time of 3:51.21.
Centrowitz reclaimed second place for 3:51.34.
O’Hare hung on for fourth in 3:52.98, crushing the collegiate record of 3:54.54 set last year here.
Moments later, backed along the lane-six railing by a scrum of reporters, Centrowitz said he’d miscalculated for the split-second it took O’Hare and Lomong to surge past him – a more fatal error in indoor track than outdoors, he said.
But he appeared happy with everything else: his time, his fitness level and his friends and family cheering boisterously from the balcony behind him. They’d draped a banner from the rafters:
“CENTRO-NATION: GO ROCKAPULCO.”
Lopez said he’d return to the Armory in a couple of weeks to run a 5,000 meters.
O’Hare grew philosophical about his third place and NCAA record.
“I’d be an idiot to sit back and try to beat (Centrowitz and Lomong) in the last 50 meters. I went for it when I could – maybe I was a little naïve, but…”
His next race, he said, will be at the far end of a 12-hour bus ride from Tulsa to Birmingham, Ala.: the Conference USA Championships.
Montano Gets American Record in 600m
In the women’s 600m, Alysia Montano crushed the field the final lap to get win in 1:23.59 and the American record. To show how rarely this event is contested the previous American record was 1:26.56 (Yes she nearly broke it by 3 seconds).
Nonethless, Montano’s run was impressive and only .15 off of the world’s best of 1:23.44.
World 800m junior champion Ajee Wilson, who recently turned pro for adidas, broke the previous American record by finishing second in 1:26.45.
(The IAAF does not recognize the 600m as an official record distance. USATF does recognize it, but does not list the record on its website)
- IAAF Recap In other events, 35-year old “Doc” Patton won the 60 in a world leading 6.50 seconds which was a Armory record and PR. Oregon’s English Gardner beat Jeneba Tarmoh in the women’s 60 as Jenn Suhr won the PV and Inika McPherson was the surprise win over Olympic silver medalist Brigetta Barrett in the HJ. Janay DeLoach beat out Olympic and World champ Brittney Reese in the LJ with 6.90m for 2nd best in 2013.
Distance Results and Discussion:
Women’s Mile: Mary Cain!!! 4:28.25 in 2nd
|2||Mary Cain||Bronxville, NY||4:28.25|
|4||Emma Coburn||University of Colorado||4:29.86|
|5||Abbey D’Agostino||Dartmouth College||4:30.03|
|6||Hilary Stellingwerff||New Balance||4:30.50|
|7||Sarah Brown||New Balance||4:31.26|
|8||Emily Infeld||Nike Oregon TC||4:31.50|
|10||Jordan Hasay||University of Oregon||4:36.21|
|DNF||Sara Vaughn||Bowerman AC|
Men’s 600m: Duane Solomon, Nick Symmonds, Erik Sowinski?! Breaks the American Record
On the boards: Erik Sowinski NEW AR 1:15.61
|3||Jarrin Solomon||Trinidad & Tobago||1:16.19|
|5||Michael Rutt||NJ/NY TC||1:17.68|
|6||Julius Mutekanga||New Balance||1:19.10|
Lagat Digs Deep for Another American Record, Robert Cheserek Breaks High School Record
|8||Edward Cheserek||Newark, NJ||8:39.15|
|DNF||Taylor Milne||New Balance|
|DNF||James Kostelnik||Duke University|
Women’s 600m: Alysia Montano Gets American Record
|6||Emma Gallagher||Garden City, NY||1:32.06|
On the boards: Montano : how fast is 1:23 (600m)???
Wanamaker Mile: Lopez Lomong Over Centrowitz, Chris O’Hare Smashes Collegiate Record in Mile
On the boards: LOMONG FTW 3:51.26!