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Millrose 2009
January 31, 2009
By LetsRun.com

Full results can be found here. This is in no way meant to be a definitive recap but it's probably better than what you'd find at other sites.

The men's pole vault was certainly one of Millrose's premier events as Australia's Olympic gold-medalist Steve Hooker was in town to face off with American great Derek Miles. Hometown newspaper New York Times only had one article previewing the Millrose and it was a feature on Hooker. Fast-forward to 18'8" where Hooker was ahead of Miles on jumps. Both men cleared the height and all other competitors were eliminated. Miles missed his three attempts at 19'2", and it looked like the fans might go home disappointed as Hooker missed on his first two attempts. But as the crowd urged him on, Hooker cleared 19'2" easily. Next, Hooker wanted the bar moved up to 19'8", an American all-comers, Madison Square Garden and Millrose record. The tall, wild-haired Australian, with the crowd really urging him on now, sprinted down the runway and made 19'8" look like a joke as he cleared flawlessly to a huge applause. The records he broke were held by Russian pole-vault legend Sergey Bubka. When you're breaking Bubka pole-vaulting records, you know you're having a good day. Next, Hooker made the bold move of asking for the bar to be put at indoor world record height - 20'2", also held by Bubka. And the fans were really into it as MSG had a beat going to aid the crowd in clapping. The first attempt went fairly poorly, but the second and third were narrow misses, especially the third as a slight upper-body brush knocked the bar off its seemingly impossibly high perch. It really looked like Hooker had the world record lined up in his sights, but 3 attempts evaporated and Hooker had to wait for another day.

Catholic boys 4x800m was awesome between Fordham Prep and Farrell. The Fordham guy cut him off in the 3rd leg, then the 4th leg ran easy until he blew away the last lap to win going away as the highly partisan crowd went wild.

The girl's high school mile was your typical high school invitational mile. The girls were out like gangbusters, with Emily Lipari leading the pack through  in 66.9 (almost as fast as the boys would go out later in the meet), then Melanie Thompson took over, leading the girls through in a Millrose record paced 2:23.9. At 800, a pack of 5 was down to a pack of 4 with last year's mile champion Jillian Smith taking over the pace. The 3/4 mark was hit in 3:40 (76.1) and then Jillian Smith threw down, to the delight of the crowd, running 71.8 for the last quarter for a stunning 4:51.88 on the tight wooden planks. Up in the upper deck, at least 13 of Smith's teammates were lined up with a Go Jillian Smith! sign and let's just say they really warmed up their vocal chords for the event. The win marked 4 straight wins for Souther Regional HS as Smith's former teammate Danielle Tauro won the mile in 2007 and 2006.

In the women's high jump, we missed most of the competition, but the fact that elder stateswoman Amy Acuff is still winning delights us and sure delighted the crowd as well. She took down some top Americans including Chaunte Howard.

Stacey Dragila vs. Jenn Stuczynski. Dragila misses at 14'9". Jenn S makes it. Jenn S. attempting US record 15'9.5", 2 near misses.

The boy's high school mile was a big surprise as Rhode Island's New England champion Mark Feigen took the lead and controlled the pace for the first 1/2 mile, coming through in a rather pedestrian 2:14.7. Normally in the boys HS mile at Millrose you see about 8 lead changes in the first 800m, but this time it was under control, the fans didn't know what to do. Soon after that, pace picked up as they ran the next quarter in 63. But then Bobby Andrews took off and stole the show. He ran about 57 for his final quarter and absolutely incinerated the strong field by more than two seconds en route to a 4:17.42 winning time. Bobby is headed to UVA next year to run for Coach Vig. And if you need proof that Vig is a sick, sick recruiter, the 2nd-placer, Brett Johnson, who won NJ MOC last year as junior but was way back in 4:19.61, is also going to UVA.

In the women's mile, a rabbit led the field, probably because the race organizers knew that nobody was going to provide any challenge to reigning champion marathoner/miler Kara Goucher. And they were right. Kara Goucher looked incredible. Yes, that's right, the fastest-ever US marathon debutante can also blow away  elite fields in the mile. We sometimes remember that Geb, not that many years ago, won a World Indoor 1500m title. But Kara looked incredible. Under control the entire way, she powered her way with no competition to a 4:31 full mile, totally dominating in the last quarter. Running about 90-95 miles a week these days, she is the US's greatest woman distance runner right now with her range and abilities. Goucher was doing Ryan Hall-like fist pumps down the straight-away and then didn't lose her stride as she started laughing, smiling and waving along the first turn. It looked like a nice tempo effort for Kara on her east coast trip. Next up for Kara is a 3k in Boston next weekend, then back to Oregon for 8 weeks of 100 miles or more as she attempts to become the first woman to win Boston Marathon since 1994. Then, as she was asked in the lobby after the race, she plans to start a family, or as she put it uncomfortably but not bashfully, "Adam and I are going to give it a heave-ho."

The men's shot-put probably featured the top talent of all the Millrose events. The "Big 4" were all in the Big Apple to battle in an early-season competition in front of an appreciative and boisterous crowd. Dan Taylor, Reese Hoffa, Christian Cantwell and Adam Nelson and some poor guy from Monmouth all entered the throwing circle. The fans love all the throwers and were oooing and ahhhing as the big boys putted it out over 65 feet, but they love Adam Nelson the most, as his pre-throw routine and super-hero physique wow the oglers. On this evening, no thrower really threatened the 70' barrier, but the competition literally came down to the last throw by none other than Adam Nelson. Nelson stormed and huffed into the circle and unleashed the most staggering throw of the day, a put that landed beyond the 68' mark, taking the title and sending the crowd into a loud cheer. The only other highlight of the event came in the first round when Dan Taylor threw and missed the sector by a wide margin, almost taking out a cameraman in the process. After seeing a distance runner pegged in the chest 2 years ago with a bouncing indoor shot, we always keep our eyes out for unfortunate yet humorous indoor shot put incidents.

The college men's 4x800m was a thrilling race between Columbia, Cornell and Villanova. Iowa dropped the baton in the first 30m but the race was not restarted, certainly a disappointing result for a team that traveled from so far away. Georgetown and Seton Hall struggled to stay in the race and did not factor in to the final stages. On the first leg, Cornell's Andy Miller handed off in the lead before Columbia took over, handing off way in front at the second and third exchange. The Lions had like a 3-4 second lead going into the anchor (which is basically the entire straightaway on the tight Millrose track) but then you saw the #1 rule of relay running displayed, 'If you don't have a horse on the anchor, you ain't winning.' Villanova and Cornell had horses on the anchor and the Lions didn't.  On the anchor, Villanova's Sean Tully who was being chased by Cornell's Jimmy Wyner, methodically ate up the deficit as they sprinted methodically around the track. In the end, Tully, ahead the whole way, was able to hold off a late charge from Rojo's boy Wyner to win in just under 7:36 as Wyner had the fastest split of the day - 150.6. 

Villanova coach Marcus O'Sullivan said after the race, "It was a fun race! I'm stressed out just from watching it." Rojo was distraught and said, "We should have won. When you have clearly the best guy in the field on the anchor in a 4 x800, you should get the win unless your coach blows it by screwing up the order."

In the 60m hurdles, Terrence Trammell won with a world leading 7.45, blowing away a strong field including Aries Merritt, and Antwon Hicks.

The regular boy's high school 4x800m did not materialize as an exciting race as Albermarle ended up dominating the day. By the 3rd exchange, reached in just under 6:00, Albermarle were way ahead, but their anchor did put on quite the show, definitely running the split of the day with (on our watch) 1:54.99. His time would have put him in first

Men's 60m was one of the best events of the day for what happened before the race. 1 false start. 2nd false start blamed on ... well we're not sure as no one was DQd. 3rd false start blamed on "rude people" by the PA announcer, as men in tuxes yelled and pointed at people. This time the officials felt like they had to DQ someone and it was sad to see that Travis Pagett, who was set to make his pro debut in lane 2, was kicked out. Once it was publicly announced that rude people in the crowd were to blame, the crowd got a very antsy and started to boo.  Just before the 4th start of the race, the crowd actually started to get rude and make some noise (by mistake as a drunk guy walked in from the beer stand and started to clap to his friends).  In the end, Michael Rodgers beat the doubling back Trammell in 6.51 to 6.54. Shawn Crawford was 3rd. Fans applauded sarcastically as for the first time in 4 tries there weren't 4 shots fired from the firing squad of tuxedoed officials.

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