June 14, 2014
New York, NY-
About a week before he flew out to New York City, Grant Fisher pounded out a workout of 10 by 400 meters.
He averaged under 60 seconds a lap, he says. He took 200 meters of rest.
“After that, my coach asked what he thought I could do,” he recalled Saturday after beating 13 other high school phenoms in the ‘Dream Mile.’ “I said 4:03 or 4:04.”
With that, the 17-year-old high school junior from Grand Blanc, Mich., broke into a sly grin.
“I exceeded expectations,” said Fisher who ran 4:02.02 to win the high school Dream Mile at the adidas Track Classic.
For much of Saturday’s race, it was hard to find Fisher. He wasn’t a front-runner.
He was wearing bib No. 1, though, feeling boxed in by the rail after the pack got off to a quick start. There wasn’t much he could do about that — until the second lap, at least, when he spotted an opening and maneuvered outside.
By then, Austen Dalquist, of Texas, had taken the field through 400 meters in 1:00.66 (actual quarter-mile splits weren’t given out).
It was a tight pack. There, in the middle, with his long hair bouncing, was pre-race favorite Garrett O’Toole. On June 5, at the Adrian Martinez Classic in Concord, Mass., O’Toole had raised eyebrows with a nation-leading mile of 4:01.89.
The first guy to make a move, though, was Josh Evans, of Iowa, who took the lead about 700 meters into the race. Evans pulled the field through 800 meters in 2:02.17, then through 1,200 meters in 3:02.73.
By then, Fisher had worked himself toward the front. With the third lap ending, he glanced at a large screen that showed a live stream of the race, he said. He saw that the pack was still large. “Everyone was still in it,” he said.
As he started to make his move down the final backstretch, he could feel other runners moving with him, he said.
Then, halfway around the last turn, he unleashed his kick. No one could answer.
“With 150 to go, it’s just kind of adrenaline, and trying to get to the line first,” he said.
He stretched his lead coming up the final straight. He crossed the line in 4:02.02 — a seven-second improvement on his personal best.
Coming in behind him was Matthew Maton, of Oregon, who finished in 4:03.23. Then came Blake Haney, of California, in 4:04.08. Evans held on for fourth in 4:04.38.
Dalquist faded to seventh, in 4:05.33. O’Toole came in eighth in 4:06.06.
Fisher, only a junior, likes to call himself an underdog — even as he won the Footlocker Cross Country Championships last December and the New Balance Indoor Nationals in March (where he set his previous mile best of 4:09, Fisher did run 3:50.30 last year at the World Youth Championships which coverts to 4:08.8 for the mile).
Next week, he will run the two-mile at the Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle. He wants to lower his personal best of 8:55. Then, he will race the 1,500 meters at the USATF Juniors.
He’s feeling confident. He and his coach planned his entire training cycle around peaking in June and July.
“This is definitely the best shape I’ve ever been in,” he says.
Which raises a question: Should others consider him a favorite, now? Should Fisher expect more of himself?
“I don’t know,” he said with a sly grin. “I always like going in as an underdog.”
Quick Take: It’s going to be hard for Fisher to be an underdog anymore. Foot Locker Chanp and now a 4:02.02 miler as a junior in high school.
adidas Dream Mile Results
Pl. Athlete Nat. Birth Result
1. Grant FISHER USA 97 4:02.02
2. Matthew MATON USA 96 4:03.23
3. Blake HANEY USA 96 4:04.08
4. Josh EVANS USA 4:04.38
5. Garrett CORCORAN USA 4:05.19
6. Wesley PECTOL USA 4:05.25
7. Austen DALQUIST USA 95 4:05.33
8. Garrett O’TOOLE USA 96 4:06.06
9. Cerake GEBERKIDANE USA 96 4:07.54
10. Conner MANTZ USA 96 4:07.63
11. Rick FAURE USA 96 4:08.64
12. Spencer HAIK USA 95 4:10.21
13. Sukhi KHOSLA USA 97 4:13.77
14. Zackery SUMMERALL USA 96 4:21.57