February 20, 2016
NEW YORK — Making history isn’t supposed to be this easy. For the third straight race in his astounding 2016 indoor season, Drew Hunter, a senior at Loudoun Valley (Va.) High School, took down a high school record, this time lowering the mile mark he set on this same track two weeks ago. Hunter’s 3:57.81 clocking, which was good for fourth in a race won by Johnny Gregorek (3:56.57), shaved .44 of a second off his record run at the Armory Track Invitational on February 6. Already one of only three U.S. high schoolers in the sub-3:59 club (indoors or out), he joined legends Alan Webb and Jim Ryun as the only boys to break 3:58.
Unlike his race two weeks ago, where he stayed at the back of the lead pack before kicking hard to the finish, Hunter was in the thick of things throughout this race, never falling lower than sixth in the 11-man field. He actually came through 809 today slightly slower than he did last time (2:00.77 to 2:00.52) and closed slower over the final 400 as well (57.41 vs. 57.08). The difference was the third quarter, where the pace remained quick thanks to rabbit Ford Palmer: Hunter covered the two laps from 809 to 1209 in 59.66 today versus 60.66 in his 3:58.25 effort.
Though Hunter was a factor in the race, he wasn’t kicking for the win at the end. Once Palmer dropped out with two laps to go, New Zealand’s Julian Matthews took over the lead, with Penn’s Thomas Awad moving up to challenge him at the bell. Gregorek joined the party on the final lap and seized the lead entering the final turn, pulling away to win it in 3:56.57 thanks to a 27.79-second final lap, lowering his 3:57.47 PR from this meet a year ago.
Results and quick takes below.
1 Johnny Gregorek Asics 3:56.57
2 Julian Matthews Saucony 3:56.91
3 Thomas Awad University of Pennslyvania 3:57.03
4 Drew Hunter Loudoun Valley- VA 3:57.81
5 Jake Hurysz New Jersey-New York TC 3:58.10 [3:58.094]
6 John Travers Ireland 3:58.10 [3:58.097]
7 Julian Oakley University of Providence 3:58.34
8 Robert Denault Villanova University 3:58.48
9 Joe Stilin Zap / Reebok 4:02.34
10 Travis Mahoney New Jersey-New York TC 4:04.19
11 John Coghlan Ireland 4:12.79
DNF Ford Palmer New Jersey-New York TC
Quick Take #1: Drew Hunter Is Still Under The Weather But Just Ran 3:57!
We had a good long post-race chat with Hunter (embedded below). He was pleased to have PRd but said he’s still sick and only once put on his spikes since his last mile race. He said because of the illness and lack of speed work, he doesn’t feel smooth yet. If healthy, he thinks he could run 3:55-6.
When asked if he could run 3:53, he said he didn’t think so as he doesn’t view himself as a miler. He said you need 146-7 800 speed to do that and need to be a true miler. That being said, he didn’t rule out running the Bowerman mile outdoors. He said he definitely wants to run at the Pre Classic in some fashion as he wants to race at Hayward.
In terms of the immediate future, he’ll run two relays with his team at indoor HS nationals and then have a long training block and may open up at Penn Relays. He also said he hopes to break 1:50 outdoors racing a local VA guy who just ran 2:25 in the 1k.
After the Millrose Game Wanamaker Mile, Drew was on the USATF.TV post meet show and pro milers Nick Willis and Matt Centrowitz took notice and joined him.
Quick Take #2: A nice bounce back for Johnny Gregorek after his effort last week at the Terrier Invitational in Boston
Gregorek didn’t exactly bomb in Boston (he was third in 3:59.88) but he said he got knocked around in that race and the result was not quite what he wanted. Today’s effort certainly was, though. Gregorek knew the pace wouldn’t lag with NJ*NY TC teammate Palmer leading the way, so his plan was to simply put himself in the mix and race for the win once Palmer dropped out. Gregorek executed perfectly and the outcome could not have been much better.
The outdoor season is the focus for Gregorek, but he and coach Frank Gagliano decided to run some indoor races this year after his outdoor season was cut short due to injury. After today’s success, Gregorek said he’ll now plan to run the 1,500 at USA Indoors next month.
Quick Take #3: A week after a 4:03 relay split, Awad takes down the Ivy League record in 3:57.03
Awad said he was hoping to go under 4:00 today but that 3:57 was basically the dream scenario as he hasn’t done much speed work this season. Last week, he split just 4:03 for 1,600 in a DMR (he went out in 1:59 trying to catch the first place team and couldn’t hold on) but clearly that was not indicative of his fitness as he’s now the fastest indoor miler in Ivy League history (Dartmouth’s Will Geoghegan had the old record at 3:58.04).
Awad’s 3:57.03 now puts him #3 on the NCAA list in the mile, and Awad said he will run that event at NCAAs by default since Penn doesn’t have a DMR qualifier and Awad hasn’t run a 3k or a 5k this year. Indoor isn’t a big priority for Awad, however: he believes his best event is the 5k (his PR is 13:33) and he’s looking to run his best at the Olympic Trials in July.
Talk about this race on our world famous fan forum: DREW HUNTER 3:57.81.