PA Distance Festival/Meet of Champions

The meet is coming up on June 2nd at West Chester Henderson High School and I am happy to say I just took a half day off of work to make sure I can come see the races. It will be my first time attending since 2010 when Tom Mallon "tied" Paul Vandegrift's record in the 800m. Assuming Coach Kelly is cool with it, I'm hoping to get some video coverage of the races, similar to states and posting them up. So somebody with an account can tell that guy on penntrack we may have some coverage for him.

Early speculation around the races says that John Lewis is in for 800m, Peretta is a maybe for either the mile or the 8 (hopefully he can make the trip), Jaxson Hoey should be there for the mile and I'd imagine his teammates like Josh and maybe Barton/Sappey will be toeing the line as well. I've also heard Zach Brehm is going to be involved in the mile, looking to better his mark he set two years ago at this meet. Sam Ritz's inclusion in Prefontaine likely counts him out from this meet, but it sounds like Coach K has brought in some out of staters to participate in the championship races and give PA a chance to prove itself against the top competition from the area in a true of meet of champs type set up.

I've heard rumors guys like Kevin James and Billy McDevitt are expected to be involved and I would think it's likely the meet will grab plenty of east coast talent. If you guys know of anyone else planning to enter, let me know! It should be a fantastic meet!

Also, just a friendly reminder, this meet is an open meet for all athletes. If you are looking to get in one more race, regardless of your ability, sign up and enjoy an awesome race in ideal conditions with great atmosphere and competition. The open races start at 5:45 for the 400m, 800m, 200m and Mile. Then there will be some elite races mixed in with the HS meet of champions events starting around 7:30 (all this information and more can be found on milesplit or the meet website)

Also, again with Coach K's permission, I'd like to bring my batch of etrain shirts to the meet and see if I can find any takers. The goal is to the leave the meet with no shirts remaining ....

As was the case with states, if you see me feel free to come talk and introduce yourself. Always like to hear from readers.

If you have questions, best person to go through is Coach Kelly or Coach Burns, but I will do my best to answer any questions you might have if you need help. My email is if needed.

Anyway, enough talk, continue to discuss and feel free to click on over to Garrett Zatlin's preview for the NCAA regional action!

See you kids soon,

Regionals Preview

By Garrett Zatlin

Two meets are the only thing that separates us from watching the top collegiates in the nation go at it in one big showdown! However, the eastern and western preliminaries are sure to be interesting. There will be surprising scratches and big names wont make the cut…and that’s what makes it that much fun.

Below are the preliminary entries for each event. These sheets are what I’m going off of

*Note: Keep in mind that only the top 12 advance and that the races become extremely tactical. While I’m trying my best to predict where everyone will place, I’m more focused on the top 12 that will move on to Eugene

East Region
There aren’t too many surprises here in terms of who’s entered. However, that just means that the field will be extremely deep. Brannon Kidder (PSU) leads the field with a time of 1:45.58 with McBride and Amankwah close behind in 1:45.87 and 1:45.91. There’s no reason to believe that these three established aces wont go through. After that it gets a little tricky. The sophomores of this field are scattered with talent and varying levels of experience. Engels, Arroyo, Capwell, and Murphy are favorites of mine to move on while other sophomores like Lahbi, Henderson, and Piazza may lack big stage experience. Brendon Fish ofColumbia is my sleeper to make it out of regionals. 

12. Julian Parker (LSU) 6. Clayton Murphy (Akron)
11. Brendon Fish (Columbia)5. Billy Ledder (Georgetown)
10. Andres Arroyo (Florida)4. Jesse Garn (Binghamton)
9. Dylan Capwell (Monmouth)3. Brannon Kidder (PSU)
8. Craig Engels (Ole Miss.)2. Alex Amankwah (Alabama)
7. Ryan Schnulle (Florida)1. Brandon McBride (Miss. St.)

PA Alum to watch: Chris Sanders (LaSalle)

West Region
Upon analysis, this field lacks the depth and firepower that the East region does. Shaquille Walker (BYU) has the fastest time with a 1:45.78. However, it is the favorite Edward Kemboi (Iowa St.), that will grab the attention. He is currently seeded at a 1:46.17. Trying to pick the rest of the top 12 is a little harder. Jesse Jorgensen (Wash St.) ran a huge PR of 1:46.17 at PAC 12’s but hasn’t shown anything close to that before then. The same goes for Patrick Peterson of Iowa State who has only broken 1:50 once this season (1:48.14)While their past racing has been spotty, guys like Hartle, Kibet, Low, and Hernandez have been consistently throwing down good times. PA’s Luke Lefebure is also seeded at 8th and has an excellent chance at making it out to NCAA’s. My sleeper in this race is Will Crocker of Missouri.

12. Brandon Moore (Baylor)6. Joe McAsey (Illinois)
11. Jesse Jorgenson (Wash. St.)5. Ricky Faure (Wyoming)
10. Luke Lefebure (Stanford)4. Collins Kibet (Arizona)
9. Chris Low (Long Beach St.)3. Nick Hartle (UCLA)
8. Will Crocker (Missouri)2. Shaquille Walker (BYU)
7. Hector Hernandez (Texas A&M)1. Edward Kemboi (Iowa St.)

PA alum to watch: Luke Lefebure (Stanford)

East Region
The man who took down Cheserek headlines this race with his 3:39.53. However, Jordy Williamsz (Villanova) is not the fastest man in this field. Robby Creese (PSU) has that honor with a time of 3:39.02. I expect the race to be a sit and kick with these two going 1-2. The rest of the field consists of mainly Georgetown and Villanova men battling for the top 12 spots. Graham Crawford will contend for a spot with back-to-back impressive 1500’s on his resume. However, his poor performance in a tactical ACC 1500worries me about how he’ll perform later on. Consistency has been big with guys like Hunter and Holden and I’m hoping they’ll show up big time. There are plenty other names out there that I’m banking on based off of their consistency. My sleeper pick for this race is PA’s own, Nate McClafferty (Duke).

While it’s important to figure out who the top 12 will be, we must also ask what could’ve been. Thomas Awad (Penn) and Justyn Knight (Syracuse) both shockingly drop the 1500 for the 5000. My thoughts are that this year was simply too deep even with their blistering times and they are going to prepare themselves for next year. Smart move on their part? That is to be determined.

12. Dusty Solis (Villanova)6. Robert Denault (Villanova)
11. Simon Holden (Wake Forest) 5. Rorey Hunter (Indiana)
10. Cole Williams (Georgetown)4. Ahmed Bile (Georgetown) 
9. Nate McClafferty (Duke)3. Amos Bartelsmeyer (Georgetown)
8. Graham Crawford (NCST)2. Robby Creese (PSU)
7. Mike Marsella (UVA)1. Jordy Williamsz (Villanova)

PA alum to watch: Nate McClafferty (Duke), Ned Willig (Brown)

While it’s important to figure out who the top 12 will be, we must also ask what could’ve been. Thomas Awad (Penn) and Justyn Knight (Syracuse) both shockingly drop the 1500 for the 5000. My thoughts are that this year was simply too deep even with their blistering times and they are going to prepare themselves for next year. Smart move on their part? That is to be determined

West Region
It’s tough to put into words just how stacked this field is. Four men in this field have run under 3:40. Noelle, Soratos, Joyce, and Winn make up those four who have dipped under the mark with Peter Callahan only .37 seconds away from itThrow in the rise of Blake Haney, the PAC 12 champ Izaic Yorks, and PA alum Tom Coyle and this field just got real interesting. What about Adam Palamer (Tulsa) and David Elliot (Boise St.)? Palamer has run 3:41.60 this season with his next best time (ever) being a 3:45.41. Elliot has only broke 3:50 once this season. While he did run 3:41.61, he never got close to there again. I’m not loving results like that and makes me think twice about putting them in my top 12. My sleeper in this race goes to frosh, Joe Hardy of Wisconsin. 

12. Joe Hardy (Wisconsin)6. Daniel Winn (Oregon)
11. Tom Coyle (Stanford)5. Peter Callahan (New Mexico)
10. Jake Hurysz (Colorado)4. Johnny Gregorek (Oregon)
9. Blake Haney (Oregon) 3. Thomas Joyce (California)
8. Izaic Yorks (Washington)2. Chad Noelle (OKST)
7. Ben Saarel (Colorado)1. Cristian Soratos (Montana St.)

PA alum to watch: Thomas Coyle (Stanford)

In all of this hype, we might seem to forget that one stud is missing. Did Kirubel Erassa actually drop the 1500? You bet he did and he did it in favor of the 5000. Wouldn’t be my choice but that’s just me. Along with Erassa was Sean McGorty who decided the 5k was also his best choice

East Region
Having never run the steeplechase and having just starting to follow it this season, it’s tough to say exactly who should get in. However, I really like FSU’s Zak Seddon and what he’s done this season by grabbing wins left and right. I honestly believe he has a chance to threaten Kebenei if NCAA’s becomes too tactical. However, he’ll also have to deal with the 1 and 2 seeds ahead of him. Ole Hessebjerg (Eastern Kentucky) and Edwin Kibichiy (Louisville) have run 8:33.22 and 8:33.78 respectively this season. They will be part of the massive pack attempting to take down Kebenei. Other guys I’m really looking for are Mason Ferlic (Michigan) and Kyle King (UVA). Both have run decently throughout the year but have really excelled at this event. I’m also looking at PA’s Ryan Gil to step up and grab spot to Oregon. My sleeper goes Penn’s Nick Tuck.

12. Stuart Robertson (Virginia Tech)6. Nick Tuck (Penn)
11. Joshua Roche (Indiana)5. Kyle King (UVA)
10. Darren Fahy (Georgetown)4. Mason Ferlic (Michigan)
9. Ryan Gil (Georgetown)3. Ole Hessebjerg (Eastern Kentucky)
8. Mark Parrish (Florida) 2. Edwin Kibichiy (Louisville)
7. Jakob Abrahamsen (Eastern. Kentucky) 1. Zak Seddon (FSU)

PA alum to watch: Ryan Gil (Georgetown), Daniel Jaskowak (Virginia Tech)

West Region
Stanley Kebenei of Arkansas is the man everyone is watching in this event. He has dominated this event this season with a time of 8:23.93. The next closest is roughly 10 seconds off. While we all know who the favorite is, the other names draw some attention. After solid performances in almost every event, the mid distance specialist, Anthony Rotich (UTEP) has decided the 3kSt is for him. He holds a time of 8:39.70. The second seed is Emil Blomberg (UT-Arlington) who ran an unexpected 8:36.98 in mid April. Blake Theroux brings two other teammates with him in this event. He ran 8:43.77 back in early April at the Stanford Invite. I’m also interested to see how Connor Winter (Colordao) does in the big race along with Penn Relays champ Isaac Spencer of Texas A&M. My sleeper choice isTanguy Pepiot (Oregon), or better known as, the runnerwho celebrated too early

12. Steven Flint (BYU)6. Colby Wilson (Utah St.)
11. Isaac Spencer (Texas A&M)5. Frankline Tonui (Arkansas)
10. Tanguy Pepiot (Oregon)4. Emil Blomberg (UT-Arlington)
9. Adam Peterman (Colorado)3. Blake Theroux (Colorado)
8. Mike Hardy (Weber St.)2. Anthony Rotich (UTEP)
7. Connor Winter (Colorado)1. Stanley Kebenei (Arkansas)

East Region
The top three in this race could make it exciting. As mentioned above, Knight and Awad have both opted out of the 1500 for the 5000. Awad has run 13:33.29 while Knight has run 13:34.86. They will most likely battle it out with Virginia Tech’s Thomas Curtin who has put together some excellent wins and has a season best of 13:44.03. Behind this trio things get interesting with guys going on the double. Mason Ferlic (Michigan) and Graham Crawford (NCST) are two of those men. I’m not sure how well these two will hold up to the challenging double (although they do get a full day’s rest) but I feel like Ferlic will do well.Rich Peters (Boston U.) deserves some love as he has run 13:46.06 this season. Let’s also not forget about Kentucky’s Robert Sandlin who beat out Craig Lutz for the Penn Relays 5k title. As for my sleeper in this race, Ryan Mahalsky (Lehigh) will place 11th and head to nationals.

12. Colin Bennie (Syracuse)6. Patrick Tiernan (Villanova)
11. Ryan Mahalsky (Lehigh)5. Rick Peters (Boston U.)
10. Jacob Thomson (NCST)4. Robert Sandlin (Kentucky)
9. Mason Ferlic (Michigan)3. Thomas Curtin (Virginia Tech)
8. Willy Fink (Eastern Michigan)2. Thomas Awad (Penn)
7. Michael Clevenger (Notre Dame)1. Justyn Knight (Syracuse)

PA alum to watch: Glen Burkhardt (PSU), Matt Fischer (PSU)

West Region
The west region continues to stay fast with a slew of excellent talent throughout the entire field. Kemoy Campbell (Arkansas) holds the fastest time in the field with an eye-opening 13:20.39. While his time may be impressive, it’s the duo of Cheserek and Jenkins that will be gaining the attention as they look to capitalize on their successful indoor season. The duo will have their hands full, with a star-studded field from three powerhouses of Oregon, Stanford, Colorado. Kemoy Campbell, Kirubel Erassa, and Sam Stabler are the only three in the top 12entries not from Oregon, Colorado, or Stanford. Don’t forget that McGorty and Erassa dropped the 1500 for this event so they will be gunning for the front. In a field full of stars only 12 can move on. Futsum Zienasellassie (Northern Arizona) is one of the stars and is my sleeper for this event.

12. Futsum Zienasellassie (N. Arizona)6. Sean McGorty (Stanford)
11. Jack Keelan (Stanford)5. Pierce Murphy (Colorado)
10. Will Geoghegan (Oregon)4. Kirubel Erassa (OKST)
9. Erik Olson (Stanford)3. Eric Jenkins (Oregon)
8. Sam Stabler (Lamar)2. Edward Cheserek (Oregon)
7. Morgan Pierson (Colorado)1. Kemoy Campbell (Akransas)

East Region
While the field may not be as fast as the west on paper, there are still plenty of hidden gems. Martin Hehir of Syracuse is the top dog amongst him competition with a time of 28:27.70 he ran at the Stanford Invite. Hehir won’t have to race too hard to grab a top 12 spot since only six others in the field have broken 29 minutes. John Mascari (Indiana St.) and Dan Lennon (Syracuse) are the second and third seeds in the field with times of 28:38.22 and 28:46.21. Matt McClintock of Perdue has run some excellent 10k’s this season and has put some wins on his resume as well. I’m excited to see how he’ll perform. Brandon Lord of Georgia has been relatively quiet this season after such an outstanding indoor season that ended with a somewhat disappointing championship race. I’m hoping he can rebound and redeem himself here. Penn Relays 10k champion, Ty McCormack (Auburn), will also make an effort to get to Eugene. PA alum Jake Kildoo(Notre Dame) has been putting together some decent performances and he has a strong shot at making it to NCAA’sLawrence Kipkoech (Campbell) has to be my sleeper based on solid 5k credentials.

12. Zach Herriott (UVA)6. Reed Kamyszek (Syracuse)
11. Jake Kildoo (Notre Dame)5. Kieran Clements (Iona)
10. Lawrence Kipkoech (Campbell)4. John Mascari (Indiana St.)
9. Brandon Lord (Georgia)3. Matt McClintock (Perdue)
8. Evan Esselink (Indiana)2. Dan Lennon (Syracuse)
7. Ty McCormack (Auburn)1. Martin Hehir (Syracuse)

PA alum to watch: Jake Kildoo (Notre Dame), Glen Burkhardt (PSU), Brendan Shearn (Penn)

West Region
Jason Witt has been one of my favorite runners since I started to closely follow the collegiate scene. The guy has guts and his field leading 27:54.25 shows that. The senior from BYU has a time that’s roughly 36 seconds faster than the second seed Marc Scott from Tulsa who has put together some no-joke performances this season. That just shows what kind of level Witt is on. Unfortunately, nothing is easy in life and Witt will have to face the Oregon duo of none other than Eddy Ches and Jenkins. These three will most likely follow each through the line without too much difficulty. Craig Lutz of Texas may not have the 5k speed people once thought he had, but his 10k’s have been consistently great this season. The Longhorn will have to deal with a crowded field that includes Kemoy Campbell (who is attempting the 5k/10k double), Futsum Z (5k/10k double), Matt McElroy, Garrett Sweatt, and Pierce Murphy (5k/10k double). While most of these guys are doubling, so is Lutz. This might be in the back of their minds the day before the 5k. My sleeper for this race is a deep one. Malachy Schrobilgen from Wisconson will get a top 12 spot and head to nationals. 

12. Malachy Schrobilgen (Wisconsin)6. Kemoy Campbell (Arkansas)
11. Scott Fauble (Portland)5. Marc Scott (Tulsa)
10. Matt McElroy (N. Arizona)4. Pierce Murphy (Colorado)
9. Garrett Sweatt (Stanford)3. Eric Jenkins (Oregon)
8. Craig Lutz (Texas)2. Edward Cheserek (Oregon)
7. Futsum Zienasellassie (N. Arizona)1. Jason Witt (BYU)

*Don’t hate me for not picking Moussa. He just wasn’t doing it for me. 

That’s all I’ve got! So let me hear it… who do you think will go on and who you think is taking a ride back home? Let me know below.

June 10th it all starts. 

Get ready,

State Coverage

I've put everything in one place. As mentioned, discussion kind of jumps all over the place because I do post a lot so I figure we can use this post for comments and I'll link up all the coverage I have so far and take a bit of a break to let everybody catch up.

Really a fantastic state meet and so appreciative of the fantastic races and runners I got to see lay it all on the line.

Prediction Contest Results
Compiled Splits Page

3200m Recap
4x800m Recap
1600m Recap
800m Recap

State Coverage Overview (this post contains links to some youtube videos of the races)

Predictions Post (check out what me and the others got right and got wrong by looking by at our pre race predictions and analysis)

Also I will begin working on The Etrain 11 stories soon. As mentioned if anyone has some suggestions for stories/coverage they would like to hear more on from the 2015 season, please let me know. I have a few ideas in the works already, but I'm interested to hear what other people found interesting.

Lastly, don't forget to set your calendars for July 12th at 11:50.

So get some discussion going and I'll begin checking back in with posts later this week.

800m Recap

By etrain11

A year ago, Domenic Peretta hoped to better his 1:52.77 PR in the state final of the 800m and maybe break the 1:51.96 state meet record. Ultimately, his legs didn't cooperate with his efforts to hammer things home and he furiously exited the track with a gold medal and only a 1:54.

It was that image that stuck in my head when I was trying to get excited for a Peretta record as the AA 800m prepared to go off. I knew Peretta was stronger, more mature and, most importantly, faster than he was a year ago, but I also knew there was little time between events and he was not going to be pushed at all. So while I did predict a record here on the blog (I won't deny I was wrong), I wasn't as bold as the penntrack poster who told Grift to kiss his record goodbye.

Peretta hammered it from the front and no one was in a position to come along. A 54ish first lap made me feel pretty nervous for a record attempt, but he is much more likely to be close to an even split than Lewis so it was still in play. However, in an eerily reminiscent finish to last year, Peretta tied up a bit on the final straight and furiously crossed the line. You could see him struggle with every muscle of his body as he agonizingly watched the clock tick 1:50-1:51-1:52 and he wasn't quite there.

I provide the agonizing details here not to criticize Peretta or make him relive a bad memory, but to set the stage for what is to come. Dom is a 4:10-1:51 guy with 4 golds who has been significantly better than his competition on the track since his sophomore year. With all due respect to his competitors, he has yet to be challenged by anything besides his own shadow and a clock. But if he does make the trip to Henderson for the MoC races, he will get the best competition he could possibly get. I thought he was leaning towards 1600m next week, but this latest moment of disappointment at states may light a fire and spark a switch to the 800m for a battle with Lewis, McDevitt (probably, he could conceivably choose the mile) and others (maybe Sauer, Eddinger, etc). That's a field that, if it meets a pissed off and motivated Dom, could produce a thrilling race. There's no better situation for DP to chase that sub 1:50 time he keeps mentioning.

But enough about Peretta, I'm sure we will have plenty to talk about with him looking ahead. Let's take a quick look back at some other top performances.David Fletcher has had a really nice season and states was a great final moment for him. The Junior nearly pulled the team to 2nd on the anchor leg of the 4x8, but ended up having to settle for third. Then in the 800m, he timed his kick better and stormed away down the final straightaway for silver. Clay Stabolepszy has had a great season as well and caps it off with a top 3 finish here. Aaron Morris from Spingfield returns next year as does Fletcher (and of course Peretta) and he is a compelling story looking ahead. He came out of left field to run his 1:56 at Districts and now ends up 4th here in the final. JDL rounds out the top five nicely, especially considering he gunned it out very fast on the opening lap of the 4x8 and was probably running on fumes for this run.

What a dominant performance from John Lewis. He blasted it out the gate incredibly quick, running 24-51.1 on my watch and instantly taking over the field. I think 51.1 was probably a bit rich (the NCAA championships often gets out about that fast and Rudisha's world record was probably only 49 high or so going through), but he smartly backed off a bit from 400 to 600. He backed off so much that I thought Graca had a chance to get him. Graca went hard from 400 to 600 and went for the gold which you definitely have to respect. If he sat back and let Sauer or Eddinger take the work over that stretch, he very well could have ended up with the Silver. However, he went for gold and/or sub 1:50 and you have to respect the guts.

Meanwhile, Lewis powered away the final 200m and looked incredibly strong and powerful over the final 100 as he managed to hold and barely dip under Magaha's record. I'd love to see Lewis a bit more reserved through 100m, maybe having a rabbit guide him a bit, but maybe that would be more of a problem than a help. He thought he went out in 50 seconds and he treats the 800m as one long sprint so maybe he needs to be flat out the whole way to be successful. I just feel something closer to 52 would allow him to come home faster and maybe power into the 1:48 low/1:47 high range which would be absurd. If he somehow dips under 1:48 at Henderson/Nationals he becomes an All Time great nationally. Top 10 All-Time type stuff. And it's worth noting another runner this year from Michigan has run 1:48.0 so he could provide Lewis with the necessary push for a breakthrough (or if Lewis continues to get out fast, he's the perfect rabbit for someone else to run really, really fast).

In second place, kicking home, Alek Sauer beat out the fresh legs of Dylan Eddinger and both men ran blazing fast times in the low 1:51s (Sauer at the lowest possible 1:51, 1:51.00 and Eddinger at 1:51.19). Sauer had a fantastic weekend. Really impressive. As I mentioned in the 4x8 recap he made a leap from great to all time great and is now a borderline top 10 all time PA 800m runner. And Eddinger seems to have made the right decision going all in on the 800m. I always thought Eddinger had the potential to be really good, but just seeing 1:51.19 next to his name is still hard to wrap your mind around. He was racing really well last year and I think his experience with Mercado on the relay taught him a bit of how good he could be and what it takes to reach a top level. Boyertown is a quietly very strong program.

Graca rounds out 4 guys under 1:52. His 1:51.97 is his fastest time ever outdoors and was a gutsy performance. That kind of mark wins states the majority of years and I believe this is the first time we've seen 4 PA guys sub 1:52 in the same race. Certainly the first time at states that I can remember. Just a loaded race and like the 3200m, somebody has to finish in the back, doesn't mean the guys aren't studs. Awesome season for Graca who made huge strides in the past two years.

Matt Wisner becomes the top returner for states next year and will be the only returning medalist. Joining him from the finals will be Thomas Nicewicz from Mechanicsburg and Sean Sullivan from Bonner, two guys I didn't even pick to make finals (Sullivan was my biggest regret looking back. I was sitting at work when I saw Bonner didn't make finals in the 4x8 and thought, man Sullivan is gonna come back with a vengeance and make finals, big regret not picking him from the gun). Nicewicz really impressed and it goes to show you his potential when he is focused on the 800m rather than splitting time with the 16. Wisner really blossomed into a star, starting with indoors, and it was a break through I definitely did not see coming, Is he ready to be a state champion? The good news is he has a guy who knows a thing or two about that in the locker room to talk to a bit more before the year ends.

Khai Samuels really came back strong over the stretch run. He was another one of those guys who just needed the right race and competition to drop a big PR. And dang how about that crazy 4x4 time that Pleasant Valley dropped? Wow, did not see that coming. Awesome job by this D11 squad. Dan Williams finishes off a quality season as well, dropping a 1:54.18 after a monster split on the 4x8. And lastly, Ethan Gatchell, the brother of our own Caleb Gatchell, cracked through the 1:55 barrier for the first time after sitting there for something like 5 800s at that mark. His 1:53.73 was good enough for 7th in this loaded field and was a long time coming based on his excellent and consistent season. Congrats to him on the state medal.

1600m Recap

By etrain11

Defending champion Domenic Peretta knew it was his race to lose. He had the fastest PR by nearly 3 seconds and those closest to him on paper (Molino, Curtin) were on the double from earlier events. Although Peretta worked to maintain position at the front for the entire race (it's clear he hates to be passed in any situation) he didn't necessarily pound out the pace it would take for the sub 4:10 mark he had earlier claimed he wanted. But the main goal, repeating as state champ, was never really in doubt despite a few mid race challenges.

Peretta won the race by nearly 5 seconds and looked incredibly smooth. It would have been awesome to see him mixed in the AAA race, a race he certainly could have won, but maybe we see some super version of that at Henderson MoC next week. 

Sebastian Curtin claimed second in a hotly contested sprint to the finish. Although Mercyhurst didn't get the result they were hoping for in the 4x8, Curtin still had enough to put on the jets and grab silver. This is the second straight year that Sebastian was runner up to Peretta and I believe it marks his 3rd silver medal at states. Kyle Shinn, who slipped in for 3rd, added a quality bronze to his gold from the 4x8 and really impressed me with his doubling ability. I knew fresh he had the ability to finish this high, but doing it on the double was awesome.

Brian Hackman grabbed 4th just ahead of Molino who took 5th. Kyle Gonoude, Cooper Leslie and Amir Gordon rounded out the scoring 8. This was a big race for Hackman and Gonoude. Hackman had a tough D6 meet, but clearly was re-energized once he had the opportunity to focus on one event rather than attempt a triple. Gonoude was 3rd here a year ago, but he had shown few flashes of that past greatness. Turns out he just needed to get the right competition as Gonoude dropped down to 4:21 and grabbed yet another state medal. Great double by Cooper Leslie as well who ran a tough 3200 for 9th in a deep field, but was able to regroup and grab a medal in the 16.

After a quick opening 200m, things began to drag in the 16, a fact that the top names in the field seemed prepared to accept. Eventually, Jeff VanKooten, the top seed at 4:10.72, felt the need to charge to the front and try and grind out the final 800m as he did at districts. This was probably a wise move as a year previously he was unable to hang onto the blistering kicks of Zach Brehm and Billy Caldwell and had to settle for 3rd.

As VanKooten pushed, it became a clear 4 man race for the title. Kolor seemed the most tired, Hoey appeared to be in ideal position and Sam Webb was somewhat improbably still right in the mix despite his 1:53 4x8 leg. Jaxson made his biggest push for home somewhere around 300-250 and sprinted hard for home. It seemed he had the title on lock, but on the home straight JVK was hanging around just enough to make the crowd wonder whether Hoey had went too soon. Up until maybe 20 meters to go, Hoey seemed to be clear but then one final charge by VanKooten made it quite close, with Hoey barely hanging on for gold. 

Behind the top 4, Alex Milligan uncorked his own impressive double, finding a late surge for 5th with Kravitz, Josh Hoey and Jacob Stupak rounding out the medals.

This was a big win for Jaxson and a heartbreaking loss of VanKooten. Jaxson had proven himself in a variety of ways as a sophomore (9:05 for 3200m and 4:11 equivalent for 1500), but he had yet to produce state gold. After an injury sidelined him and left him off the radar for a few months, he climbed back into shape and used his tactics to race to an undefeated record at 1600m in a DT West uniform. It's hard not to be impressed by what he's accomplished on limited training, but how will he handle a field that may include a fresh Brehm and Peretta at Henderson (two guys with well known speed)? And then of course there is the Hoey v Brophy XC discussion ... But we are getting ahead of ourselves a ways ....

This also marks the 5th time since 2007 a Junior has won the AAA 1600m state title. None of the previous 4 repeated as Seniors. 

Jeff VanKooten ran an awesome race and, although he won't be remembered as a state champ, he's certainly one of the best WPIAL milers I've seen. The D7 drought in the event continues (I believe the last champ was 2002, Sam Bair). But there is hope. Kolor had a fantastic Junior season and although he too struggled, this was easily his biggest moment in the spotlight of his career, his first individual state final. He had realistic hopes for gold, but with an extra year of seasoning, strength and speed Kolor should be back with a vengeance next year.

Sam Webb might be the best doubler I can remember. The 4x8-16 double has been done well before, but a 1:53-4:12 double for gold and bronze is reasonably unprecedented (Palm, Endress and maybe Crits are the other guys in the convo for best doubler). Combine that with his memorable 3200m-4x8 doubles as a sophomore and junior and you are looking at an absurd display of range. Going into this year, Webb was a 3200m guy who had the ability to be a decent 800m leg and gutsy racer, but the general consensus (at least from those I knew) was that he was a distance guy more so than a speed guy. This year he split a 1:53 at states, blowing the race open for his squad and added a 4:12 race (probably in the 2:10-2:02 range for splits). Seeing all the sub 9 guys who have developed this year, it's hard for me to doubt Webb as another guy who could have joined that last, but he was willing to sacrifice those types of individual goals to ensure he could give everything to his 4x8. Huge props to Webb.

Speaking of doubling, Alex Milligan had quite the meet running 1:53-4:17.0, both fairly sizable PRs. I wasn't picking Milligan to even get through prelims in the event and once I saw his gutsy split in the relay and his straight to the back opening 200m, I pretty much counted him out. So much so that when I was talking to some State College guys after the race I just assumed Milligan had finished out of the medals and probably sounded really stupid saying, "Alex looked pretty tired out there" considering the final 200m he had. Milligan's clutch ness resume is starting to grow to a 2 pager when you consider his XC finishes at districts and states, his quality 4x8 anchors indoors and outdoors and now this excellent 16. I don't think I'm going to be able to grab him as a late round sleeper in this year's fantasy XC draft to say the least ....

Kravitz returns next year and with a 4:17 run should be happy. I think a more even pace may have suited him better, but in a year's time he may be more comfortable in a tactical style race. He just needs a bit more experience. Josh Hoey already seems like a experienced senior. Hard to believe the kid is just a freshman. He grabs 7th at states, splits a monster anchor indoors on the DMR and was Malvern Prep's top runner at independent states to start off his high school career. 

In other news, North Allegheny continues to churn out studs. After a great finish to his XC season, Stupak had another killer close this track season, finishing the spring with a 4:19 PR and a state medal. NA loses their top 3 from their state title tea this year in XC, meaning Stupak will have some big shoes to fill. However, he showed he has the potential to continue the NA individual medalist streak next fall.

These top 50 rankings are going to be really difficult ... But like I said ... I'm getting ahead of myself ...

4x800m Recap

By etrain11

Wyomissing dominated the 4x800m this weekend. It was right after one leg, but second leg Heriberto Colon broke things open with a first lap around 55 seconds and the lead he opened up was never relinquished. A variety of teams threw down impressive anchor performances but Shinn was well clear of the group with reserves in the tank and took down a sub 8 clocking for gold.

I really doubting Wyomissing going in. They had a Frosh lead off leg, a tired DiCintio doubling back from the 3200m and anchor Kyle Shinn had the 1600m final looming. I thought all of these factors would let other teams in the race and some anchor legs (the field was loaded with top tier anchors) would find a way to bring it home.

But I was very wrong and the victory speaks volumes of the depth, poise and dominance that Wyomissing has displayed this year. Behind Shinn and DiCintio their XC team had one of the best stretch runs in AA. Shinn followed with an indoor medal in the mile and the crew capped things off with a 7:56 SB and a gold medal, the only sub 8 team in AA this spring. The lead also allowed Shinn to conserve a bit for the crowded 16 which would prove to be crucial.

Behind Wyomissing was a thrilling anchor battle with legs like Fletcher, Curtin, Gross, Lutzner, Morgan, Trimble and Lamison in an all out dog fight for the medal spots. That group includes two 1600 finalists and four 800 finalists including 2nd place finishers Curtin and Fletcher. There was plenty of jockeying and it came down to the final 100m to sort it all out with Nate Morgan having a huge day to deliver for Lakeland. Lakeland continues to prove itself as a mid distance powerhouse in AA and Morgan caps off a clutch career on the anchor.

Trinity also proved they are a program that can never be forgotten. Year after year Trinity finds a way to compete with the top teams in AA and challenge the 8 minute mark. This year was no different as they had easily their best race of the season here in the state final for 4th. 

I'd love to know some more splits from this race if they are out there as I feel like there were some special performances I would like to recognize. If you have them, feel free to comment or send information my way.

If you scroll down you can see both a video of this race (taken by Paul Hayes) and my best attempt to compile names and splits for all the relays based on that video and my sources. It's far from exact so if you have splits and names please send them in so we can update the file more completely. In the mean time, I will undergo analysis based on my understanding of the names and splits as listed in the post below.

Pennsbury runs 7:38 to join the sub 7:40 club for PA. That's a pretty exclusive group with only CB South, North Penn, Abington and CB West going under in recent years. Pennsbury is the first team since South to actually run their 7:40 mark at the state championships. A big part of the breakthrough time (it was about a 5 second PR for the relay) was sophomore Eric Kersten. In a loaded first leg (basically everyone was through in 56 or faster and in the 1:55-1:57 range), the youngest member of his squad with perhaps the least experience delivered yet again on the always difficult lead off position, splitting 1:55 and, perhaps more importantly, handing off neck and neck with the leaders. 

From there Sam Webb threw down a monster second lap of his 2nd leg to give Mulvaney a fairly comfortable lead. Webb's split was a blistering 1:53. Worth noting that before this year I'm not sure Webb was ever faster than 1:57-1:58 on the relay and he made a big change from 2 miler type to speedster for this relay, displaying impressive diversity of ability. I'm sure he has no regrets about the decision, even if it means passing on a possible sub 9.

Behind PB, there were two clear competitors developing (although it's worth noting that Penn Wood had an excellent showing through 2 legs to hang tough with the leaders as well). Pennridge and State College were battling hard behind the Orangemen and both second legs were under 1:55. SC's lone senior Eric Heatwole had a huge closing 100m that set everything up going forward for the little lions. Dan Williams had a big time split on the second leg (1:53ish) that got the Rams in striking position.

On the third leg, Mulvaney held a lead for most of the race, despite a 52ish first lap from Abington's third leg that briefly changed the race dynamics. On the final straight, State College and Pennridge made their big final charge, both runners splitting in the 1:56 range and Pennsbury hung tough for the close, knowing Sauer just needed it close.

That's just what he got. Sauer took the reigns and controlled the race, looking fast and smooth. Milligan and Desko were fighting impressively behind him, but Sauer was too much to handle. As he sprinted down the final straight away it was clear the squad was going to run a historic sub 7:40 mark. This has been a fantastic relay squad for 3 years and Sauer has been absolute money on the anchor leg for all of them. Same for Webb on the 2 spot. 

Sauer's split was in the 1:49 high, 1:50 low range depending on who you ask. The Sub 1:50 club is no joke and during Sauer's two races this weekend he took a big step from great relay runner and decent open 8 man to all time great relay runner and top tier elite open 8 runner. It was huge weekend for the Columbia recruit.

As for the race for second, Desko pulled away from Milligan, both men splitting killer 1:53s, with Desko's being in the low 1:53 range. What was amazing was these two squads last year were largely considered the best two 4x8 squads in the state. However, State College, the defending champions, graduated all 4 members of their state championship squad. Pennridge lost super star Joey Logue who split 1:51 for them a year ago while putting out almost an entirely new line up of their own in 2015. But that didn't stop either of these squads from breaking their school records with 7:40 and 7:41 marks respectively. And crazier still, I believe both relays return 3 runners from their squads, including the anchors. 

CB West broke clear of all chasers on Rock Fortna's anchor leg (which I clocked in the low 1:54 range) and ran an excellent time of their own for 4th. Would have been interesting to see Fortna in the mix on the anchor leg with Desko and Milligan (on a different day, it 100% could have happened). Keep in mind I believe West also returns 3 members of their relay including their anchor Fortna and freshman Jake Claricurzio.

DT West could have quite the group of returners for a 4x8 as well ... How fast does next year go?

Penn wood finishes the weekend sub 7:50! Never could I claim I saw this coming. What an awesome race by these guys, running gutsy throughout and hanging tough for 5th in a high quality field. It goes to show you that 400m runners can have strong success at the 800m if they are hard working and willing to give it a shot. Speaks volumes of the heart of this squad which was a top 4 or so team at nationals in the 4x4 this winter.

Cedar Crest and Abington both have a few returners if I remember correctly and had quality races this weekend. Based on the splits I took, both teams were well balanced and competitive, but could have used one huge stand out leg to make the next leap. Both of these programs are top notch and have produced state title teams in the past, so I'm watching to see what kind of marks they run next year.

Penncrest caps off another year with another state medal. They have been truly impressive in their consistency. Looks like Emmanuel really blasted out the gate on his leg and that may have caught up to him a bit at the end. I'd be very interested to see him toe the line in an open 8 at MOC in the high quality field. I think 1:52 and maybe even 1:52 is in play. Also have to give probs to Kamat for running a tough lead off leg that really set up this relay for success.

2015 4x800m Splits

I watched back the video and I have taken to attempting to compile the 2015 4x800m splits for the AAA race. I need confirmation/help on basically all of these, especially the names and the teams with darker colored jerseys. Twin Valley, Randor, and Cedar Crest were all somewhat overlapping so those splits were definitely a bit more difficult to obtain.

So bottom line, this is what I've got so far but I need your help to make it complete! AA splits are appreciated as well! Thanks guys!

1. Pennsbury 7:38.42
Eric Kersten '17 1:55.6R (1:55.8e)
Sam Webb '15 1:53.5R (1:53.6e)
Matt Mulvaney '17 1:59.1R (1:59.0e)
Alek Sauer '15 1:49.7R (1:50.0e)

2. Pennridge 7:40.56
Austin Howell 1:57.0
Dan Williams 1:53.7
Jeff Espinal 1:56.9
Tucker Desko 1:53.2

3. State College 7:41.50
Eric Heatwole 1:55.87R
Nick Feffer 1:54.73R
Anthony Degleris 1:56.89R
Alex Milligan 1:53.86R

4. CB West 7:46.37
Andrew Baker 1:56.0
Jake Claricurzio 1:58.8
Carter Zerwick 1:57.3
Rock Fortna 1:54.1

5. Penn Wood 7:48.06
Seck 1:55.3
Ahmere Ponzo 1:55.9
- 1:58.4
- 1:58.3

6. Cedar Crest 7:50.28
- 1:58.4
- 1:57.9
- 1:57.4
Jesse Cruise 1:56.4

7 Penncrest 7:50.70
Soham Kamat 1:56.1
Brendan Hanna 1:58.5
- 2:02.8
Evan Emmanuel 1:53.1

8. Abington 7:52.96
Jordan Neely 1:57.0
Jake Good 1:57.0
- 2:01.7
- 1:57.0

9. Twin Valley 7:55.29
Colin Geary 1:57.7
Colby Geary 1:59.8
Dominic Digiacomo 2:01.0
Josh Coakley 1:56.6

10. Radnor 7:55.47
Connor Holm 1:57.4
- 2:01.7
- 1:58.3
Andre Kelly 1:57.9

11. Altoona 7:55.91
Dominic Stroh 1:57.6
Joe Uliano 2:02.1
Brett George 1:58.2
Brad Foust 1:57.9

12. Wilson 7:56.12
Augustine Fahnbulleh 1:58.7
Robbie Rappleye 2:00.3
Tommy Kidd 1:58.1
Nick Mahon 1:58.9

1. Wyomissing 7:59.23
Joe Cullen 1:59R
Heriberto Colon 1:59R
Jack DiCintio 2:03R
Kyle Shinn 1:58R

2. Lakeland 8:01.52
Nate Morgan

3. Mount Caramel 8:02.29
Tommy Moser 2:01R
Ciarin Fisher 2:01R
Treyvon White 2:05R
David Fletcher 1:55R

4. Trinity 8:03.46
Matt Gross

5. Mercyhurst Prepatory 8:04.18
Sebastian Curtin

6. Masterman 8:04.28
Joe Previdi 1:58.7R
Per Loufman 2:05.4R
Wyatt Saint-Claire 2:04.3R
Julian Degroot-Lutzner 1:55.9R

7. South Side 8:04.45
Colten Trimble

8. Beaver Area 8:05.59

9. Minersville Area 8:11.07

10. Milton Area 8:13.70

11. North East 8:15.14

12. Bedford 8:35.17

3200m Recap

by etrain11

In the first distance final of the weekend, a completely fresh Dominic Hockenbury looked to defend his state title from the previous year. Hockenbury knew that Griffin Molino, 4:12 miler and A XC state champion, was sure to be breathing down his neck, waiting to unleash a kick. In an impressive performance, Hockenbury went to the front quite early in the race and began to hammer out laps, hoping to shake Molino, who hung tough for a few laps before ultimately running out of gas. Once broken, Molino may have held back a bit, trying to reserve a bit for the 1600m. He held onto silver despite an excellent late charge from Will Kachman of Bedford. The top 8 runners were at 9:30 or faster with 7 at 9:26 or faster.

It's a shame we didn't get to see Hockenbury in that AAA race where he might have had a chance to make things a tad more interesting in the early stages. Hockenbury now holds 3 state golds and a couple silvers heading into his senior year. Next year's 9:04 state meet record is in play, but there will plenty of interesting XC/Footlocker drama to behold first. I'm not postive, but I think Hock's 9:08 at states is the fastest AA 3200m time at the state championships in somewhere around a decade. Faster than Shearn, Galassi, Beveridge, all those guys and those are some top tier names.

Molino put up a strong fight, but just wasn't ready to blast the massive PR needed to take gold. Although I thought Molino had a chance to win, he still ran a 9:16 (which is a PR by about a second from the well paced, deep Henderson race) and I think it's possible that he was saving up a bit at the end. Have to give major props to Kachman though who did run a massive PR and put on a gutsy close to nearly grab another silver for himself. Descavish (9:22) and Raehsler (9:23) both ran impressive PRs and really came through with massive drops. I thought both had potential, but those times were awesome. Simon Smith also grabbed a medal in 9:23. He always finds a way to show up in the big moments and this race was no exception.

I just want to emphasize one last time how crazy deep this race was. There were 19 sub 10s, 17 sub 9:50, 12 at 9:40 or faster and 7 under 9:30. Those marks were posted by a fairly young field. Griffin Mackey was the top soph, running 9:26 and dropping under the 9:30 barrier again (somewhere like 5x this spring) and 11 of the top 15 returning next year (including three guys from defending A champions Winchester Thurston).

Awesome season and congrats to everyone involved on a fantastic season.

What an event. Everybody knew the field was stacked. I highlighted it in extreme depth in my preview (possibly going on too long, but whatever). As I said in the preview I felt very confident the top 8 in the field would be Brehm, Power, Marston, Comber, Abert, McGoey, James and Brophy in some order (they were all just so fantastic this year it was hard to imagine anyone sneaking by) and that did in fact end up being the top 8. But before I get to them, let me take a moment to discuss some of the strong performances from the guys outside the top 8.

Just one medalist is returning (8th place Jake Brophy) which means next year's state field is going to look a lot different. The big breakthrough came from Nate Henderson, the sophomore from JP McCaskey, who dropped an extremely impressive 9:08. That's a killer time for a sophomore as has been mentioned that was unfortunately over shadowed by the madness in front of him. Henderson had a fantastic sophomore year, finishing 2nd to only Brehm at Districts in 3200m and finishing as the top sophomore in XC for AAA (I believe he was 13th overall). Most importantly, he's been clutch in all the right moments, starting perhaps with his breakthrough at Carlisle. Plus, he has great hair.

Kevin Lapsansky back in 17th ran a strong PR of 9:29 which was a great race for him even if it was a bit farther back. Todd Gunzenhauser is another top returner from this year's meet. He ran well under 9:20 at Baldwin and hung tough against Wharrey (who finished 11th in a great showing) as he finished 12th in the state with a 9:22. Aiden Demko put forth a great effort in the 32 as well, he stuck his nose in the think of things during the fast pace. Lastly, Eric Diestelow ran a great PR of 9:18.34 and finished 10th to round out the greatest top 10 in the history of the state meet. I'm not sure Diestelow ever ended up grabbing a state medal in his 4 years, but he graduates with a 4:18/9:18 resume, an excellent history dating back to sophomore year of running sub 16s and helping out DMRs and 4x8s take the next step. Awesome career and your WC East teammates I was watching with are likely very proud.

Now on to the top 8 and what a top 8 it was. Yes, it took an absurd 9:05 to get 8th! 9:05 would win states most years and somehow it ends up 8th this year ... That's unreal. Brophy finishes as the top returner and breaks 9 as a Junior, something few can boast. He won states during XC and dropped 8:57/4:15/1:55 type marks. Although he had an off day at states, it's hard to imagine Brophy not being at the front of the title contenders during XC (although you will have to tune in to the XC rankings to find out for sure ...).

McGoey took the reigns early in the race, but wasn't ready to pound out the 4:28 type mile that he did at Districts (things went through around 4:32 this time around). Everyone else seemed contend to just let Matt lead which I'm not sure is exactly the way Matt was hoping the race would play out (very few were expecting the pace to lag like it did). In this kind of field, it's hard to lead wire to wire and unfortunately his patented kick, like Brophy, wasn't quite there on race day. It happens and McGoey ends his career as an 8:56 man with multiple state golds.

Martson fought valiantly throughout the race and dropped a 9:02 for 6th. Marston has now run 9:01 and 9:02, two times that would put him among the top 20 or so ever and he grabbed his top individual finish at a track state championship meet. Marston has been the #1 guy on a Conestoga team that has taken a huge leap in the past 24 months. With Marston at the helm, the team has finished in the top 10 at XC states twice, including a silver this year, grabbed a D1 XC title (breaking an epic Henderson streak) and added a silver medal indoors in the DMR. Around him PJ Murray, Killian Nelson and Jimmy Cooper all had career years in their event, including a state qualifying performance for Cooper. I would love to see a 4xMile from these guys, but I have a feeling these guys are done (besides a possible PA Distance Festival appearance, Marston could be a top contender in either the Mile or the 5k). Awesome stretch by Stoga with Marston leading the charge.

Casey Comber gets to 5th with a 9:00.95. Yes 9:00 gets you 5th in this race. If I'm not mistaken 9:00.95 would be first place in all but three state championships ever. Connelly's tilte in the 80s, Wilson's title last year and Brehm's gold this year. That's it. Comber ran 1:56/4:14/9:00 ran sub 15:50 at Hershey, qualified for the Footlocker Championships and broke 15 in the 5k indoors. Despite that, he's been no higher than 3rd at a state championship which is amazing. I would love to see Comber in the PA Distance Festival mile. He was second to Hoey at Districts on the double from the 32 and he soloed 4:14.20 at leagues. He could drop something big with one more race against top competition. If not, he's had a phenomenal career and should be quite proud of what he has accomplished as an undergrad.

Paul Power broke 9 and finished 4th and a year after the first ever race with 3 sub 9s, Power extended the record to 4 at Shippensburg. Power has now run 1:54/4:13/8:59 this season with a 15:50 at Hershey. He's another one who could a great mile at the PA MoC at Henderson in June. It's amazing to me that someone like Power just had his highest state finish ever with this 4th place finish, but the fact that he made the jump from never breaking 9:20 to breaking 9 minutes in one year shows just how hard of a worker he is and how gutsy and unafraid he runs. Honestly, at states in XC many people probably doubted his peaking ability and thought he peaked at Pre States in September. Since then, he has had a fantastic stretch that included a top 20 or so finish at Footlocker Regionals, a medal at indoor states and now this 8:59 in possibly his last race ever. That's a sweet way to cap off your career, no matter how you spin it.

Kevin James. 1:54.0/4:10/8:57/15:38 a 1200m leg on a 10:00 DMR, a top 5 member of 4 top 3 XC teams, a key member of a 5th place team at XC nationals, a two time individual national qualifier in XC, and during his Senior year he ran 3 times at states that would have won the championship basically any other year. And he's not done, there's a solid chance he runs sub 4:10 at the PA MoC with guys like Brehm and Hoey expected to be involved. KJ is always a gamer and he has proven time and time again that he rises to the occasion when the spotlight is on. Although he didn't win his individual gold this weekend at states, it's almost fitting that James ends his state career like this. He broke the race open with a late surge, hung on valiantly when Brehm made his kick and finished with an impressive PR and a near record setting performance.

Colin Abert moves into one of the top spots all time in the event, running 8:56.00. There were few picking Abert to win the title this outdoors. He ran sub 15 this fall and was arguably one of the best 2 or 3 XC runners in the state before a hiccup at states and sickness at FL Regionals, We all started to doubt that assertion during indoors when he had some stretches of up and down racing, but this spring Abert was in a quality zone. Although he had only run 9:17, he had not been pushed close to the same level as some others in the field during his races this season. When the competition finally came together, Abert delivered in his final race and ran a massive PR of 8:56.00, a time that puts him in historically great company. I'm glad Abert's career ends with him rising to the occasion in the big moment and running a massive PR, the same way he did in XC as a sophomore and Junior and at last outdoor's state championship. Plus lets not forget he carried Easton to a 5th place team finish in XC and elevated the quality of D11 overall. Another fantastic career ends in the right way.

And lastly, there's Brehm. In the 3200m, Brehm personified one of the greatest aspects of track and field. I have always believed there is too much emphasis on times over racing. We judge off times because they are easier to measure, especially on the track, across wide distances and various locations. But Brehm's career has never been about times, it's only been about winning. Brehm made it to 4 800m state finals. He won back to back Carlisle Invitationals (besides states, probably the most important XC meet of his career), he won state championships as a sophomore, junior and now a senior. He won a ton of D3 titles on the track including the 32, 16 and 8 as a Senior after the 4x8, 16, 8 as a Junior. So when Brehm came into this meet hoping to cap off his career with the trifecta (winning the 8, 16 and 32 at states over the course of his career) and I was confident that even though he had yet to drop a sub 9:09 mark, he was sitting a major PR in the right race just like what happened when he dropped his mile victory as a sophomore at Henderson.

As far as my research as shown the other guys to pull off the career trifecta are Jerry Richey from North Allegheny and Chris Spooner from Lewisburg (in AA). That's it. That's very elite company for Brehm. It was a fantastic race to watch in person and a well executed race with a jaw dropping negative split. I'm really hoping we get to see a Brehm v. Ritz show down at Meet of Champs but, at the moment, I'm not getting my hopes up that Ritz will be involved.

This field was truly one of the greatest ever and not simply because of the times, but because of the racers, the competitors and the hard-working determined individuals who have helped transform PA into a national powerhouse in the distance events.

Six sub 9s in the same year! Congrats PA, you have had a fantastic year. 8:55, 8:56, 8:56, 8:57, 8:57, 8:59, 9:00. 9:01, 9:02. What a year for the 3200.