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Competition Concludes With A Bang At New Balance Nationals

Published by
RunnerSpace.com/HighSchool   Mar 11th 2012, 10:04pm

By Chris Lotsbom, Used with permission.

NEW YORK, NY (11-Mar) -- Day three here at the New Balance Indoor Nationals did not disappoint, as numerous Meet Records came tumbling down and one athlete in particular separated himself from the rest of the field. Edward Cheserek of St. Benedicts Prep in New Jersey won his third National Championship of the weekend in the Two Mile, then came within one-half of a second from earning his fourth in the Boy's Mile.

Cheserek, a junior, separated early in his longest event of the weekend, the two mile. Hitting halfway in 4:25.1, Cheserek already had a seven second lead on his closest competitors. Breaking the tape in 8:50.53, the 18-year-old earned his third gold medal. On Friday, he helped the St. Benedicts Prep team win the Distance Medley Relay, then came back on Saturday to anchor the school's Sprint Medley Relay. 

Turning his attention to the Mile, Cheserek was a bit tired, but wanted to close out the competition with another victory. 
After two laps of The Armory's track, Cheserek was back in front, trying to surge away from the field. Over the next 800m, the native of Kenya would surge then slow, surge and slow again.

"It was like a fartlek," said Brad Nye of Utah. "The field would surge and then come back and surge again and come back."
Around the final bend, Nye began to come up on the tired Cheserek's outside shoulder. With meters to go, Nye realized he could win the event. 

"I wanted to give myself the best shot, and the race went perfect," said the BYU-bound Nye. "I kept saying over and over 'this is perfect.' I had more gears [left]."

Crossing in 4:08.67, Nye let out a big scream, overwhelmed by emotions. But soon after, he turned to Cheserek and congratulated him on his performance.

"What a stud. His whole attitude, his ability, just what he does on the track -- I'm absolutely amazed," said Nye. 
Cheserek explained that fatigue caught up to him in the final laps.

"I was kind of tired coming to the end in the last event," said Cheserek, who was still pleased with his effort. "I was focused on the DMR, the SMR, and the two mile. I was 50/50 in the mile, so if it worked out good." 

On the Girl's side, Junior Striders's Ariah Graham (Wakefield, NC) was the star of the show. The senior helped her team earn wins in the 4x200m and 4x400m, and also took the individual title in the 400m.

Meet records fell consistently here, including in the Boy's 800m, where Ben Malone dipped under the 1:50 barrier, becoming only the second high school boy to do so in history. Passing Ned Willig on the final turn, Malone would break the tape in 1:49.94, a Meet Record. 

"I just knew I couldn't let up until the finish line. It still hasn't hit me that I'm a National Champion," he said.

Michigan's Hannah Meier defended her title as the Girl's Mile champion, setting a new Meet Record of 4:42.6. The only Meet Record to fall in the field events took place in the Girl's Triple Jump, where Massachusetts' Carla Forbes leaped 42-05.25 feet.

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