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Distance Relays Take Center Stage At Indoor Nationals

Grosse Pointe RC took their second title in the girls 4xmile.

Grosse Pointe RC took their second title in the girls 4 x 1 mile.

(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

NEW YORK — Valiant attempts at national and meet records in the distance relays highlighted day two of competition on Saturday at New Balance Indoor Nationals. With no individual championship disciplines being contested on Saturday, attention turned to the 4xMile and 4x800m Relays.

Taking the track as favorites in the Girls 4xMile, Grosse Pointe RC (Michigan) began their quest for a second national title in as many years. In 2012, the quartet of Kelsie Schwartz, Ersula Farrow, Haley Meier, and Hannah Meier won the Distance Medley Relay. This year, the same squad aimed for Saratoga’s national record of 19:59.24, set back in 2005.

After a solid opening leg, Schwartz handed the baton off to Farrow in second place, some ten meters behind Spirit of Pre TC, also of Michigan. As soon as she received the baton, Farrow’s focus narrowed to the leader.

“I was thinking that I need to try and get the girl in the front,” said Farrow. “I worked hard and got her.”

Handing off to Haley Meier with Spirit of Pre by her side, it looked as if the latter team would challenge Grosse Pointe for the lead. Any thoughts of that quickly vanished, as Meier –a 4:45.24 miler– began to crank into gear.

Lap after lap Meier’s lead grew, continuing when sister Hannah got the baton. Passing three quarters of a mile, the public address announcer noted that Hannah needed a 70-second final 400 meters if she wanted to break the national mark.

“I just went out there and tried to stay strong for the team,” said the anchor.

Using the crowd’s enthusiasm as energy, Meier dug down. Last year’s New Balance Nationals mile champion timed 4:46.05 for her split, crossing the line in 20:02.80 — just over the record.

“We just went in there and gave it our all,” said Haley Meier. “We won so we’re happy about that, but we were so close to the national record. Even though we did not get it we’re happy with our performance.”

On the Boys side, Brothers TC (Christian Brothers Academy, N.J.) rebounded from a disappointing second place finish in the Distance Medley Relay on Friday to win in 17:22.67, 2.47 seconds off the meet and national record.

For the team, the win served as redemption not only for Friday’s race, but also for a cross country season that saw the team finish fourth at Nike Cross Nationals after being favored to win.

“We wanted to send off on a good note, especially for the seniors,” said anchor Tommy Rooney.

Utah’s Davis TC won the Girls 4x800m in 8:56.57, the third-fastest high school time ever in the event. Coming into the race, Davis TC had their eyes set on going under nine minutes.

Battling with New York’s Garden City TC and Warwick Valley TC, Davis TC asserted their position and truly ran all out. Following the opening leg by Ellie Child, Joanna Boyd ran a six second personal best to split 2:17.

“I’m pretty pumped about that,” said a beaming Boyd.

After Taylor Cox passed the baton to Shea Martinez, Garden City TC and Warwick Valley TC were left to battle for second. Running away from the field, Martinez used her signature 800m speed to anchor the relay.

“I was just trying to stay as relaxed as possible and kick it the last 300 [meters] and see what I had,” said Martinez. “It worked I guess!”

Fan favorite Edward Cheserek took to the track as the anchor of St. Benedict’s Prep’s Sprint Medley Relay team. Entering as the reigning champions, St. Benedict’s was able to maintain the lead and give Cheserek the baton out in front.

Running smooth and controlled, Cheserek timed 1:52.22 for his 800m anchor leg, guiding the team to yet another national title. “To me, I like being a team together, to win as a team,” he said. “I think it’s good to win as a team.”