Katelyn Tuohy Gains Coveted NYRR Millrose Games Mile Qualifier With 4:43 PR At Trials

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2018 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

NEW YORK (10-Jan) -- North Rockland High School's Katelyn Tuohy won the girls invitational mile easily at the NYRR Millrose Games Trials at the Armory Track & Field Center in Upper Manhattan on Wednesday

The 15 year-old sophomore broke away from the field in the first of eight laps, and ran unpressed to a personal best 4:43.62, just shy of Nevada Mareno's USA high school sophomore record of 4:43.23. Both Tuohy and second-place Marlee Starliper of Northern (PA) High (4:49.18 PB) qualified for the girls high school mile at the NYRR Millrose Games, scheduled for February 3rd.

Tuohy ran tonight's race on tired legs. This past Saturday she ran a solo 9:05.26 for 3000m at the Freedom Games in Staten Island, New York, coming within three quarters of a second of Mary Cain's national high school record of 9:04.51. She kept that in mind when she mounted the Armory's raised 200m, banked track Wednesday and tried not to overdo it.

"Today was just to qualify for Millrose, under control," Tuohy told Race Results Weekly.  "I was just working on hitting even splits, not getting outside of my comfort zone, and then just working on the last 150, trying to get my legs moving again after a long cross country season.  I definitely need to get my speed back."

Tuohy hit the first quarter tonight in a fast 69.4 seconds (sub-4:38 pace), then slowed through halfway in about 2:21, just under the Mareno's sophomore record pace. But a 72-second third quarter put the record out of reach, despite a strong closing lap.

"I was still a little tired from last weekend running the 3-K," Tuohy explained between sips of water.  "But, it felt good."

In 2017, Tuohy established herself as the dominant American high school harrier, boy or girl. Her season ended with a flourish in December at Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon, where she beat second place Kelsey Chmiel, a fine runner from Saratoga Springs (NY) High in her own right, by 40 seconds over the 5K course. She also cut 11 seconds off Katie Rainsberger's course record.

Tuohy, who said that Jenny Simpson "is a big inspiration," isn't sure if she'll be a better middle or long distance runner in the future, but for now is happy to race all the distances from 1500m to 5000m. She's not putting any restrictions on herself.

"It's pretty hard to decide now," Tuohy said.  "I've always considered myself a 1500/miler, but after this past cross country season, when I really developed my strength up... I think right now I'm a 3-K runner.  As the season develops, I'll definitely back down to the mile again."

Tuohy is particularly excited for the NYRR Millrose Games at the Armory, where winning the high school mile is one of the main goals of her indoor season. She has decided against entering the elite 3000m or the prestigious NYRR Wanamaker Mile.

"It's really important," Tuohy said of the Millrose mile.  "Millrose is such a prestigious meet that I'm pretty excited to run there."

In the boys invitational mile, Liam Conway of Pottstown Owen J. Roberts High (PA) ran 4:15.33 and Mason Gatewood of St. Anthony's (NY) went 4:15.80 to finish first and second, respectively, to qualify for the NYRR Millrose Games at the same distance. Conway came from fourth-place on the backstretch of the final lap, swept wide around the field, and came home for the win.

"Deep down I trusted myself to have that closing speed," Conway told Race Results Weekly.  "I was a little worried.  I was a little rusty coming right back into it.  Thankfully, I had it in me today."