Saturday Meet Summary from Yale Track Classic

Photo by Kyle Brazeil

For most of the Championship Girls’ 3K at the Yale Track Classic, Connecticut’s Claire Howlett was perfectly content with nestling herself behind the front-runner. When that pace-setter is Caroline Alcorta, a talented senior from West Springfield in Virginia with a 10:19 best for two miles on her resume, good things will more than likely transpire by the finish.

Patiently holding back for 14 of the 15 laps on the banked 200-meter oval inside Coxe Cage Saturday afternoon, the senior from Westhill, a 40-minute drive from the Yale University facility, made her only initial move the most decisive, breaking away from Alcorta on the back straightaway and holding on for the win with a new nation best of 9 minutes, 43.37 seconds.

“I felt pretty strong,” Howlett said. “My goal was to get a good time. I knew that by staying with (Alcorta) I could get a fast time.”

During the final day of the weekend competition, Alcorta crossed the line in second with a runner-up time of 9:45.59 (US #2). Finishing third was previous event-leader Maddy Berkson of Classical (RI), who broke her own state record by two seconds with a time of 9:47.35 (US#3).

Alcorta, who placed third at the Foot Locker Nationals this past fall, took the pace out hard from the opening gun. She hit the opening 1K in 3:10 and was 5:06 at the mile with Howlett just a stride or two behind.

Berkson was third at that point, a sizable eight-seconds from the lead.

“They went out pretty fast and I thought that they were going to come back,” said the Classical senior. “I thought they were going to come back and they didn’t.”

The two leaders maintained their consistent sub-40 second laps before Howlett was able to shift into another gear with about 100-meters remaining.

The boys’ Championship 3,000 proved equally as exciting with Tatnall (DE) junior Stephen Garrett edging Colin Tierney of Bishop Hendricken (RI) with an 8:35.20 clocking. Tierney, a senior, finished second at 8:35.36. Their respective times rank second and third on the national scale.

St. Anthony (NY) senior Patrick Tucker (eighth, 8:42.84) was the early-race leader, passing the first mile around 4:36. Garrett assumed control of the lead with about a half-mile to go. Tierney tried to pass the Delaware runner on the final turn and nearly stole the show the last few meters.

“I think I should have passed him going into the last lap. He had a good surge on the backstretch and then poked around me on the final straightaway,” Tierney said. “I thought I had him but then he cut back from the second lane into the first lane. He kind of gave me a little elbow and just edged me at the line.”

In the boys’ Championship Mile, Westchester Henderson (PA) senior Tony Russell won with a season-best and US #6 of 4:16.26. He held off fast-charging senior Christian Alvardo of Fairfield Prep (CT), who was second with a US #7 of 4:16.27. Jack Salisbury, a sophomore from La Salle Academy (RI), placed third at 4:18.98.

Henderson, owner of 4:14.20 best, never relinquished the lead from the opening gun. He ran consistent splits throughout the eight-lap race. He hit the 800 mark at 2:08.

Northport (NY) senior Brigid Brennan broke the tape in the girls’ Championship Mile with a four-plus second best of 5:04.13. Isabelle Horouch of Cold Spring Harbor (NY) was second at 5:06.05.

Brennan was among a pack of four runners at 1,200 (3:49). She broke for the title with a sizzling kick the final lap.

“With 400 to go I just felt really strong,” Brennan said. “I knew that I had speed so I went into the last lap and knew that I could pull it out.”

It was tight in the boys’ Championship 4x800 with Ridgewood (NJ) winning with a time of 8:01.53 (US #6). Finishing first in its heat, Burnt Hills (NY) secured second at 8:01.66 (US #7).

One of the country’s best, Downington East (PA) senior J’Von Jennings, maintained his No. 4 ranking in the 55 hurdles with a time of 7.48.

Port Richmond (NY) senior Yazmin Wilson-Jones coasted to a four-second victory in the girls’ Championship 800 with a time of 2:14.44 (US #8).

In the field events, Smithtown West (NY) senior Benjamin Bonhurst, the top-ranked shot-putter across the states, unleashed another 60-plus foot effort inside the circle with a winning heave of 60-3.5 in the Championship event.

West Springfield (VA) senior John Seals was a convincing victor in the Championship High Jump with a leap of 6-8, just two-inches shy of his PB of 6-10 (US #3) set a week ago at the Suffolk Stars Invitational.

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