Billy goes over some of the major highlights of Friday.
Overview of the day: What looked like a race that would come down to the closing laps between at least a half dozen runners, turned into a runaway victory for Ben Varghese in the Championship 5,000-meter run. The senior from Daniel Boone High (Tn.) made a bold move with a little more than four laps remaining to win with a big-time PR of 14:47.50. Varghese ran negative splits the last half of the race, including a 2:06 for his final 800m. Competing in his first-ever 5K, Thomas Fafard of Quebec placed second overall in 14:56.12. He was just ahead of early race-leader Matthew Grossman of Millburn (N.J.), who was timed in 15:56.40. Chad Johnson of Galion (OH) and David Melville of Summerfield (N.C.) also dipped under 15 minutes taking fourth and fifth, respectively, with times of 14:57.13 and 14:57.38. Varghese transformation to a national champion is an impressive one. As a freshman, he had a best of 18:44 for the 3.1-mile distance. Prior to Friday's race, his top time for 5K was done on the cross-country trails where he second at the Nike Cross Nationals Southeast Regionals with a 15:03.60 clocking.
In a race that featured a plethora of teams capable of stealing the show, Carlisle (PA) stood alone at the end in the Championship DMR, establishing a new national record of 9:56.18. That time broke the old national mark of 9:59.94 by Gloucester (Ma.) in 2000. Sam Affolder anchored Carlisle with a blistering 4:04.8 for the mile. The next two teams across the line also had sub 4:10s from their anchors. Brentwood (Tn.), powered by a 4:09.59 from Brodey Hasty, placed second with a combined effort of 10:12.54. Nick Dahl's 4:08.72 fueled Germantown Friends (Pa.) to third overall in 10:12.55.
· Carlisle High, Pa, National High School Record, DMR, 9:56.18
Boys' 5K: Ben Varghese, Daniel Boone, Tn. 14:47.50
Boys' DMR: Carlisle High School, Pa., 9:56.18
"I went into the race confident. I went into it knowing I can do this."
- Ben Varghese, after his victory in the Championship 5K
Race of the Day: Boys' Championship DMR
There's a reason it took 17 years to break. Pre-meet favorite Carlisle wiped away the longstanding national record for the Distance Medley Relay with its winning time of 9:56.18. The Pennsylvania squad never lost focus of the NR from the time the smoke cleared the starter's gun. Sam Affolder put Carlisle in the driver's seat, giving his team a comfortable four-second lead with an opening 3:02 for his 1,200m leg. "I went out a little slow for the first 400, but I just stayed consistent, went to the arms and legs and gave the baton with a big lead and knew we had a good shot at the record." Affolder was followed by a 51.71 400m split from Jared Griffie, a 1:57.41 800m leg by Isaac Kole and his older brother Noah's sub 4:05. "They have me the baton with a good lead. I felt like I was fit enough to chase the record," Noah Affolder said. "I went out pretty conservative for the first 800 and really just tried to turn the screw and hammer in the nail."
The two Affolders will be back on the track on Sunday where they'll be chasing a few more national titles - Sam is a leading contender in the mile, while Noah has a chance to earn a two-mile title. So far, it's sweet redemption for Sam Affolder at NBNI. In 2016, he was 21st out of 23 competitors in the Championship Mile. "Last year I came here and didn't do well at all," he said. "This year I came with our team. I knew the record was within our sights and I really wanted to hammer it home."