Reebok BIG HS Miles: Mac Fleet CA 4:09.06, Jessica Parry CAN 4:51.62

BOSTON - When you have a collection of the finest prep milers in the country toeing the line together, good things will often occur.

At the Reebok Boston Indoor Games on Saturday night, the girls’ and boys’ junior mile races proved no falsity it that statement.

(Photo by George Ross's DIGITALphotoconcept LLC)

In perhaps one of the most exciting prep races to be held at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center, University City (CA) High senior Mac Fleet edged Westerly (RI) High senior Andrew Springer at the line with a nation-best time of 4 minutes, 9.06 seconds. Springer, the top seed entering the race, claimed the runner-up spot with a time of 4:09.16. The rush didn’t stop there as third-place finisher Patrick McGregor of Hoover (AL) High clocked a time of 4:09.41 and Drew Butler of The Woodlands (TX) High was fourth at 4:09.62. The quartet of sub-4:10 efforts represented the four fastest times in the country to date.

The girls’ race turned into a thriller as well. With a field that included four of the top six milers nationwide, last year’s runner-up Jessica Parry of Ontario, Canada earned the hardware with a time of 4:51.62. Roslyn (NY) High’s Emily Lipari was second at 4:53.29.  

Fleet, who owned the fastest time among his competition with a 4:08.09 effort as a sophomore, was running his first race this season on the indoor boards.

“I came out here for the trip and, of course, the race,” he said. “It’s been a fantastic trip. I was just doing it to see how my base training is going. Apparently, it’s going.”

(Photo by George Ross's DIGITALphotoconcept LLC)

C.J. Brown of Carroll Senior (CA) High did the early pacesetting. With Fleet and Springer nestled just a few stride behind, Brown brought the field through a 400 split of 64.1.

For Springer, he was in unfamiliar territory. During a season in which he earned nation-best times of 4:10.61 for the mile (Yale Track Classic) and 8:27.1 for the 3K (Brown University Invitational) prior to the Boston Indoor Games, it was the first time he didn’t lead from the onset.

“I went out a little slower than I wanted to,” he said. “I guess it wasn’t the best thing.”
Springer assumed his customary spot up front by 700 meters and reached the halfway mark at 2:06.2. The RI product continued to lead the pack through a 1,000 split of 2:38 and was 3:08.7 at 1,200.

Fleet hung back in second, just about a stride and a half behind Springer. McGregor and Butler were also within striking distance of the lead.

With 47-second speed for the quarter mile, Fleet made his first move for the victory at the bell lap. Never giving up, Springer regained the lead with a 100 meters to go. From there, it turned into a mad dash to the finish with Fleet having that little extra speed at the end, taking his last lead with just a few meters remaining.

“I saw them tying up a little bit,” Fleet said. “They kind of stretched out. I still had a kick. I just powered through and they actually let up the last couple of steps.”

After being plagued with injuries earlier in his high school career, everything has been going just fine for Fleet lately.

“I’ve had some great training,” he said. “I have been injury-free for a while, and I’m healthy.”
Lipari, who finished third a week earlier in the Millrose Games prep mile (4:57.7), did the front running in the girls’ race, hitting the 400 at 72.6 and the 800 in 2:28.1.

(Photo by George Ross's DIGITALphotoconcept LLC)

“It kind of happened that way,” said Lipari, about her early lead. “But when you get stuck up in the front, you kind of can‘t slow down the pace.”

While Lipari was acting as the rabbit, the company behind her was not too far behind. Mississippi’s Cory Ann McGee, who was second at Millrose (4:54.59), and Brianna Welch of North Shore (NJ) High occupied the next couple of slots over the first four laps. Parry was also a few strides away.

The pack remained tight with the race reaching its final stages. McGee held the edge at 1,200, passed in 3:43.9. With just over two laps remaining Tri Valley (IL) High’s Stephanie Brown, who owns the fastest time in the country for the 800 (2:08.41), made a decisive move to the front with all but Parry responding.

Parry assumed control the final 400 and won convincingly. Finishing behind Lipari in third was Brown, who clocked a time of 4:54.87. McGee was fourth at 4:55.88.

“I got jostled a little at the beginning so I just kept my form for a while and made my way to the front,” Parry said.

It was Parry’s second straight appearance at the Boston Indoor Games. In last year’s race, she placed as the runner-up.

“Last year I kind of underestimated my fitness a little bit and I took off a little hard,” she said. “This year I decided to mix it up and try a different way.”