HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The stage was set, the field was announced and all that was left was that inescapable tension in the air.
With one of the best boys mile fields ever assembled for the RunningLane Track Championships on Saturday at Milton Frank Stadium, sub-4 was on the mind for St. Raphael Academy's Devan Kipyego.
But it wasn't long before the storyline changed -- as these things do -- and Kipyego was left fighting for his right to win, fending off a brilliantly-measured run from Adam Burlison, in what would go down as the fourth-fastest time in meet history.
Kipyego had one last surge with 20 meters to go and held off the Texan for a winning time of 4:03.65, less than two tenths-of-a-second better than Burlison's 4:03.85.
In some ways, that was the way this story was predicted to happen.
But in other ways, it verged in every conceivable way. Burlison, a late entry into the RunningLane Track Championships, had never run an outdoor mile. Just two weeks ago, he ran his personal best at 1,600m, winning a UIL Class 6A state title in 4:08.64.
That performance, however, converts to a full mile time of 4:10. On Saturday, Burlison took off nearly seven seconds from it.
Perhaps it caught Kipyego off guard.
But the Rhode Islander did not faulter, taking one challenge from Burlison and then giving him one move of his own as he took it to the line in the win.
A total of 10 athletes in the field broke 4:15 in the race, with seven of them going under 4:10.
Boys 1 Mile Run Finals ========================================================================================================= NAME YR TEAM MARK H# WIND ======================================================================================================= 1 Devan Kipyego 12 Rhode Island 4:03.65 1 2 adam burlison 11 Texas 4:03.85 1 3 Noah Jenkins 12 Utah 4:07.13 1 4 Rhen Langley 12 Louisiana 4:08.17 1 5 Tommy Latham 10 Georgia 4:08.50 1 6 Drew Costelow 12 Colorado 4:09.48 1 7 Dawson Reeves 11 North Carolina 4:09.61 1 8 Charles Perry 11 Alabama 4:10.91 1 9 Steven West 12 New Mexico 4:14.27 1 10 Alex Leath 12 Alabama 4:14.32 1 11 Owen Whitney 10 Colorado 4:15.51 1 12 William Horne 12 Utah 4:15.53 1 13 Knox Young 11 South Carolina 4:15.74 1 14 Logan Dingman 12 North Carolina 4:17.98 1