Videos courtesy of the adidas Grand Prix
Girls' Dream Mile Camille Chapus holds off Alli Billmeyer to win the adidas High School Girls Dream Mile
Girls' Dream 100 Octavious Freeman wins the adidas High School Girls Dream 100
A week ago Saturday, Cami Chapus assumed she was settling into a nice two-week break from racing. She just won the 1600 meter final in the California state championship meet and it was time to rest up for nationals in North Carolina.
But then a call came from the Dream Mile organizers. They said they were assembling a top mile field for a race held on Saturday and they wanted her.
At first, she didn't want to go, but agreed only when a friend reminded her it was a free trip to New York City to compete in one of the world's most prestigious track & field meets, the adidas Grand Prix.
Chapus won the girls' Dream Mile yesterday to stake the unofficial claim as the country's top miler, beating 12 other girls and finishing in 4:42.71.
If the boys Dream Mile was notable for its precise, overhyped focus on time, the girls' version was all about getting the win.
"I really wasn't paying attention to the splits," Chapus said after the race. "So I had no idea what the splits were. I just wanted to go out and race and go for the win."
For a race that didn't come with the weighty expectations of breaking a long-sought barrier like in the boys race, the girls were left to employ pure racing tactics. They literally threw times to the wind.
"The wind was a factor, so no one really wanted to take the lead," said Chapus' friend from California, senior Alli Billmeyer.
That's why through two laps, a crowded pack of 13 girls, four lanes abreast, share the lead. After a 69-second first lap, they crawled through a 75-second second lap and came through at 2:24.
Billmeyer nonetheless pressed the issue and the field stretched out slightly over the back stretch of the third lap. But by the time they returned to the homestretch, the group was packed in like sardines again. When the bell rang, there were 11 girls in the front pack, all within a second on one another.
Chapus, who ran 4:46 for the 1600 meters earlier this year, positioned herself in the lead, with Billmeyer on her shoulder.
Chapus held the lead through the finish, but Colorado's Eleanor Fulton, a lean miler who raced obscurely in the back of the pack for the most of this race, came on strong and for a moment it seemed as though she would win. Instead, she narrowly finished second, in 4:42.90. Billmeyer held on for third, in 4:43.18.
Maddie Meyers, last year's champ, who ran 4:41.93 in that race, was in a position to once again make a dramatic move with 200 meters, but she said she just didn't have it.
"It's always hard to see the front pack go and be like 'oh, I can totally catch them,'" said Meyers, who finished seventh, in 4:45.46. "But today that rush just didn't come for me."
Both of the favorites won in the inaugural running of the boys' and girls' Dream 100 meters, though both admitted that the slow conditions led a lot to be desired in terms of time.
Florida's Octavious Freeman, the country's top sprinter in both the 100 meters and 200 meters, beat the eight-girl field in 11.78, more than half a second off her season best. Freeman blamed the slow time on a stiff 2.3 mile-per-hour head wind, as well as a poor start, which could have resulted from the slipperiness created by the rainfall.
New Jersey's Myasia Jacobs upset the country's No. 2 and No. 3 sprinters to take second in 11.90. That narrowly beat Tynia Gaither, who was considered one of the co-favorites to challenge Freeman.
Florida's Marvin Bracy blamed the same conditions for his relatively slow winning time, 10.47, in the boys' Dream Mile. He barely out-leaned runner-up Sean McLean, of North Carolina, who ran 10.48.
But both Bracy and McLean have an impressive consolation to take away from the meet. Both of their performances would have won the Men's B 100 meters, which included Olympic and World championship medalist Marc Burns (10.56), in addition to a slew of professionals.