Wynne celebrates winning the boys mile with a big kick. (Photo by Jack Prior)
BOSTON, Mass. – Henry Wynne is not used to running just one race.
Given that opportunity on Saturday night, the senior from Staple (Conn.) High took full advantage by winning the individual title in the Boys’ Junior Mile at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. Wynne sizzled to a near personal best by circling the banked oval at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center in a time of 4 minutes, 11.73 seconds. Massachusetts’ resident James Randon of Middlesex (Conn.) School was second at 4:12.89.
“I haven’t been able to run a fast time because I am always tripling for my team, trying to win championship titles,” Wynne said. “To be able to come here and do something for myself, I am really happy how it turned out.”
The multiple state titlist took the gutsy approach to his victory by dictating the pace from the opening gun. He passed through the 400 mark at 61.2 and was 2:08.7 at the halfway point.
“That was the plan,” said Wynne, the recent Yale Track Classic 800-meter champion. “I always like to lead. I take it out fast. I just want to make sure I can take the lead and not get bounced in at all.”
Wynne was close to his personal best of 4:11.59, a time he ran to finish second in the mile at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals this past summer.
“My PR is from outdoor last year so if I am able to get it in indoor, I’ll be extremely happy,” he said. “I am hoping I can now go under 4:10. Well under 4:10, actually. I have definite goals for my team. This is showing that I am on the right track.”
Despite never giving up his lead, Wynne was never in the comfort zone. There was a group of eight that were still bunched together after five laps on the 200-meter track. Included among that pack was Dartmouth mile champion Bryce Kelley of Chariho High in R.I. (seventh, 4:18.50), Yale Track Classic 3K titlist Rob Napolitano of Red Bank Catholic in N.J. (third, 4:13.81) and Randon.
But it was Randon that posed the biggest threat, trailing Wynne by a few strides for most of the race.
“I could see him on the big screen,” Wynne said. “I felt he nicked my heels a little bit. That just pushed me the entire way. I didn’t let up at all until the end.”
Randon, who won the emerging elite two-mile race at the NBIN, feels he still has a lot left in the tank.
“I really think going forward all I need to develop is my speed,” he said. “Going through those first 600 and 800 meters I thought it was a little slow. Even at 1,200. I just haven’t raced that much lately. My last race was before Christmas. I love indoor season because it’s a time when you can still race but really take it easy. The one downsize to that you don’t really have the state of mind to race hard during the season. This is a cherry on the top that I was able to do this well.”
Wynne set a Connecticut state record with his time. He was spurred somewhat by the atmosphere.
“The crowd was awesome,” he said. “You could hear them yelling all the time. You could hear the announcer and (watch) the big screen. Everything just makes it an intense race.”
A total of seven runners dipped under 4:20. Following Napolitano was junior Jay Navin of Saratoga Springs in N.Y. , in fourth at 4:15.89. Senior Michael O’Donnell of Methuen (Mass.) High was fifth in 4:17.20 and Jack Hagood, a junior from Tatnall Wilmington in Delaware, was sixth with a time of 4:17.34.