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Friday, January 27, 2012
U.S. Open: Samantha Nadel rips fastest girls mile ever at the Garden: 4:47.66

By John Nepolitan and Steve Underwood

Zavon Watkins and Samantha Nadel
Zavon Watkins took a tight boys high school mile and Samantha Nadel rolled to a Garden record in the girls race.
Coverage of HS events at the U.S. Open
Sat., Jan. 28, 2012 - Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.

Broadcast: Sun., Jan. 29, 7pm-9pm ET, ESPN2
LINKS: Boys Mile Video
John Nepolitan Photos:  Girls Mile | Boys Mile | Women's 800 & Relays |
Full Results | DyeStat Elite
Meet's Own Site | LIVE RESULTS




This USATF professional and Olympic-level meet, now THE meet at the venerated Madison Square Garden, has four high-school events – plus Neptune (Neptune, N.J.) senior megastar Ajee Wilson racing the pros in the elite 800.

ELITE 800: Wilson has not raced a hard 800 (or mile) this winter, but does have US#1 marks in the 600 (1:30.36) and 1k (2:48.31) to her credit.  Of course, last summer she was the World Youth champ outdoors at 800 in a US#2 2:02.64, #6 all-time, and was also US#1 at 800 last winter with her winning 2:06.17 at New Balance Indoor Nationals.  She has run on this 160-yard track more than once, including a 3rd in the Millrose HS Girls mile last year.  Just two other runners are listed in the race, but they’ll be tough: Canadian Jessica Smith (2:01.54 best) and Ethiopian Fantu Magiso (1:59.17 best).

GIRLS MILE: The big favorite will be North Shore (Glen Head, N.Y.) senior Samantha Nadel, who is not only US#1 in the mile this winter with her 4:46.11 PR (#13 all-time), but is familiar with the Madison Square Garden track, thanks to her Millrose Games victory here last winter.  Nadel’s North Shore teammate Brianna Nerud also returns to the Garden after taking 7th at Millrose in 2011.  She has run a 4:58.45 this season, but also clocked 4:53.25 last winter and 4:28.50 in the 1500 last spring, in addition to being the #2 all-time 2k steeplechaser.

Based on this winter’s times, Nadel would seem to have a sizable edge on the rest of the field, with only Pennsbury (Fairless Hills, Pa.) junior Sara Sargent and Bernards (Bernardsville, NJ) senior Dana Giordano having broken 5:00 this winter – and barely at that.  But things look potentially a lot tighter when you look at career bests – like 4:51.64 1600 for Sargent – or bests at other distances.  A 2:12 800 by Classical (Providence, R.I.) soph Madeleine Berkson shows she’s a good candidate for well under 5:00; so does a 9:52.25 3k by Saratoga Springs (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) junior Keelin Hollowood – who broke 5:00 earlier in her career.

Girls Entries (with most relevant PRs)
Emily Waligurski (Onteora HS/Onteora, NY) – 4:57.52 1M, 4:33.51 1500
Brianna Nerud (North Shore HS/Glen Head, NY) – 4:58.45 1M, 4:28.50 1500
Samantha Nadel (North Shore HS/Glen Head, NY) – 4:46.11 1M, 4:25.59 1500
Sarah Jane Underwood (West Potomac HS/Alexandria, VA) - 2:55.97 1k, 5:04.87 1600
Dana Giordano (Bernards HS/Bernardsville, NJ) – 4:57.25 1600, 10:28.23 2M
Sara Sargent (Pennsbury HS/Fairless Hills, PA) – 4:51.64 1600, 9:39.26 3k
Taylor Driscoll (Saratoga Springs HS/Saratoga Springs, NY) – 5:03.76 1M, 2:59.00 1k
Keelin Hollowood (Saratoga Spr. HS/Saratoga Spr., NY) – 4:56.27 1M, 4:33.02 1500, 9:52.25 3k
Marissa Ruskan (Bridgewater-Raritan HS/Bridgewater, NJ) – 4:57.41 1600,
Madeleine Berkson (Classical HS/Providence, RI) – 5:04.74 1M, 4:43.62 1500

BOYS MILE: When you’ve got someone running like Edward Cheserek has been this winter, any national-class distance race without him seems somewhat lacking.  But the US Open field has the next two fastest milers of 2012 and 5 of the top 10 overall – pretty darn good.  One of this winter’s biggest surprises is Peabody (Peabody, Mass.) senior Nick Christensen, whose US#2 4:12.56 PR came against open runners in the Boston U. Mini-Meet #3 on Dec. 31 and that makes him the top seed.

The biggest and arguably the most talented name in the field, though, is Liverpool (Liverpool, N.Y.) senior Zavon Watkins – who won the New Balance Games mile last weekend in 4:14.52.  Watkins is best known at 800, where he’s the 2011 NB Indoor Nationals champ and a 1:49.70 performer outdoors. Also, only Watkins has raced the mile on this track before (7th, 2011 Millrose).

Six others in the field have broken 4:20.  Chaminade (Mineola, N.Y.) senior Thomas Awad has run 4:15.67 this winter, 4:12.86 1600 last spring, and 9:10.97 for 2M.  He and Chesnut Hill Acad. (Philadelphia, Pa.) senior Dustin Wilson (9:02 3200 PR from 2010) have the best long-distance chops in the field.  On the other end, Shaker (Latham, N.Y.) senior Christian Delago – whose teammate Mike Libruk is also in the race – has hit 4:16.00 in 2012 and sped 2:28.86 for 1k last winter.

Boys Entries (with most relevant PRs)
Nick Christensen (Peabody HS/Peabody, MA) – 4:12.56 1M
Wesley Gallagher (Pembroke HS/Pembroke, MA) – 4:18.28i 1M
Tom Awad (Chaminade HS/Mineola, NY) – 4:15.67i 1M, 4:12.86 1600, 9:10.97 2M
Zavon Watkins (Liverpool HS/Liverpool, NY) – 4:14.52i 1M, 4:11.13 1600, 1:49.70 800
Christian Delago (Shaker HS/Latham, NY) – 4:16.00i 1M, 2:28.86 1k
Mike Libruk (Shaker HS/Latham, NY) – 4:19.63 1600
Dustin Wilson (Chestnut Hill HS/Philadelphia, PA) – 4:17.79i 1M, 9:02.85 3200
Konrad Surkont (Stuyvesant HS/New York, NY) – 4:16.31i 1M
Zach Cammer (Walt Whitman HS/Huntington Station, NY) – 4:21.40i 1M
Chris Cogliano (Bishop Guertin HS/Nashua, NH) – 4:25.40i 1M

CHSAA Girls 4x400m Relay - The strong favorite should be St. John Villa off their US#4 3:55.81 2012 best.  No other school in the field has broken 4:00 this winter.

Archbishop Molloy (Briarwood, NY)
The Mary Louis Academy (Jamaica Estates, NY)
Notre Dame (Staten Island, NY)
St. Anthony's (South Huntington, NY)
St. John the Baptist (West Islip, NY)
St. John Villa (Staten Island, NY)

CHSAA Boys’ 4x800m Relay – The best mark coming in is from Kellenberg at US#7 7:59.10.  They were 4th in the 4x8 on this track last winter.  The 1-2 schools from that race – St. John The Baptist and St. Anthony’s – are also entered.

Fordham Prep (Bronx, NY)
Kellenberg (Uniondale, NY)
Monsignor Farrell (Staten Island, NY)
St. Anthony's (South Huntington, NY)
St. John the Baptist (West Islip, NY)
Xavier (New York, NY)


The list of events below is subject to change.

6:58 USATF Club Sprint Medley 1
7:06 USATF Club Sprint Medley 2
7:15 CHSAA HS Girls' 4 X 400m
7:20 Men's High Jump
7:25 Girls' Invitational High School Mile
7:35 Boys' Invitational High School Mile
7:45 Harris Women's 800m
7:52 CHSAA HS Boys' 4 x800m
8:05 Women's 500y
8:15 Chase Women's Mile
8:20 Women's Pole Vault
8:25 Men's 600y
8:35 Visa Men's Mile
8:45 Visa Men's Shot Put
9:25 Visa Women's 50m hurdles
9:35 Harris Men's 50m hurdles
9:45 Harris Women's 50m dash
9:55 Chase Men's 50m dash