Verzbikas blows up after 4:17 opening mile; Joe Rosa breaks national junior class record.
Sophomore sensation Lukas Verzbikas of New Lenox, Illinois was the early aggressor, but twin brothers Joe and Jim Rosa of Plainsboro, New Jersey were the top two finishers Friday night in the boys 2-mile at the New Balance Nationals High School Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Joe Rosa took the win in a national junior class record of 8:44.06, and brother Jim crossed the line second in 8:51.46 as eight boys in the field of fourteen broke the 9-minute barrier. Verzbikas, the national cross country champion who won the Jim Ryun Dream Mile in 4:04.38 at last weekend’s adidas Grand Prix in New York, opened up a three-second lead on the field at the mile, splitting an eye-popping 4:17.77. He continued to lead for another half mile before Joe Rosa moved to the front with two laps to go — a lead he never relinquished. Rosa hit the bell lap one second ahead of his brother — 7:39.13 to 7:40.20 — and closed in 64.94 seconds to win by 7 seconds.Verzbikas faded over the last two laps, running his last half mile in 2:23.87, to finish fifth behind the Rosa brothers, Wade Meddles of Minden, Nevada and Tyler Anyan of Brookwood, Georgia. The national record in the event is 8:34.40, set in 2008 by Riverbank, California’s German Fernandez, now a sophomore at Oklahoma State.
For complete coverage of the meet, including live results, visit the event’s website: New Balance Nationals