The North Carolina native won the girls 2-mile on Saturday.
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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Hometown favorite Wesley Frazier continued her quest for the elusive distance triple crown here on the second day of New Balance Outdoor Nationals, while Virginia’s Sean McGorty dropped a strong field in the boys 2-mile. Fast 2000m steeplechases and 4x800m relays made for an excellent day of distance competition at America’s high school athletics national championships.
As the gun sounded and 13 girls took off from the start of the 2-mile, no single athlete wanted to take over the leading duties. With typical front runner Erin Finn scratching from the event, it fell to Washington’s Katie Knight and New York’s Katie Lembo to pull the field along. Sitting an arm’s length behind was Frazier, Friday’s 5000m winner and meet record holder.
Things stayed relatively calm through the first mile, reached first by Lembo in 5:06.91. Behind remained the entire field, bunched up with athletes finding themselves in lanes 2 and 3 at points.
Frazier’s strategy of waiting and letting others do the work seemed to be playing into her hands, as New England Outdoor 3200m champion Hannah DeBalsi and Ohio’s Annie Heffernan took turns at the front. Still tucked in behind was Frazier.
“I don’t like to take the lead early in the race,” said Frazier moments after finishing.
With two laps to go, Frazier debated unleashing a long kick and moving to the front.
“I felt really strong about going into the last 800m. I thought it was a little too early to take the lead, so I wanted to hang on a little bit longer with the group and see on the last lap how much I could take off,” she said.
As the bell sounded with 400 meters remaining, Frazier unleashed a ferocious kick that timed 65.35 seconds for the final lap. Crossing the finish in 10:07.35, the 17-year-old now has won the first two legs of the distance triple crown: the 5000m, two-mile, and mile (to be held Sunday).
“It’s harder than I make it look,” said Frazier when responding to Race Results Weekly’s comment on how effortless she made the race look.
Frazier then turned her focus towards Sunday’s mile.
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“I’ll just see what I have left,” she said with a smile. Last year, Frazier placed second in the discipline.
Moments after Frazier walked off the track, it was the boys turn at 2 miles. Taking the lead from the gun was McGorty, the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships runner-up. Lap-by-lap, the senior wore out the rest of the field, which included the likes of New Balance Nationals Indoor 5000m champion Elijah Armstrong, 4:01.71 miler Bernie Montoya, and Nike Cross Nationals winner Sam Wharton.
Timing 1:02.78 for the opening 440 yards, McGorty was set on keeping the pace honest from the beginning. Even before completing his second lap, McGorty had left most of the field behind, with only Connecticut’s James Randon and Montoya chasing within five meters.
“Coming in, you always look at the field and you have to know what types of runners your running against. I know especially Bernie has a great kick, he’s shown that at multiple races,” he said. “I wanted to come in here and run the way I do, sort of going out at a quick pace from the start and trying to hold on or pick it up if I feel good.”
Hitting the first mile in 4:20.69, McGorty was confident in his positioning. Montoya had dropped back a step and wouldn’t play a factor the rest of the way. Randon would be the only strong challenger, staying within reach until 500m remained. From there, it was all McGorty.
“I tried to drop them all, just try to rely on my strengths and I was able to do that,” he said. “I wanted to finish as quickly as possible and enjoy, soak up the moment.”
McGorty’s final time was 8:45.61, just under seven seconds ahead of Randon. Montoya wound up third, with Mickey Burke and Wharton rounding out the top five.