The 17-year-old high school phenom makes history at nationals.
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GREENSBORO, N.C. — North Carolina’s Wesley Frazier made history on the final day of competition at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor on Sunday, becoming the first girl ever to successfully complete the long distance triple, winning the mile, 2-mile, and 5000m in a span of less than 72 hours. Frazier established herself as one of the best prep athletes ever to compete in these championships.
For the 17-year-old from Raleigh, June 14-16 will go down as one of the most memorable weekends of her athletics career. After taking the 5000m and 2-mile titles on Friday and Saturday, respectively, the Duke-bound senior toed the line at Aggie Stadium for the final time as a high school athlete in the mile here today. She was determined to make her last hurrah a memorable one.
“I’m really happy about it, I couldn’t ask for a better end to my high school career,” she said following the win.
Through halfway in 2:22.15, Frazier sat meters behind New Jersey’s Josette Norris, who had attempted to run the wheels off of Frazier. Responding to Norris’s move with ease, Frazier ran within herself as she came up on the leader’s shoulder.
Just like she had in her previous two wins, Frazier decided her time to go was at the start of the bell lap. Immediately, she extended her stride and opened up a gap on the trailing Norris.
“I wasn’t sure — having already run so hard in the last two races — if I was going to be able to win this one,” said Frazier. “I just had to wait until the last lap and go.”
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Down the homestretch, Frazier wouldn’t slow the pace despite knowing the victory was hers. Breaking the tape in 4:39.66, just tenths off of her personal best, Frazier became the first girl ever to win the mile, 2-mile, and 5000m at New Balance Nationals. The only other person to complete the high school trifecta was Lukas Verzbicas at the 2011 New Balance Nationals Indoor meeting.
Frazier’s initial reaction to the historic feat was how painful it was. For the first time all weekend, Frazier showed fatigue just after she broke the tape, going to her knees in complete exhaustion.
“I’m happy it’s over,” she said with a laugh. “I’m pretty sore … I don’t know if I’d do it again.”
Making history roughly 70 miles from her hometown meant the world to Frazier, as many of her friends and family were in attendance. Receiving her All-American crown and medal, Frazier got a standing ovation from the crowd.
After breaking 16:00 for 5000m on Friday evening, some track fans and media members began comparing Frazier to Mary Cain, the Alberto Salazar-coached athlete who has broken high school records from 800m to 5000m. Frazier rejected the comparison.
“She’s an incredible athlete, I have a lot of respect for her. That is saying a lot,” she said with a chuckle. “She definitely has higher credentials than I do right now. She’s better; I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily on her level. But I appreciate the comparison.”
What makes Frazier’s success even more remarkable is that she runs only about 40 miles a week. Including warm ups and cool downs, she estimated that she had covered between 15 and 20 miles in the last three days alone.
Crossley, Red Tide Set Meet Records
In the boys 800m, North Carolina’s John Crossley set a meet record thanks to a patient strategy. Louisiana’s Blair Henderson took the pace out at a blistering clip from the gun, stringing the field out by 400m.
Sitting behind was Crossley, knowing the quick early pace would likely tire most of the field.
“Everybody took it out fast. I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “But I ran my race, I don’t worry about them.”
With less than 300 meters remaining, Crossley made his move, taking the lead with authority.
“I figured I’d had such a good season, I might as well leave it all out right here in my last race,” said Crossley, who would break the tape in 1:48.01, shaving .08 of a second off the previous meet record.
“It feels awesome. It’s an honor for me to be here and do the best I can do,” said Crossley, competing at his first New Balance National meet.