High School: New Balance Nationals Preview

Wesley Frazier could finish nationals weekend with three victories. Photo: Milesplit

Boys

No Edward Cheserek, Yet
As of the official startlists published on June 13, one big name missing from the meet is Edward Cheserek of New Jersey. Cheserek doesn’t appear to be competing, a disappointment as it is his senior season. He will attend the University of Oregon in the fall. Of course, there is the possibility that Cheserek is a late entrant; if he does run at the meet, he’ll be a favorite no matter the discipline.

Montoya Drops Down To 800m
Arizona’s Bernie Montoya, who timed 4:01.71 for the mile at the Prefontaine Classic, will go for the national title over 800m on Sunday. A senior in his last go around on the outdoor track, Montoya is ready to unleash a mark to be remembered. The meet record stands at 1:48.09 (set by current University of Wisconsin athlete Austin Mudd in 2011), something that could be in jeopardy if he has a great race.

Wynne Seeking Indoor/Outdoor Mile Double
Connecticut’s Henry Wynne has had a tremendous senior season. The 18-year-old from Staples High School won the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix Junior Mile in February, and then traveled to New York City and captured national crowns in both the mile and distance medley relay at New Balance Nationals Indoors. This outdoor season, he has run 4:05.04 for the mile and just last week won the New England High School Championships 800m in 1:49.93. Bound for the University of Virginia, Wynne is certainly the favorite over four laps. He is also entered in Saturday’s 4x800m and 1600m sprint medley relay.

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Stacked 2-Mile Hard To Predict
The 2-mile may be the most loaded men’s event of the New Balance Nationals weekend. Entered are New Balance Nationals Indoors 5000m champion Elijah Armstrong, Foot Locker Cross Country Championships runner-up Sean McGorty, 4:01.71 miler Bernie Montoya, Nike Cross Nationals winner Sam Wharton, plus many more who could become factors. It’s hard to judge how this race will play out — strategic or fast from the gun — but one thing is for sure: with the caliber of athletes in the discipline, a great race is sure to be had.

5000m Features Former Winners
The first distance event on the meet program is the 5000m, run under the lights Friday evening. Toeing the line will be 2013 New Balance Nationals Indoor winner Elijah Armstrong and cross country ace Sam Wharton — both of whom will also run the 2-mile a day later — as well as last year’s 5000m champion, Jake Leingang of North Dakota.

Armstrong looked phenomenal at New Balance Nationals Indoors, when he timed 14:54.27 to win the 5000m crown. Leingang has been performing well of late; he won the high school mile at the Portland Track Classic in 4:07.16.

Relays Galore
No preview of New Balance Nationals would be complete without mentioning the relays. Among the distance contests are the 4x800m, 4xMile, and Distance Medley Relays. What is best about the relays is seeing the individual standouts perform in a team setting. Among those competing as part of their school’s quartet are Sean McGorty, Henry Wynne, and Jake Leingang.

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