Just decompressing after the long weekend. I missed last year, and didn’t get to any meets this fall, so it’s been nearly 1.5 years since I’ve seen a meet in person.
The atmosphere was great, although it was a little less crowded (by design? security? lack of big name elites - i.e. Bolt?), easier to move around. I didn’t think the security was over the top, just stupid - as you could bring a huge duffel bag in, but not a backpack. Or if you came in late in the afternoon, they didn’t even bother to check your bags. Security theater at it’s finest. But the cheesesteaks were still good, ditto the pretzels and the mojitos.
It was also my first time seeing a lot the NJ kids run in person.
Olivia Baker is a stud. I’m sure you all knew that, but her 4 x 8 leg was great. Wasn’t the fastest split - and would have liked to see her match up against the 3rd leg from Edwin Allen on the anchor - but to watch her run controlled on the opening 400 and then start to accelerate with 350 to go was great. Everyone around me took a gasp then - not with 200 to go when it looked inevitable - but when they realized that she was going to make a run at the leader. It’s something special - not just the ability to run great times - but to bring the crowd to it’s feet as they know they are about to see something great.
The Clark twins are studs. Heck, the entire Pleasantville team are studs. Roob mentioned that the leadoff kid PR’d by 2 seconds - that’s huge. On the leadoff, in the finals, at Penn - to run the race of your life when all the chips are on the line, that’s studly. However, the 3rd leg - major league toughness. I can’t really imagine a tougher situation mentally - you have a 1:49.X leg give you the lead at Penn, knowing that you’re the weak link, and having to run the whole thing essentially alone in front of 40,000+ people. I don’t know what his PR is/was, but he handled his job perfectly. And course, the Clarks. They ran great - they paced well, the ran hard. Didn’t go out like maniacs, saved for the last 100m. I don’t think I’ve ever seen two better h.s. legs on distance relay like that. Kostelac and Vrhovac from Abermarle were probably the closest thing. But the Clark brothers were something else.
Union Catholic was good in the 4 x 4 trials, looked very tired in the finals, with a banging race up front. Not much you can do in that situation, but they were still the top American team, which counts.
The DMR was a great race (and yes I’m biased). Cheserek is still Cheserek, and the 3:18 leadoff leg put him way out of reach. I know he takes a lot of criticism for his pacing (and often from me), but he there’s not much he’s going to do when he’s that far down. Other situations? Maybe. But he was nearly 20 seconds down when he got the stick. A doped up Moroccan isn’t going to win that race.
They’ve had similar situations in the previous years: 2011, they go on to run 9:51 at the end of the year, but a bad leadoff leg at penn killed them. 2012, they got the leadoff leg the needed, and Cheserek was ok. This year - another bad leadoff effectively ends the race for them. But, if they get a good leadoff this year…it may be a different race.
I know the CBA kids are probably disappointed - 2 years in a row they have the lead entering the anchor leg, and two years they are 1 second out of winning. But they ran almost a completely different team from the NBIN runner up team - no Bragg, no Mangini, no Boyle. Only McDermott was the same. Throw in another of their 400 guys, and they have two DMRs this year under 10:10. Insane depth.