Friday, June 15, 2012

Wesley Frazier and Edward Cheserek win New Balance Outdoor 2 Mile Titles

The New Balance Outdoor Nationals once again returned to the beautiful Irwin Belk Track at Aggie Stadium this weekend. Greensboro, North Carolina would once again host the best high schoolers from across the country. The featured distance events of the evening would be the Boys and Girls Championship 2 Mile Runs.

Leading the boys would be St. Benedict Prep's Edward Cheserek. Would he challenge German Fernandez' meet record of 8:34.40, which was set in 2008? Would he challenge Lukas Verzbicas' 8:29.46 set last year at Pre? Those were the questions stirring through the stadium as the 80+ degree day started to cool into the mid 70's at sunset approached.

The day got off to a rough start for the Newark, NJ Senior, as he lost control and dropped the baton during the Sprint Medley Relay. This is coming off a disappointing 12th places finish at the Adidas Grand Prix Dream Mile, where he "only" ran 4:07.29. How would he respond in quite possibly he last race of his season?

Of course, Cheserek isn't the only story. The 2 Mile would be the last high school race for Cary, NC standout, Thomas Graham, before heading out west in the Fall to join the powerhouse that is the Stanford Cardinal. Graham's career as one of the top distance runners in North Carolina history includes multiple state titles, two trips to Foot Locker Nationals, an 8:56.21 for 3200 meters at the storied Arcadia Invitational and most notably, a 14:11.23 for 5000 meters at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational. How would he fare against King Edward and the rest of an excellent field that spanned from coast to coast.

Last night, Winona Lake, Indiana's Ashley Erba ran a meet record of 16:18.21, distancing herself from last year's champ, Raleigh Ravenscroft's Wesley Frazier. Frazier has had another excellent year, most recently running an impressive 4:42.78 at the Adidas Grand Prix Dream Mile. She would have her hands full tonight with Wilmington, Delaware Tatnall's Haley Pierce coming in with the strongest run of the year at 10:16.35 for 3200 meters.

The girls would go off first at 8:10pm and Wesley Frazier would bide, a the field was tightly bunched the whole way and went through the mile in 5:07. Frazier came on strong over the last 100 meters to take the win in 10:13.43, outkicking Salt Lake City's Natalie Shields in the process

Edward Cheserek on the last lap
The guys would follow at 8:40pm. Edward Cheserek would play it cool and not take the lead until about 400 meters to go. When he went, Thomas Graham bided his time and got up on his shoulder with 200 meters to go. It wasn't until the last 100 meters that the speedier Cheserek would pull away and take the win in 8:55.12. Graham would PR in the process with a strong 8:56.56 for the 2 mile distance.

Although the USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships would be going on this weekend as well and there would be an obvious divide of talent, the New Balance Outdoor Nationals is always an excellent event, and is a great place to see some emerging talent. I know I had a blast in 1995! Come back tomorrow for the mile and plenty more.

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