Fastest Michigan high school runners crowned at Elite Mile race
Provided by Mlive
ALLENDALE -- The Gazelle Elite Mile race for high school runners Saturday wasn’t about boys versus girls, even though it was a competition between the fastest boy and girl runners in the state.
It seemed to be more about the runners versus themselves.
The races, which were run during the Michigan Indoor Track Series at Grand Valley State University, come at a time when most high school runners are in between seasons.
High school cross-country has been over for months and outdoor track season doesn’t start until March. Sure, runners are runners: they run all the time. But to compete against the best in the state while not in season was a challenge.
The girls ran first with Hannah Meier of Grosse Pointe South leading start to finish.
Race organizer Ted Kushion of Gazelle Sports wasn’t surprised about Meier at all.
“She took it right out of the gates,” he said. “She’s a girl who has won the state meet in the 800 meter. She’s got a lot of speed that some of these other girls just don’t have and a lot of natural ability as well.”
“There’s no question she’s one of the most talented runners in the country and we’re pretty honored to have her here.”
The finish turned out rather unique, with Meier’s sister Haley coming in second at 4:50.85.
Third place went to Allendale’s Ali Weirsma who turned in a personal best, coming in at 4:55.39.
The boy’s race went off in a different direction. Their group stayed mostly bunched up for most of the race with Cedar Springs’ Connor Mora leading early.
Mora started to break free from the pack after the first lap but the other runners caught up to him on lap three.
“I just tried to settle into a comfortable pace and try not to worry about the pack catching back up to me, but I figured they would,” he said. “I just tried to run a little more controlled so I could see what moves the others would make.”
Bryce Bradley of Chelsea High School had the best chance to catch Mora. Bradley battled Mora all down the back stretch, maybe even inching ahead at one point.
Kushion didn’t expect to see those types of moves at this time of year.
“I give those guys credit,” he said. “For this early in the season, to have the guts and see that the race was going off slow to really make a move. They both went at the right time.”
Mora wasn’t as surprised at Bradley’s move as Kushion was.
“(Bradley)’s got a really great 800 (meter) kick and he can run it really hard in the end,” he said. “I wouldn’t have expected anything less from him, he’s a good runner.”
Mora distanced himself from Bradley after their battle and won by a comfortable distance, topping his personal best with a time of 4:18.70. Evan Chiplock of Saginaw Heritage finished second at 4:21.56 with Bradley finishing third at 4:22.02.
“It was tough like expected but it was also fun like I expected it to be too,” he said. “It was a really challenging race and I love challenging races.”
For Kushion, who came up with the idea of bringing all the fastest high school milers together, it was all he could have hoped for.
“We couldn’t be happier with how it went,” he said. “To be able to give the local kids who are really talented runners the opportunity to run really fast is something we wanted to do. There were a lot of personal bests today.”