No. 5 - All Tookered Out
It was the dive heard around the world.
Mikey Brannigan earned our top spot in the Top Ten Moments of
2015. Much of the story stemmed from the incredibly close calls that
cost him a State Title, three seasons in a row. Now a senior, in what
would ultimately be the final attempt at a State Title, Brannigan
entered the 3200m as the top seed.
|Cross Country State Meet||0.3 seconds off 1st place|
|NXN-NY Regional||2.9 seconds off course record|
|Indoor State Meet - 1000m||0.07 seconds off 1st place|
|Outdoor State Meet - 1600m||0.02 seconds off 1st place|
|Outdoor Nationals - 4xMile||2.17 seconds off State Record|
|Brooks PR - 4xMile||0.32 seconds off National Record|
With 50m to go, it looked like Brannigan was set to grab his first State Title. But he wasn't expecting Aidan Tooker. Nobody was, especially not like that.
Below, you will find our original recap of the race
Much like the mile, the pace went out painfully slow. 4:40 through the first 1600m is relaxed when half the field has broken 4:10 for the 1600m. Through the next six laps, the leaders began to string out, yet never further than a stride apart. With two laps to go, the race was playing right into Mikey Brannigan's hands. He had the fastest closing speed of the entire field, demonstrated by his 8:54 over the full 2-Mile's last spring. And then there was Aidan Tooker, who had taken over the leading duties for much of the second half. Recognizing that Brannigan was about to take off, Tooker made the first move, transitioning to an all-out sprint with 300m to go, while also pulling Jeremy Spiezio along. However, the sprint couldn't stave off Brannigan, who passed Tooker on the backstretch, both athletes hitting 29-seconds with one lap to go. Brannigan accelerated down the backstretch, elongating his lead, and coming around the final turn clean. A fan favorite, the crowd rose to their feet. Brannigan had a rough time of it his junior year, coming up short by less than a combined second over three different state meets.
Unfortunately, however, the crowd's noise covered up the oncoming charge from Tooker. The Saratoga junior had not given up when Brannigan broke the field with 300m to go. He continued to accelerate to the line towards the blue jersey ahead. As Brannigan lifted his arms as he approached the line, as he does in every race, Tooker dove under the arms, and across the line. Cornell was in shock, as the end result wouldn't be clear until the time came up on the board. And then it flashed. Aidan Tooker had taken his first state title by 0.03 seconds. A gutsy race until the end.
Photo finish with the dive. Tooker wins in 9:05.47 pic.twitter.com/5OLzkCv5vu— MileSplit NY (@MileSplitNY) March 7, 2015
The story would go viral. The race would be replicated on the latest "Run Junkie". Tookered would become a new verb.The junior from Saratoga would go on to have a breakout race the following weekend at New Balance Nationals, setting a Junior State Record for the 2-Mile. Brannigan would go on to set records of his own, a career that surpassed State Borders. But it was those final steps of the 3200m that would be our Moment #4 for 2015.