No. 9 - Can't Catch Conor at Cox Cage
There was a familiar face on the line that day, for Fordham Prep junior Conor Lundy. Jeremy Spiezio, a senior of Greenwich, was the only other New Yorker in the field of the seeded boys 3000m race, at the 33rd annual Yale Invitational. And it wasn't only the race that would be familiar, as it would also be the back. Serving as a preamble for Moment #9, the pair lined up one week prior, at the EmblemHealth Hispanic Games in NYC. That day, it was the mile run, with an automatic slot into the prestigious Millrose Mile on the line. The pair had both been in the race that was taken out quickly by Sam Ritz (PA) through the opening laps. The pair came through the half in 2:06, and pulled away from any challengers, including Mikey Brannigan, in the final 100m. Spiezio would make the move early, sprinting away from the field, while Lundy moved up from third to respond, and pass Brannigan. Spiezio wouldn't be caught that day, and would go NY #7 All-Time. Lundy would be second, in an equally impressive mark. One week later, and the rematch was set.
The race distance was 3000m, an oddity for NY runners. Typically, the distance is only contested twice a year, once indoors at Yale, and once outdoors at Penn Relays. Both competitors knew they were rounding into peak fitness, proven by their swift times the week before. They knew they were on each others radar. As the gun sounded, Lundy and Spiezio settled into the back of the pack, well aware of the sharp turns on the extra-banked track in the Yale facilities. Slowly, they each moved up, Lundy first, with Spiezio behind. The trio from La Salle (RI) would lead for many of the opening laps, while Lundy trailed in 5th. It wouldn't be until the 5min mark that Spiezio would return to the front, poaching the relaxed pace of the front-runners. By that time, Lundy had moved to second, trailing Viraj Deokar (MA), and continued to check off the laps on an even pace.
It would be that 5min mark where the pace would change. Deokar made his move, separating from the field. Lundy went with him, Spiezio the only other to do so as well. Suddenly, it was a three person race. Within two laps, the order had changed. Spiezio elongated his stride, and pushed to the lead. Lundy went with him, moving to second. At the 7min mark, Spiezio had his opening, the lack of obstruction in front allowing him to open up his stride. It was on pace to be a replay of the weekend prior, as Spiezio would continually throw down surges every 15m to try and break the field. But this time, Lundy was tucked in behind Spiezio, responding with every step. With 400m to go, Lundy's head began to drop in exhaustion, Spiezio opening up a larger gap with every stride on the back turn. And then something happened. The bell rang, signaling the final lap of the race. Lundy dug deep through the pain, and recovered the deficit. On the backstretch, he was now shoulder to shoulder. The edge allowed him to hit the turn first, pushing the race single file. He rode the gust of energy down the backstretch, pushing all the way through the line, with a tiny glance back, and crossed the line in gold medal position. Behind him, Spiezio had been chomping at his heels, never giving up, and pulled in right behind. The pair would both break the meet record, and go NY #3 and NY#4 All-Time respectively. They would race 7 times more throughout the year as individuals, with Spiezio getting the advantage much of the time. But no race was as much a battle, as our Moment #9, the meet record race at Yale, 2015.