By Christopher Hunt
photos by PhotoRun.net
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Everything seemed out of wack when Myles Andrews took over the anchor leg in the 4x800 for Long Beach Poly.
His team was behind. Shocking. No one was supposed to even challenge LBP for the 4x800 title and here Andrews found himself watching Florida’s Charlotte High., running away with his team’s national championship.
“I gotta fix this,” Andrews thought to himself.
About 600 meters later, Andrews was smothering Charlotte anchor Tyler Cardillo. He tried to fend Andrews off around the final bend but Andrews kept pressing until he broke Cardillo and claimed the national title at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in 7:28.75, the fastest time in United States history. Charlotte finished second in 7:30.31, US #2 all-time.
"It was a unity thing,” said Andrews, who split 1:47.71 on the anchor. “We wanted this to be a moment that we shared for the rest of our lives.”
Charlotte, racing as No Limit TC, wasn’t even on the radar coming into the race. Long Beach Poly had dominated at the Penn Relays in 7:31.69 while Charlotte set a season-best the Florida state meet in 7:40.44. It appeared at first that LBP would run away with the national crown until Ryan Schnulle popped 1:51.42 on the third leg to catch LBP’s Aaron Harris.
“We were shocked,” Andrews said. “We didn’t even know who they were.”
It was a quite different story in the 2-mile though, where the race was a who’s who of scholastic distance running. Over the last three laps, Ammar Moussa of Arcadia (Calif.) was crowded by New Jersey’s Jim and Joe Rosa of West Windsor-Plainsboro South and Morgan Pierson of Delbarton.
Jim Rosa surged to the front with 1,000 left, a move that prompted Joe, the defending champ, to push the pace again with two laps remaining. The Rosa twins decided that they would try to pull the kick out of anyone that tried to hang on long enough. But Moussa didn’t budge. He covered moves.
Then Moussa found daylight and slipped between the twins with 500 left. The senior pulled away on the bell lap to win in 8:51.80. Joe Rosa finished second in 8:54.46 with Jim Rosa third in 8:57.56. Pierson was fourth in 8:59.41.
Moussa collapsed to the track after the win and stared into space for some time afterward. He said he was trying not to cry. With all the senior had accomplished in his high school career, he had never broken the finish line tape. This time he took the tape home with him.
“It might be kind of petty,” Moussa said. “I don’t know why it meant so much. It’s part of running. It’s part of winning and I had never done it before.”
Demetrius Lindo (Washington, D.C.) won the 110 hurdles in 13:58. The indoor champ, who graduasted on Monday, did not compete with his high school team at Coolidge this season. Between that, and a right hamstring strain Lindo suffered in April, he felt the pressure mounting before the race.
“I didn’t let it affect me,” he said. “It used it to help me. It was like something inside of me that empowered me. Instead of letting it get me down I let it uplift me.”
Imani Brown (Reading, Pa.) pulled an upset in the triple jump. He launched a personal best 50 feet, 6.75 inches to squeeze the win. Chris Brown of Hanahan (S.C.) placed second in 50-6. Defending champ Marquis Dendy of Middletown (Del.) struggled to place third, jumped 50-0.
“I knew after that jump I had made my presence known,” Imani Brown said. “It’s kind of unbelievable. I know that I put a lot of work in. I’m just really proud of myself.”
Kyle McKelvey of Bereseford (S.D.) set a huge personal best to win the shot put at 68-10.50. Sean McLean (Raleigh, N.C.) defended his 100-meter crown in 10.31.
“My start wasn’t that great but my coach and I believe I have the best top-end speed in the country,” he said.
Reach Christopher Hunt at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisHuntArmory