Catching up with the HS Millrose Milers

The Millrose Games, held for the first time at the New Balance Track and Field Center at the Armory, is one of the most prestigious meets of the Winter season.  It regularly compiles some of the East Coast's best high school middle distance talent to compete in the iconic Millrose Mile.  Athletes have been selected both by individual qualifying at an earlier-season Armory meet or by special invitation, essentially guaranteeing a full field of athletes with the potential to win.  The event is not without drama however, as anything can happen in the qualifiers and the weeks leading up to the event.  2012 is no different, with one of the top seeded girls having to relinquish her spot due to a late season injury.  Just a week ago, Laura Leff of West Genesee had to pull out of the event due to a stress fracture in one of her toes, being replaced with the still strong talent of Sara Sargent of Pennsbury PA.  For the boys, the story revolves around Edward Cheserek of t. Benedict's Prep NJ.  Cruising into a 4:09 qualifying time, Cheserek was the top seed coming into the race.  Many thought Millrose would be the meet he would break the monumental 4 minute mile for the indoor mile, however he has chosen to run the Elite 5000m against Millrose legend Bernard Lagat.

In anticipation of the event, Milesplit NY decided to ask each qualifier two specific questions:  What does qualifying for this event mean to you, and what are you doing to prepare?  Below are a cross-section of the answers we received, so continue to catch our pre-meet coverage, and we'll see you saturday.


Also, be sure to catch our Millrose Mile Prediction Competition on facebook.  If you can correctly guess the finishing order, you can win a $20 Itunes gift card.  You can catch all the rules and regulations on our official contest page here.  And be sure to like us on facebook or follow us on twitter simply by clicking the links below.

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Mary Cain of Bronxville NY

It means a lot to me to have qualified for the Millrose Games. It has been a goal of mine for quite a while. For the past two years, I have participated in the Millrose Games high school 4x800, but I had always had  my eye on the mile. As an eighth grader, I remember watching the mile race, and seeing a lot of girls who I looked up to running in the race. After that I knew that someday I wanted to be one of those girls.

I know this race will have a lot of really stiff competition. Therefore, I am just trying to stay focused and train hard for the race. I know it will be a special experience, so I just want to run my best.


Rachel Paul of Sachem East NY

Rachel is thrilled to be a part of the 2012 Millrose Games. She finished 5th at the Garden last year, but that race was mostly a learning experience for her. Rachel is much more poised this year and ready to compete. If the thrill last year was being on the stage, then the thrill this year is fighting to be the last girl standing on it. All Rachel ever wants to do is compete with the very best, and that's exactly what the Millrose Mile offers.

The Millrose Mile falls at a wonderful time on the calendar. The race is dead center on the training “post-season shift” for most of these kids, so the week or two before the meet will see a gradual inclusion of speed for Rachel. The majority of her training thus far has been focused around base built over the summer and maintained throughout the fall, but once she steps onto the track at the Armory on February 11, she will officially begin looking forward to the speed needed for events like the Brooks PR meet, the NYS Championships, and New Balance Nationals.


Maria Seykora of Notre Dame PA

Qualifying for the prestigious Millrose Games was one of my goals this season. I’m so excited to run in such a competitive race! I’m looking forward to representing both my school and Pennsylvania.

To prepare for the Millrose Mile, I am training hard with different types of workouts and strength exercises. My coach’s “ladder” workouts and intense core routines are really helpful. I also plan to stretch daily and get plenty of rest before the race!


Tori Gerlach of Pennridge PA

Qualifying for this race is something I have wanted to do for a long time. To achieve that my senior year, is a very big self accomplishment. To know that I will be going up against some of the best milers in the nation is a very big honor.

The ultimate goal for me is to get in preparation for the State meet at the end of the season, so I will continue to train as I always would. The only thing I will do differently is add in a few extra speed workouts just for the race.


Alexis Panisse of Benjamin Cardozo NY

To run in the prestigious Millrose Mile, is an honor for me. Coach Ray speaks about all of the great high school runners that have participated in this great event. I think about all of the Olympians and other professionals. I'm just so proud that I've qualified to be here so that I can represent my school and my league, the PSAL. I'm the first qualifier in over a decade.
In preparation for any race, we attempt to become comfortable with the target race pace. Coach may speak of things like acidosis tolerance training, anaerobic threshold and ATP, but we just get out and run!






Christian Delago of Shaker NY

It really means a lot to me as I've closely followed the Millrose Games over my high school running career. I was close to qualifying last year as a junior, so to make it in my last high school indoor track season as a senior is special. I've been following the Millrose Mile and imagining myself there since I started running. To be there myself is a great opportunity and a highlight of my high school running career.

I've been continuing to follow my training routine and my coach's plans to help achieve the team's and my personal goals. I have also been making sure to gain some valuable experience in competitive races at the NYC Armory, where the Millrose Games are being held this year, in order to better prepare for this exciting event. This year, I competed at the Molloy Stanner Games and will also be racing at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational at the Armory this weekend.


Mike Marsella of Chariho RI

It was definitely a major goal of mine to be able to run at such a prestigious event like the milrose mile. And to just be a part of all the talent in the same building as me. Im a little dissapointed its not at MSG, however at the same time excited that at the armory I'll be able to post a quick time.

To prepare for the race, I don't plan to do anything different than what I'm used to doing. Still have to discuss with my coach what type of speed work I'll be doing and the race strategy entering the race. Other than that I really just have to stay focused. 


Adam McIe of Brewster NY

Qualifying for the Millrose games means more to me than just winning a race. I've been dreaming of racing at this legendary meet for years and to have qualified for it is absolutely amazing.

To prepare for the race, I've been racing some shorter distances to develop more speed and get ready to hang on when the race picks up towards the end. My coach (Joe Scelia) has been doing plenty to help me prepare both physically and mentally for this race. 
Konrad Surkont of Stuyvesant NY
Being in this Invitational Mile is a huge honor and opportunity.
In preparation for this meet , my coach and I have increased the intensity of my interval work while tapering off my mileage.
Connor Rog of Farfield Prep CT
I am so stoked for the Milrose Mile. I honestly never thought I would be able to make it. I have never been known as a really great miler, and now I landed the last seed of the Milrose Mile! I am pumped! Obviously this race means a lot outside of myself too. It's always been known as the most prestigious mile race for high schoolers, and the fact that I somehow got the last spot makes me so happy. This is a race I have always wanted to be in, and now it's all or nothing.
As for preparing for the race, I'll be finally working on speed work. I have been pounding in the miles, and now it's time to do some hard speed workouts. I'll be utilizing some Connecticut divisional meets and small qualifiers as workouts as well. For example, yesterday I ran the 1000m and the 3200m for the Connecticut West Regional qualifier. It was good because I got some speed and endurance work in.

Want to see what to see what Ned Willig had to say about being the first Father-Son qualifying pair ever in the HS Millrose Mile?  Click Here

Want to watch a video with Edward Cheserek describing what he plans to do in his Elite Mens 5000m run?  Click Here