Leading up to this weekend’s New Balance Nationals Indoor Championships, we’re going to highlight a few events that feature MA track & field athletes that could electrify the crowd a little more than the rest.
Boys’ Mile (Sunday)
This race always creates excitement at NBNI and this year should be no different. It features two sub four-minute milers in Connor Burns of Southern Boone County (MO) and Simeon Burnbaum of Rapid City Stevens (SD). Burns became the first high-schoolers this season to break four minutes with a best of 3 minutes, 59.11 seconds at the BU Last Chance Qualifier a few weeks ago, a meet that Saint Raphael Academy’s Devan Kipyego clocked an indoor best of 4:01.04 in a separate heat. Burnbaum won last spring’s Brooks PR Invitational at 3:59.51 and has a best this winter of 4:05.29 from a third-place finish at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, held at the TRACK at new balance. Other top runners include Rocky Hansen Christ School, NC), Aaron Salhman (Newbury Park, CA), Kole Mathison (Carmel, IN) and Marcus Reilly (Northbridge, MA). Hansen ran a best of 4:00.84 to finish fifth in the elite mile at the Millrose Games last month, a race that Burns was fifth at 4:03.28. Sahlman, the surprise winner at the Nike Cross Nationals this past fall, could certainly surprise the competition this weekend. He has a best of 4:01. Reilly ran an all-time best of 4:06.60 at Last Chance. KIpyego, who has been eyeing a sub-4 since his breakthrough race for this event at the Brooks PR where he clocked 4:00.64, certainly can’t be counted out. He might also have a chip on his shoulder, which could work in his favor. The Iowa State-bound senior is coming of a victory in the 1,000m at last weekend’s New England Championships where he was timed in 2:29.51. He admitted he wasn’t happy about his performance where he ran a time he’ll more than likely have to come close to at the 1K mark to contend for a top-3 finish on Sunday. ‘I got to bounce back and go back at it next week,” he said afterwards. “I’ve got to turn the page and try not to remember it.”