US#1, Schellberg Wins Mile in 4:12.43, Him & Others Qualify for Millrose

On Wednesday night Pat Schellberg (Delbarton) wanted not just to win, but to make a statement for the rest of the country.  Mission accomplished!.  Schellberg led from the word GO and never looked back.  NY's Marco Bertolotti held on as long as he could but Schellberg was to much.  With about 1000m to go Schellberg could see Bertolotti holding on ever so slightly and that's when Schellberg put the hammer down cranking a fast last 600m.  It was reported at the meet that Schellberg burn the last 400m in 61.0 to seal his ticket to the 103rd edition of the Millrose Games on January 29th.  Not only did he stamp his ticket but he also is now going to go into the 'games as the favorite over Father Judge's Tom Kehl (PA) and fellow New Jerseyian Jim Rosa (West Windsor-Plainsboro North).

The meet also featured a qualifier for the famed Wannamaker Mile for the Millrose Games and the race saw New Jersey Alum and former All-American Rob Novak take a crack at qualifying.  To qualify for the Wannamaker Mile the winner of the race was going to have to break 4:00, something Novak has never done.  The Rabbit took the race out in 61 and 2:02 and coming around just before 1200m the rabbit stepped off the track and it was up to the 3 remaining runners to run the last quarter.  Novak was in 2nd most of the way and in the last 400m he fell slightly off the pace of the leader who would eventually cross the line first in 4:02.80 missing the qualifying standard.  Novak finished in a dissapointing but pleasing 3rd with a time of 4:05.27 good enough for a personal best for Novak.

Other Millrose qualifying races on the night included a NJ Suburban 4x400m relay for both the boys and girls.  The girls took the track first and it was apparent when the toed the line who were the favorites on paper, Columbia and Willingboro (with Willingboro being the only team currently under 4:00).  Columbia's leadoff led ran hard from the start handed off the baton in 1st and Columbia never looked back and finished with a NJ#1 time of 3:54.24, the great battle came on the last lap of the anchor legs when Seneca's Michelle Brown came from way down to make a valiant push to get her team into the Millrose games but fell just short as Willingboro held on for 2nd place and Seneca took 3rd with times of 3:58.33 and 3:58.81 respectively.  Brown's split was 55.3

In the boys 4x400m relay there were a lot more questions.  Some of New Jersey's perennial powerhouse 4x400m relays had not run a burner yet this year.  NJ's fastest 4x400m relay coming into the even was 3:27 by Bergen Catholic.  Bergen Catholic ran in the "unseeded" section of the Suburban 4x400m relay and made a statement to the seeded section.  Bergen Catholic made it around the track in 3:24.40 a new NJ#1, so the seeded section was going to have to be on their horses if they wanted to 1 make the Millrose games and 2 just win the race.  Columbia, Washington Twp and Old Bridge were the hot teams in the seeded section.  Columbia and Washington Twp opened up big leads on the rest of the pack with Washington Twp leading going into the final leg.  Columbia's anchor bolted past Washington Twp early on the first lap of their leg and never looked back.  Columbia held on for victory and stamped their ticket to Millrose, but the big question was who was going to get that 2nd position, Bergen Catholic or Washington Twp.  Washington Twp's anchor leg came zooming off the final turn, inching closer and closer to the finish line and when they crossed the Armorytron flashed the results.  Washington Twp had run 3:25.62 which puts Bergen Catholic ahead of them and what looks to be the top two teams going to the Millrose Games.