Coming into the junior 1000m race at last night's New Balance Collegiate Invitational, Kevin Byrne jr wasn't sure how the pace would go. After all Tom Mallon (PA) and Anthony Kostelac (VA) scratched before the Millrose Games. Those two would have surely taken the pace out and Byrne could hang on and hope for the best. But with out those two if he took the pace out he risked not having anything in the tank and some extremely talented runners coming charging behind him including Sophomore National 1000m record holder Zavon Watkins (NY) and also the National Leader at 2:29.30. Byrne hadn't run this distance before but has split some very fast 800's this year so there was no telling for sure how fast he could or would go. Questions answered! Byrne got exactly what he had hoped for even after Mallon and Kostelac scratched, Watkins set a blistering pace and Byrne went for the ride. Each lap went by and Watkins began to fade, keeping an even pace Byrne edged closer to Watkins the entire race. With about 150m to go Byrne made a hard charge for Watkins, but Watkins wasn't about to just give him the race. Watkins held Byrne off until the final turn, and that's when it hit Byrne, it was that time in the race when he needed to tell the rest of the country how fit he was. 2:26.78 is how fit he is. The time is easliy the best time in the nation and it's #3 on the All-Time New Jersey list behind only National Record holder Robby Andrews (2:22.28) and Sadiki White (2:25.99), ironically enough both of them ran those times in this same meet one year ago.
Marielle Hall (Haddonfield, but running unattached this indoor season) and Molly McNamera (RBC) were also in action last night, like Byrne running in the junior 1000m. Hall led for most of the race but on the last turn Sophomore Kelsey Margey (NY) blasted a US#1 time of 2:51.33. Hall and McNamera finished 2-3 in 2:52.52 and 2:53.43 respectively.
There were lots of New Jersey alumni competing to include Michigan's Danielle Tauro and Jillian Smith (Southern Regional standouts) who ran on their Distance Medley relay in the Championship race, they finished 7th in a time of 11:13.69. Three quarter-mile legends in NJ were in action including the outdoor NJ record holder Clayton Parros who runs for UNC. Parros in the prelims burned a 47.20, 2nd fastest on the day and will run in the finals tonight. Also qualifying for the finals are Charles and Chris Cox (Monmouth regional All-Americans). Both Cox's qualifed for the final running identical times of 47.55. Look for these three guys to use their Armory experience to burn good ones in the final. Neptune alum, Jade Wilson, the older sister of Ajee Wilson, ran on the 400m leg for Temple University in the Distance Medley relay
All photos courtesy of Reccentral.net