NEW YORK (05-Feb) -- Running a race so perfectly executed that he'll probably tell his grandchildren about it, Newbury Park High School senior Colin Sahlman broke four minutes in the invitational mile at the Doctor Sander Invitational-Columbia Challenge at The Armory here today. Making an explosive move on the backstretch with about 120 meters to go, the 18 year-old Sahlman --who was running in his first-ever indoor race-- accelerated past three rivals, including 2015 national 5000m champion Ryan Hill, to win in 3:58.81. His time made him the third-fastest American prep miler (indoors) behind only Hobbs Kessler (3:57.66) and Drew Hunter (3:57.81).
PHOTO: Colin Sahlman after breaking four minutes for the mile at the 2022 Doctor Sander Invitational-Columbia Challenge in New York on February 5 (photo by David Monti for Race Results Weekly)
"The goal was to break four," said Sahlman's coach Sean Brosnan who was also an elite miler. "From what he's been showing I knew he could do it."
Sahlman ran mid-pack for most of the race saving precious energy for the final circuit of the Armory's 200-meter, banked track. Indeed, he was only in eighth position at the halfway mark when Eric Holt and Robby Andrews were leading. He carefully moved up to fourth with two laps to go, and after seeing his split he knew that sub-4:00 was within his grasp.
"On the last two laps I saw the time and and I had like 59 seconds to close to break it," Sahlman told reporters. "And I just went for it. 'Cause I was like, I'm not going to go home disappointed."
Sahlman's backstretch move was remarkable. Holt, Hill and the University of Virginia's Yasin Sado were ahead of him and running well. Sahlman blew past them, then held that speed through the final curve and was still flying as he broke the tape, arms raised in triumph. The possibility of winning the race didn't even occur to him until those final meters.
"I just wanted to break four, but as soon as I saw those guys coming back a little bit I was like, I might as well just go for the win here."
Holt, Jonah Koech, and Hill got second, third and fourth, respectively, in a blanket finish, clocking 4:00.01, 4:00.24 and 4:00.39. Andrews was a close fifth in 4:01.17, his fastest mile since 2018.
Sahlman's official 1500m split was 3:44.05, making him the fifth-fastest American high schooler at that distance (indoors).
Twenty-seven minutes earlier, Sahlman's younger brother, Aaron, 16, competed in the invitational 3000m with the goal of breaking eight minutes. He came close (8:01.72) while his Newbury Park teammate Lex Young, a younger brother of Northern Arizona University star Nico Young, clocked 7:57.06. That makes the younger Young the second-fastest USA prep athlete in history (indoors) only behind his other brother who ran 7:56.97 in 2020.
That 3000m race was won by Binghamton University's Dan Schaffer in a personal best 7:53.74 after a close last-lap battle with marathoner and Libyan Olympian Mo Hrezi who finished just 11/100ths of a second behind him. University of Virginia freshman Wes Porter got third in 7:56.81, also a personal best. Shaffer, who has twice broken four minutes for the mile this indoor season, thanked his coach, Annette Acuff, and his teammates for helping him to up his game this year.
"I'd like to say 'thanks' to my teammates at Binghamton who have really stepped it up a notch," said Shaffer. He added: "My teammates are the reason I come to practice motivated every day, those are the guys who push me."
The women's invitational mile was won by Mexico's Alma CoretÚs in 4:32.21. CoretÚs, who was the only athlete to go with the pacemaker, had a three second lead with two laps to go. In the penultimate lap she was caught by Sweden's Yolanda Ngarambe (who represents the Atlanta Track Club Elite), but wrestled the lead back in the last 100 meters to get the win. Ngarambe ran 4:32.92, and third place went to former Oklahoma State standout Molly Sughroue in 4:33.00.
Shane Streich, who won the "B" section of the Wanamaker Mile at last Saturday's Millrose Games in a personal best 3:57.98, stepped down to the 800m here today and got the win in 1:46.07 an indoor personal best and the #2 time in the world so far this year. Like he did at Millrose, Streich combined good mid-race positioning with a powerful closing sprint to get the win. Out of the final bend, Streich went wide to pass both Erik Sowinski (second in 1:46.26) and and Kameron Jones (third in 1:46.67).
"It was nice to be back out running the 800," said Streich who runs for the Atlanta Track Club Elite. He continued: "Feeling good, feeling strong. I was just kind of trying to get race-sharp heading into one more race next week then a little break before USA's."
The women's invitational 800m went to Sage Hurta of the On Athletics Club who won easily in 2:02.58. However, Hurta, the 2021 NCAA indoor mile champion for the University of Colorado, was unhappy. She wanted a much faster race.
"I was hoping it would go a lot faster," said Hurta. The pacemaker, Delaney Sanacore of Columbia University, did not make it to halfway where Hurta was hoping for a sub-59 halfway split. "I was hoping she would hold on for longer and only have 400 by myself."
Elite indoor track action continues here tomorrow with the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, part of the World Athletics Indoor Tour. That meeting takes place at a different facility, the Ocean Breeze Track and Field Athletic Complex, in Staten Island.