As the perfect culmination to a winter's work, Fayetteville-Manlius senior Alex Hatz beat a collection of the best mile runners in the United States -- and set two new indoor records -- during last weekend's Nike Nationals at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston.
Hatz's performance in the mile was a triumph of tactics. For the first 1,200 meters, the Wisconsin-bound runner stayed in third place, allowing the two front-runners, Kirubel Erassa (Loganville, Ga.) and Colby Alexander (Strongsville, Ohio) to set a rapid pace.
Then, in the next-to-last lap (the laps are 200 meters indoors), Hatz blew by Alexander, then zoomed past Erassa. He never got caught as Hatz finished in four minutes, 5.50 seconds, with Erassa second in 4:07.28.
According to F-M coach Bill Aris, Hatz ran the opening 800 meters in 2:05, then came home in two minutes flat, tearing through the last lap in a scant 28 seconds, terrific speed for a miler.
That time of 4:05.50 broke both the meet record Alan Webb set in 2000 by more than two seconds. He also broke, by more than two seconds, the state record Monroe-Woodbury's John Trautmann set way back in 1986.
So ended a memorable weekend for F-M runners in Boston. A day earlier, the girls Hornets broke a Section III record while winning the national 4x800 relay.
Heather Martin, Kathryn Fanning, Courtney Chapman and Katie Sischo worked together and blew away the rest of the field, finishing in nine minutes, 2.80 seconds. The next-closest team, from Garden City (Long Island), was more than 14 seconds behind.