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Leff wins mile race, qualifies for Millrose Games

Victory in New Balance Games creates Feb. 15 return to NYC

West Genesee senior Laura Leff moves to the front of the field in the mile race at last Saturday's New Balance Games at the Armory in New York City. Leff won the race and, by doing so, qualified for the mile run at the prestigious Millrose Games, to be held Feb. 15, also at the Armory.

West Genesee senior Laura Leff moves to the front of the field in the mile race at last Saturday's New Balance Games at the Armory in New York City. Leff won the race and, by doing so, qualified for the mile run at the prestigious Millrose Games, to be held Feb. 15, also at the Armory.

In the midst of all the post-season events that take place for the area’s indoor track and field teams in February, West Genesee senior Laura Leff will pay a visit to New York City to face even more serious competition.

Leff is going to run in the Millrose Games Feb. 15 at the New Balance Track and Field Center at the Armory in New York City, made possible by her victory in the mile at the Jan. 25 New Balance Games, also held at the Armory.

Though 13 runners were in the field at New Balance, only the winner would advance to Millrose. As such, WG head coach Jim Vermeulen said that Leff chose to run a tactical race, sacrificing a faster time in order to have a better chance to win.

Through the first 1,200 meters, Leff followed the front-runners but stayed in the pack, waiting until the next-to-last lap to make her move. Once Leff took the lead, she maintained a margin of at least eight meters until she hit the tape.

In a time of 5:00.49, Leff beat the runner-up, Courtney Thompson (St. John Vianney), by 0.95 seconds, with Cate Allen (Fairfield Warde) finishing third in 5:01.46.

The Millrose Games date back to 1908 and is considered the most prestigious indoor track and field event in the United States.

Also at the New Balance Games, West Genesee’s boys 4x800 relay team, composed of Jack Erhard, Logan McAnulty, Sean Beney and Nate Conroy, finished 12th in a time of eight minutes, 13.38 seconds, beating most of the field (more than 60 teams) and posting the fastest Section III time of the season in that event. Cardinal O’Hara (Pa.) won the race in 7:58.76.

Back home, Leff did not have to run in Wednesday’s Last Chance Qualifier at SRC Arena, but many other local runners did as WG’s boys team finished fourth with 22 points, while in the girls meet Westhill/Bishop Ludden was fourth with 26 points, with the Wildcats (18 points) in eighth.

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