PHILADELPHIA – The mile was the focus for the Stanford men’s track and field team Saturday, on both coasts.
At the Penn Relays, the Cardinal finished second in a nationally-televised 4xMile relay at the 120th annual meet.
At the Brutus Hamilton Invitational in Berkeley, Stanford freshman Sean McGorty won the Don Bowden Mile in a personal best 4:00.35. McGorty, who is redshirting, edged Cal’s Thomas Joyce, the Big Meet 1,500-meter winner, by 0.14.
At Franklin Field, Stanford also was fifth in the men’s 4x800 relay. Both Stanford races were part of the Championship of America series highlighting collegiate relays. In threee days, Stanford placed second in three relays, and was third and fifth in the others.
Stanford’s 4xMile team of Marco Bertolotti (4:11.2 split), Tyler Stutzman (3:59.9), Erik Olson (4:02.0), and Michael Atchoo (4:04.6) clocked 16:17.83. Oregon won in 16:09.67, the fourth-fastest time in collegiate history.
Bertolotti waded through a slow congested field on the opening leg. Pushing and shoving knocked him off balance early, but Bertolotti wielded some elbows of his own to force his way from seventh to second, behind only Villanova, on his final lap.
Oregon put Edward Cheserek, the most dominant runner in collegiate running in the second leg and he bolted into the lead. Only Stanford’s Tyler Stutzman made a true effort to go with Cheserek, who ran a 3:56.4 split. Stutzman’s 3:59.9 was Stanford’s fastest leg and the third-fastest split among all 52 runners in the event.
Olson shook Kentucky, the only other team within striking distance of Stanford, and Atchoo made sure one threatened the Cardinal’s position over the final leg.
In the 4x800, Stanford’s team of Scott Buttinger (1:53.14), Justin Brinkley (1:51.57), Marco Bertolotti (1:50.89), and Luke Lefebure (1:49.40) finished with a time of .7:24.99. Villanova won in 7:16.58, with Penn State second, Georgetown third, and Wake Forest fourth.
Bertolotti was the only Stanford runner in both relays. His legs were 3 hours, 15 minutes apart.
Also at the Penn Relays was an incredible performance by Stanford recruit Olivia Baker. The top 400 prospect in the country, Baker ran a spectacular girls' high school 4x800 anchor split of 2:02.55, chasing down three runners and making up 50 meters to catch the leader on the final lap as the crowd rose in disbelief.
Baker's split was the fastest in the history of the meet. It also allowed her Columbia High team to a time of 8:45.37, a New Jersey state record and the second-fastest high school time in history.
Click here for the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger video of the race that includes highlights and an interview with Baker.
At Berkeley's Edwards Stadium, Sean McGorty shattered his personal best of 4:04.47. Now, Stanford has six milers with bests of 4:02 or faster. Chris Miltenberg, Stanford’s Franklin P. Johnson Director of Track and Field, is redshirting all but one of his outstanding freshman distance class in an effort to build a solid base of training that will benefit the program for years to come. Buttinger, the Canadian 800 specialist, is the only freshman competing in a Stanford singlet this spring.
McGorty, the reigning U.S. junior national cross-country champion, is a versatile runner who finished second in the U.S. junior 1,500 last year. He already has cleared the time requirements in the 1,500 and 5,000 for the IAAF Junior World Championships this summer in Eugene, Ore. He must finish first or second in the U.S. junior championships in Sacramento to qualify.
Another Stanford athlete who should contend for a World Junior spot is freshman discus thrower Valarie Allman. She was second Saturday to former Louisville standout Jere Summers (187-4), but her throw of 184-1 was consistent with her strong efforts all season. In her four competitions this spring, Allman has exceeded 180 feet.
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4xMile Relay -- 2, Stanford (Marco Bertolotti, Tyler Stutzman, Erik Olson, Michael Atchoo) 16:17.83.
4x800 Relay -- 5, Stanford (Scott Buttinger, Justin Brinkley, Marco Bertolotti, Luke Lefebure) 7:24.99.
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Brutus Hamilton Invitational
800 -- 11, Will Drinkwater 1:53.15 (personal best); 12, Thomas Coyle (unattached) 1:53.21.
1,500 -- 1, Sean McGorty (unattached) 4:00.35 (personal best); 12, Jack Keelan (unattached) 4:12.38.
Pole vault -- 3, Dylan Duvio 15-11 1/4 (4.86m); 4, Dalton Duvio (unattached) 14-11 1/2 (4.56m).
Discus -- 6, Nick Budincich 171-0 (52.12m) (equals personal best); 8, Lucas Rowley 166-7 (50.78m).
800 -- 7, Cami Chapus 2:12.27.
Shot put -- 2, Alyssa Wisdom 46-0 1/2 (14.03m); 4, Rebecca Hammar 45-5 (13.84m).
Discus -- 2, Valarie Allman 184-1 (56.12m); 4, Rebecca Hammar 163-10 (49.95m).