This past weekend, the three fastest 3200m times nationally were run. In New Jersey, senior Brian Leung and junior Doug Smith battled at the NJ Meet of Champions, with both athletes scoring impressive finishes. Leung won 8:59.77 to Smith's runner-up time of 9:01.86. Meanwhile in Illinois, Chris Derrick helped pace a teammate the first part of the Proviso West Invitational, then took off to negative split the race and finish in 9:03.1. See what each athlete had to say on the race and their respective performances.
New Jersey Meet of Champions (NJ)
Brian Leung (NJ) leads Doug Smith (NJ) at the NJ MOC's 3200m run
(Photo by Pat Montferrat)
Brian Leung Gives His Thoughts
MileSplit (MS): How did the race unfold for you?
Brian Leung (BL): Although the pace lagged in the first half, the race unraveled like my coach and I thought it would. We hit the 800 meter mark in 2:19 so Doug and I knew that we would have to start going faster to have any hopes of breaking nine. The 1600 was around 4:36 and that's when we knew we really needed to start going. I led for the first mile and felt comfortable and Doug took the lead with a mile to go. From then on, there were many lead changes, all of which were strong. With a little less than 400 to go, I pumped as hard as I could and it worked out well. This was the most intense race I've ever been in with another person. However, it's not really a rivalry between Doug and I. We both have tremendous respect for each other and it's amazing to see how far New Jersey distance running has come in just the last couple years.
MS: You're the first athlete under nine-minutes this season, what's next?
BL: This race is a huge confidence booster but my training will remain the same. Consistency is the most important aspect of running and as long as I stay healthy, I feel as though I can continue performing well. As for my upcoming races, I am going to anchor my team's DMR this Tuesday at the Armory at Easterns and then I will run the two mile at the Nike meet in Maryland.
Doug Smith Gives His Thoughts
MileSplit (MS): How did the race play out for you Saturday?
Doug Smith (DS): The race played out a lot differently than I expected. It went out kinda slow, 4:37. Brian and I did not want it to go out that slow. After the first mile I knew it was going to be a battle until the end. With six laps to go I took the lead and picked it up with Brian right on my heels. We traded the lead a decent amount of times, at one point we both were sprinting on the home stretch to fight for the lead. It was an insane race and we both ran as hard as we could until the end and I think that many people noticed that. With the second mile being as fast as it was, it took a lot out of our bodies to change paces that quick and I am very confident that we can both run faster in a more even race. I would like to say congrats to Brian, he earned it and made me work very hard to even give my shot a chance at winning.
MS: Coming so close to breaking the nine-minute mark, where do you go from here?
DS: The 9 minute mark has been haunting me for a while now. I thought I was fit enough to break it outdoors but I just didn't get there. To run 9:01 on a flat track shows that I'm pretty close, and I feel that if the race went out in say 4:32, both our times would've been faster. The plan now is to try to keep my head up and focus on the two-mile at NIN. The field there is shaping up to be awesome with many guys capable, and who have already broken, nine minutes. I am looking forward to that a lot, especially hopeful not having to lead most of the race, and just sitting there waiting for my time to go. I don't take losing very well and even though people may be saying 9:01 for a junior is great, but it does not satisfy me. Until I am totally satisfied with my result, I will not be truly happy. The best thing to do now is prepare for NIN and have in my mind that I got to run faster!
Proviso West Invitational (IL)
Chris Derrick Gives His Thoughts
MileSplit (MS): What was your goal heading into Saturday's race?
Chris Derrick (CD): I wanted to take Danny (Pawola) through the 1600 in 4:35 and then try to run under 4:30 for the last 1600. I usually don't set time goals, particularly early in the season. I'm only running a few indoor races so at this point I'm really just breaking up my training with a couple efforts to remember what racing is like and to test my fitness.
MS: You negative split the race. Was that part of the plan?
CD: Yeah. Danny wanted to run a pretty fast time to set himself up for Arcadia and neither were particularly interested in running 16 laps alone, so it was decided that I would go out a little slower and try to close faster.
MS: How did the race unfold for you?
CD: Well I hit the quarter in 65-low, which was a little faster than I wanted, but after that I was able to settle into a pretty steady rhythm of 69's and then a few 68's. I didn't really have a kick until the last lap or so which is rather uncharacteristic because I usually like to drive from further out, but that is really just a consequence of having raced just once over the last few months, and not being used to the end of a race mentally. All things considered I felt pretty good, but that whole being tall thing doesn't really work out that well on unbanked indoor tracks.