BRUNSWICK, MA -- Recent Oakton graduate and William & Mary bound Matt Maline won the high school boys mile race at the New Balance Maine Distance Festival in an outstanding time of 4:17.96. Even more so incredible is how he is able to maintain peak from his great races at the AAA State Meet and Adidas Outdoor National Meet last month to run such a great time now deep into the summer. Maline was hoping to break the meet record of 4:15.64 set by Ben Fletcher of Edward Little HS (Maine) in 1999, but he came up just a few seconds short in that attempt. This concludes an excellent senior year by the Oakton star, who in any other year would be one everyone would be talking about, but unfortunately he had to spend all 4 years of high school career in the same state, classification, region, and district as high school record mile holder Alan Webb.
In the fall, Maline shocked everyone as he ran a blistering time of 15:08.70 early in the cross country season at the Wendy's Invitational, which happened to be the same course that the Foot Locker South Regional Meet is held on. After, taking second at the AAA State Meet to Webb (15:32.70), Maline just missed out on a trip to Foot Locker Nationals as he placed 9th in the Foot Locker South Regional race, 1 spot out of the final national qualifying spot.
In the winter, Maline probably had his biggest accomplishment in qualifying to be able to run in the World Cross Country Championships. Maline ran an incredible race in the Junior Men's 8K Race at the USA Winter Cross Country Championships as he placed 6th in a time of 25:03.1. In order to qualify for Worlds, Maline had to place in the top 6. He did that just by a hairline with his 6th place finish. He finished ahead of many great collegiate and high school runners with his 6th place finish such as former Foot Locker finalists Chris Emme (Stanford), David Vidal (Flathead HS - Montana), and Erik Heinonen (Oregon-bound). In between, the national and world cross country races and training for mainly the 8K distance, Maline was able to win the 3200 at the AAA State Indoor Track Meet with an excellent time of 9:15.20.
Maline only got better as the year progressed with a great outdoor track season. Maline took 3rd in a very talented 3200 meter field at the Southern Track Classic in early May with a time of 9:09.08. He ran one of his better track races at the AAA State Meet, where in the 1600 meter run he caught sophomore sensation Alex Tatu of Thomas Dale on the final straightaway to win the race and as well earn himself a state title with a sizzling time of 4:13.67. He then went onto earning All-American honors in the 2 mile at the Adidas Outdoor Nationals Meet, placing 7th in a time of 9:11.34.
While his talent his been overlooked to many times than he deserved due to the greatness of Alan Webb, Matt Maline will surely not be forgotten in the Virginia high school running world as he heads off to the College of William & Mary next fall where he will hopefully continue to improve as the great runner he already is.
Also competing at the Maine Distance Festival with Maline was teammate Phil Gaeta who took 3rd in the mile with a time of 4:25.90. Gaeta who is one of the best middle distance runners in the state returning next year, will try and pick up from where Maline left off at.
Pictures above of Maline (top) and Gaeta (right) are by Cheryl Treworgy at prettysporty.com