The race became tactical very early on as the opening 62 point 400 gave way to a follow up of 69. Fork Union's Kippy Keino spent the early part in the front but unfortunately in lane two. Shortly thereafter Sayville's (NY) Brian Dalpiaz began to force the issue. That move was brief as Thomas Dale's Alex Tatu covered and took the lead at the nine-lap mark. After Tatu's move diminished, the old standard law of miling came into effect as Auburn's (WA) Chris Lukezic took command and made his one move stick all the way to the finish. The move proved that in the mile an athlete gets one push to win and that one push better be at the right time, as seldom is an athlete able to make two moves.
Tatu showed why he is not only the state's best, but one of the nation's best milers as he finished second in the prestigous Millrose Games Mile at the Madison Square Garden's 160 meter track with a time of 4:21.50. Tatu nearly pulled out the win with a strong kick on the final stretch, but Washington's Lukezic was able to just hold the charging Tatu with his winning time of 4:21.14. Tatu beat some of the top runners in the nation such as Foot Locker finalists Brian Dalpiaz of New York and Marc Pelerin of New Jersey. Keino finished a respectable 8th place with a time of 4:27.97. The evening was highlighted by many outstanding performances including three pole-vaulters clearing 19 feet. Regina Jacobs was an easy winner in the Women's mile and also an exuberant one. Stacy Dragila was perhaps the most dramatic winner as she needed three attempts on nearly every height. And lastly, the Wannamaker Mile ended in a huge upset as '98 winner Laban Rotich beat fellow countrymen and Olympic Bronze medalist Bernard Lagat for the coveted Wannamaker Trophy.
Attending and competing in the world's greatest city is an unforgettable experience. However, the event is sadly suffering because of better venues both in America and abroad. Hopefully athletes and coaches will wake-up and realize that while fast times are the goal, tradition has its' place as well. The Garden was maybe 60% full, unacceptable for the country that boasts the world's greatest track team. And as impressive as the competition was, the list of great athletes not competing was as well. Perhaps the powers that be in track and field should take a lesson from their high school colleagues. High School track is the back- bone of American track, creating the athlete base, developing the talent and as of late, providing the excitement.