6 Sub 4:20 milers featured in Saturday\'s Montgomery Invite


The invite mile race at Saturday's Montgomery Invitational in Landover, Maryland is not an automatic qualifier for the Millrose Games high school mile. But when a total of six sub 4:20 milers get together, the winning performance is bound to have at least one runner Madison Square Garden-bound.


Photo by John Herzog

Peter Dorrell leads a solid group of Virginians in the 15 person field as two-time state champion at 1600 meters with a 4:15 best against a talented contigent of runners from outside of Virginia.

Back is defending Montgomery Invite mile champion Chris Moen of Walter Johnson from Maryland, who won in 4:17 last year as well as in the New Balances Games mile to earn his way into last year's Millrose Games. However, Moen has struggled to run at the same level as he was performing at last winter to give way to others to be considered stronger pre-race favorites. 

The state of Pennsylvania will have a speedy pair present in T.J. Hobart with his 4:12 1600 best, while Mark Dennin will be riding high into indoors from a breakthrough cross country season which included a state champion and All-American finish at Foot Locker Nationals. Dorrell, who came up just short of qualifying for Foot Locker Nationals fall, will be looking to score a win against the Montgomery County Invite field and earn an invitation to the Millrose Games.

The depth will be great in this race as behind Dorrell from Virginia is the reigning Northern Region 16000 meter champion Joe Lorusso of Oakton as the senior has a 4:16 best from last spring. Also from the Northern Region in the race will be Bradshaw Kenimer of T.C. Williams (4:19), Leoule Degfae (4:23) and Tihut Degfae of Thomas Edison (4:25). A total of three regional 1600 meter outdoor champions in AAA return for 2008 including Dejarnette and Mountain View senior Daniel Porter, who bested his younger brother Thomas Porter for the regional title last May at UVA.

Further adding onto the strength of the field will be Johns Ross of The Potomac School and Davis Barry of Patrick Henry. Barry is the 4:20 miler in Virginia that you knew had ran 4:20, while Ross will be looking to test himself on the shorter end of his range as the private school state champion in cross country and 3200 meters. 

Dorrell has already turned in swift times this indoor season as he put up a 4:19 1600 and 9:16 3200 in December at Liberty University's track to make him the most likely Virginian to come out ontop against four tough competitors. A multiple Maryland 3A state champion, Joey Thompson of Howard has broken 4:20 and 9:20 in the past to make him one of the more local favorites in the field.

Dennin had a teammate last year run well at Montgomery in Jason Weller as the 2007 grad from Boyertown finished a close second to Walter Johnson's Moen in 4:17, but later went onto defeat Moen and the entire field at Madison Square Garden to become the 2007 Millrose Games mile champion. Dennin has not been considered as a great miler coming into his senior season, but he was not expected to do the things that he did this past cross country season either including defeating Pennsylvania's top returning and one of the nation's best milers in Vince McNally. 

McNally has already been extended an invitation to the Millrose Games without having to step on the track yet this season as his 4:08 mile last spring was more than enough to give him a free pass. However, a road to New York City has to be earned the hard way for Dennin and a win on Saturday as well as dipping well under 4:20 for the 13th place finisher at Foot Locker Nationals would certainly help his cause.

Baldwin PA junior T.J. Hobart had one of the nation's fastest times last spring among sophomores after clocking a 4:12 performance for 1600 meters. Hobart, who finished  fourth in the 2007 Montgomery Invite at 4:22, is back as the second highest race returnee behind defending champ Moen. Hobart led the preliminary heats of the 1600 meter run at last spring's Pennsylvania State Meet with the fastest qualifier of 4:16, but faltered in the finals. He will have to run only one mile race on Saturday and does not have to save his 1:53.5 800 meter speed.

Chris Moen of Walter Johnson had an amazing streak of races last indoor season with his win at Montgomery Invite as the kickstart. He hopes his past glory will be relived once again on Saturday as he attempts to defend his title against a loaded field. Moen has proven wheels as he clocked in at 2:30 for 1000 meters last indoor season as well and his kick was his strength in his wins in 2007 at Montgomery and the New Balance Games. 

The state of Virginia has had a streak as well, but not one to exactly be proud as it has been nearly four years since the high school boys mile race at the Millrose Games. Fork Union's Kippy Keino finished fourth in the 2003 Millrose Games and the state has not had an invite extended to any boys since. 

The Virginians 

Peter Dorrell, sr, Blacksburg VA - 3:56.13 1500, 4:15.12 1600, 4:07 road mile, VA 2A 1600 2xState Champion (Indoor/Outdoor)

Joe Lorusso, sr, Oakton VA -  4:16.43 1600, Northern Region 1600 Champion (Outdoor), 9:30.52 3200

Bradshaw Kenimer, sr, T.C. Williams VA - 4:19.47 mile, 9:31.01 3200

Davis Barry, sr, Patrick Henry VA - 4:21.58 1600, 4:21.83 mile,  VA 3A All-State 1600 (Outdoor)

Leoule Degfae, jr, Thomas Edison VA - 4:23.58 1600, 2:34.65 1000, F.I.T. Invite winner

Tihut Degfae, jr, Thomas Edison VA - 4:25.03 1600, 2:34.98 1000

Daniel Porter, sr, Mountain View VA - 4:24.10 1600, Northwest Region 1600 Champion (Outdoor)

Johns Ross, sr, The Potomac School VA - 4:25.160 1600, 9:34.42 3200, 15:14 5K, VA Private School 3200 & XC State Champion 

The Out-of-State Competition

T.J. Hobart, jr, Baldwin PA - 4:12.30 1600, 4th in 2007 Montgomery Invite Mile

Mark Dennin, Mark, sr, Boyertown PA - 4:24.40 1600, 9:19.16 3200, Foot Locker All-American 

Chris Moen, sr, Walter Johnson MD - Defending Montgomery Invite Mile Champion, 2007 New Balance Games Mile Champion, 4:17.33 Mile, 2:30.96 1000 

Joey Thomspon, sr, Howard MD - 4:17 1600, 9:17 3200, MD 3A State XC Champion (fastest time of the day),

Event 7  Boys 1 Mile Run Mile
Meet: 4:17.33 1/12/2007 Christopher Moen, WJ
Name Year School
Section 1 Timed Finals
1 Hobart, T.J. 11 Baldwin
2 Dorrell, Pete 12 Blacksburg
3 LoRusso, Joe 12 Oakton
4 Thompson, Joey 12 Howard
5 Moen, Christopher SR WJ
6 Kenimer, Brad Williams, T. C.
7 Dennin, Marc Boyertown HS
8 Edmund, Daniel 12 Eleanor Roosevel
9 Degfae, Leoule 11 Edison, Thomas
10 Barry*, Davis 12 Henry, Patrick (
11 Degfae, Tihut 11 Edison, Thomas
12 Darmody, Neal 12 Quince Orchard
13 Chapin, Ramsey 11 Georgetown Prep
14 Porter, Daniel 12 Mountain View
15 ross, johns 12 Potomac School

Girls Preview 

Morgane Gay is the lone sub 5 miler in the field from Walt Whitman High School in Maryland. The defending Maryland 4A state 1600 meter champion finished fifth in last year's mile race, but is not the top returnee from the 2007 Montgomery Invite.

The honor belongs to Chantilly junior Lia DiValentin, who finished second in 2007 behind winner Catherine White. If Gay is at top shape, it is her race to win with great speed at a 2:15 best for 800 meters. DiValentin nearly broke 5 minutes last indoor season at Virginia Tech as her mile time in Blacksburg converted down to 1600 meters at 5 minutes flat.

Photo by Ted Plunkett

The race appears to have wiggle room for a surprise winner as Centreville's Chrissy Sane was two weeks ago in a 3200 meter race against two of the top Virginian seeds in Saturday's main event with DiValentin and Osbourn Park's Ariel Karabinus. Sane meets up with DiValentin and Karabinus again this weekend along with a field of 13 all capable of pushing after sub 5:10 times. Karabinus has New York on her mind, but it is not Millrose and instead looking more at posting a fast enough time to get her into mile at the New Balance Games held at the New York Armory.

Karabinus has yet to win a regional title for 1600 meters though as a familar foe in Mountain View's Heather Lambert will be in the field, who happened to win two Northwest Region 1600 meter titles last spring. Lambert is glad to be back on the track as she certainly has had more success on the oval than the cross country course. Lambert has some of the best speed in the field as her 2:16 800 meter best puts her right behind Gay's PR.

Virginians Amanda Lineberry, Elizabeth Heath, and Anneka Wilson all have times of 5:15 or faster and can certainly mix it up with some of the favorites along with Marylanders Louise Hannallah and Teshika Rivers.

The Virginians

Ariel Karabinus, so, Osbourn Park VA - 5:08.11 1600, 11:08.69 3200, Northwest Region XC Champion, VA 3A All-State XC & 3200 Outdoor

Lia DiValentin, jr, Chantilly VA - 5:00.94 1600, 10:39 3200, 2007 Montgomery Invite Mile Runner-up, VA 3A State XC Runner-up, VA 3A 2x3200 State Runner-up

Heather Lambert, sr, Mountain View VA - 5:07.28 1600, 2:16.29 800, Northwest Region 1600 Champion 

Elizabeth Heath, sr, West Potomac VA - 5:14.76 1600, 11:11.31 3200, CNU Showcase 3200 Champion

Chrissy Sane, sr, Centreville VA - 5:15.61 1600, 11:21.99 3200, F.I.T. Invite 1600 Champion, Metro Run & Walk Holiday Invite 1600 Champion 

Amanda Lineberry, so, Lee-Davis VA - 5:12.84 1600, VA 3A All-State XC 

Anneka Wilson, so, The Potomac School VA - 5:15.77 1600, Metro Run & Walk Holiday Invite 1600 Runner-up 

The Out-of-State Competition 

Morgane Gay, sr, Walt Whitman MD - 4:55 1600, 4:42 1500, 2:15 800, MD 4A State 1600 Champion, 5th @ 2007 Montgomery Invite Mile

Louise Hannallah, sr, Winston Churchill MD - 5:09 1600, 11:06 3200

Teshika Rivers, jr, Eleanor Roosevelt MD - 5:13 1600, 2:18 800 

Event 8 Girls 1 Mile Run Mile
Meet: 4:59.28 1/12/2007 Catherine White, Northside
Name Year School
Section 1 Timed Finals
1 Karabinus, Ariel 10 Osbourn Park
2 Lambert, Heather 12 Mountain View
3 Gay, Morgane 12 Walt Whitman
4 Doll, Alex 09 Bethesda-Chevy C
5 Hannallah, Louise 12 Winston Churchil
6 Heath, Elizabeth 12 West Potomac
7 Johnson, Amirah 09 Eleanor Roosevel
8 DiValentin, Lia 11 Chantilly
9 Eilerts, Hallie 12 Oakton
10 Rivers, Teshika 11 Eleanor Roosevel
11 Sane, Chrissy 12 Centreville
12 Lineberry*, Amanda 10 Lee-Davis
13 wilson, anneka 10 Potomac School