Updated: 2 days ago
This Saturday, we will be watching some of the best high school milers in the country compete on one of the most prestigious stages at the Millrose Games in New York City. Staggered between elite distance races, these high school milers will get all of the attention they deserve on national television (NBC Sports) and through USATF.TV streaming services. Here is what you need to know about all 30 names entered in the high school mile races...
Cian McPhillips (IRE) – Favorite
To start off the boy’s field, let’s dive into Cian McPhillips who arrives from Ireland as the race-day favorite to win the race. The senior boasts a personal best of 1:50.71 in the 800 meters and 3:44.85 in the 1500 meters. He ran that 1500 PR less than two weeks ago, so it is clear he is the prime point of his fitness. He is fairly unknown in the distance running circuit, but this could be his coming out party on Saturday.
Shaw Powell (CBA) – Contender
Since transferring from Jesuit in Portland, Shaw has become the new face of CBA distance running and has continued on the legacy of runners who have passed through the program before him. The Colorado commit won the Millrose Games Trials earlier in January to punch his ticket to this event. He has a personal best of 4:11 in the 1600 meters and 9:09 in the 3200 meters. He was formidable during the past cross country season and has posted strong performance after strong performance. That consistency should give Powell some confidence heading into this race.
Gavin Sherry (Conard High) – Contender
Arguably the best sophomore in the country, Sherry looks to be the new face of high school distance running. After placing 14th at the Foot Locker National Championships this past fall, Sherry kept this momentum rolling into the indoor season. Winning the majority of the races he has competed in, Sherry has dropped a 4:16 full mile and a 8:59 3200 meter (en route to a 9:02.58 two mile at the New Balance Games which qualified him for Millrose). He is U.S. #1 in three events entering Saturday and he should be looked at as a real threat to win this race. Sherry would do well with a faster pace to take the kick out of some of the faster top-end speed athletes in this field.
Yasin Sado (Gateway High School) - Contender
Sado is travelling across the country to compete at the Millrose Games. He has become the face of Colorado distance running over the past year while holding personal bests of 1:50 in the 800 meters and 4:09 in the full mile. He has raced sparingly this indoor season, but the expectation is that he is ready to compete for the title. This field is loaded with talent, but Sado should be considered a top five athlete in this race.
Alex Fleury (Phillips Academy Andover) – Contender
Posting a time of 4:12 in the full mile this indoor season, the Harvard commit looks to continue this rise to relevancy. Relative to other athletes in this field, Fleury's cross country accolades are a little more modest. However, it seems clear that he is more of a track specialist. He has the necessary top-end speed to hang with anyone in this race and I would be shocked if we didn’t see him near the front with 200 meters to go.
William Coogan (Phillips Exeter Academy) – Contender
The senior from New Hampshire shows up as an interesting case. What separates Coogan from others in this field is that Coogan doesn’t compete during outdoor track, but instead plays baseball for his high school team in the spring. The UNC commit has dropped some serious times so far this winter, including a 4:14 full mile at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix where he placed 2nd. Coogan has been an under the radar athlete given his lack of racing on the outdoor oval, but his recent mile performance suggests that he can be a legitimate contender in an elite field.
Matthew Farrell (Loomis Chaffee) – Dark Horse
The Princeton commit has shown the country that he is a major force when it comes to high school long distance running. After placing 13th at the Foot Locker National Championships this past fall, Farrell kept the momentum rolling, running a U.S. #1 in the 5000 meters in 14:28 during an early-season December meet. So the question arises, why is he a dark horse? Well, Farrell's mile PR of 4:15, while still impressive, is a little bit on the slower end compared to a few other names in this field. He is arguably the strongest runner in the field over certain distances, but his finish will depend on how he can kick against some athletes with better top end speed.
Tristan Amell (Santa Monica High) – Dark Horse
Tristan Amell is an interesting athlete coming into this race. Amell is a former CBA standout who moved out west. A 4:17 1600 meter runner, Amell has only run once this season (a 600 meter race where he ran 1:24.66). He dropped his times significantly last spring and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him drop his mile time on Saturday against this kind of field. For Amell to be in contention for this race, he will need the race to go out on the slower side so that he can utilize his lethal speed.
Sam Lawler (Pittsford-Mendon) - Contender
The Syracuse commit rolls into the Armory with an astounding cross country season under his belt. Finishing 16th at NXN, Lawler kept this momentum rolling with a 4:15 mile finish at the New Balance Games to finish 2nd to fellow competitor Robert DiDonato. We give Lawler the nod as a contender based on his national meet experience and it wouldn’t be shocking to see the senior race to a top five finish.
Jace Aschbrenner (Newbury Park) - Dark Horse
A fellow Colorado commit along with Shaw Powell and recently coming off of a team NXN victory, Aschbrenner punched his ticket to the Millrose Games with a 3:57 1500 meter 2nd place finish from Arcadia. He arguably has the best training partner in the country (Nico Young) and Aschbrenner wouldn’t be traveling from coast to coast with Young if he wasn’t fit and ready to compete. He doesn’t have the mile credentials that some of the other athletes have in this race, but he has shown over the past few months that he should be considered one of the nation's elite distance runners.
Stone Caraccio (Kingsway) - Dark Horse
Caraccio is one of the top distance runners in New Jersey and he will be toeing the line against the nation's best. Although his times don’t match up to other athletes in the race, Caraccio is undefeated this indoor season in very competitive meets. His cross country season didn’t pan out to meet expectations, but with a new sense of confidence it will be interesting if he can best some of the athletes in the race.
Robert DiDonato (Germantown Academy) - Dark Horse
Pennsylvania is bringing a handful of talented runners to the Millrose Games and that includes DiDonato. The Foot Locker national qualifier has continued to excel after a stellar sophomore campaign and he is now capping his junior indoor season with the Millrose Games. The junior has run 4:15 in the mile at the New Balance Games to punch his ticket into this race. He is an athlete who should be viewed as one of the better dark horse racers in the field.
Henry Farrington (Essex High) - Dark Horse
The Virginia native arrives to New York as an NXN individual qualifier and worthy of a spot at the Millrose Games. After a 3rd place finish at the New Balance Games, Farrington received an At-Large bid into the most competitive high school mile race in the country. Positioned with a 4:16 mile, Farrington is seen as a long-shot to win the race but then again, crazier things have happened on an oval.
Joseph O’Brien (Horace Greeley) - Dark Horse
O’Brien toes the line as the biggest athlete to prove his bib number. After placing 7th at the New Balance Games, it seemed far fetched to assume that O’Brien was going to be entered in this race, but the Brown commit was accepted and will now toe the line in one of the most prestigious races in the nation. He posted a 4:18 1600 meter time last spring along with a 4:19 mile and shouldn’t be overlooked to beat some great athletes in this field. O’Brien has a lot of confidence and momentum coming into this race.
Nicholas Karayianis (Bullis School) - Dark Horse
Karayianis was the Maryland private school state champion during the cross country season and a senior who has improved drastically over the past year. A quick dive into his running profile shows that he has dropped close to 10 seconds in the mile and over 25 seconds in the two mile. He is a late bloomer on the running circuit, but should be seen as a wildcard entering Saturday’s race given his recent improvements.
Marlee Starliper (Northern) – Favorite
It shouldn’t be surprising to see Starliper as the clear favorite entering Saturday’s race give that she is the defending champion. The top five finisher from Foot Locker and NXN boasts the fastest personal bests in the field. The NC State commit has run 4:39 in the full mile along with a 4:20 1500 meter mark. It looks like Starliper is trying to peak for the championship season while only racing a few times, all of which she won, so far this season. All eyes will be on Starliper to see if she dictates the pace early and force girls out of their comfort zone with a fast pace. Starliper doesn’t have the best top end speed in the race, so the expectation is for her to make this race honest.
Roisin Willis (Stevens Point Area Running Club) – Contender
Willis lines up as the biggest wildcard in the race. Willis owns a personal best of 2:05.7 in the 800 meter and has arguably the best top end speed in the race. The problem Willis faces is that she has "only" managed to run 4:56 in the 1600 meters. If the race is slow enough, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Willis kicking down the final straightaway with Starliper, but the question mark comes into play if Starliper establishes an aggressive pace. Nonetheless, Willis provides an interesting spark in this race that can’t be overlooked.
Taylor Ewert (Beavercreek) – Contender
Ewert joins the field as one of the best distance runners in the country. Like Starliper, Ewert placed inside the top six at both Foot Locker and NXN this past fall. She has proven to be gutsy when it counts, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see her battling Starliper like she had done in cross country. Ewert has a personal best of 4:48 in the mile with most of her success coming from longer distances (3200/5000). For Ewert to come out on top, the winning time would need to be around the high 4:40's with a good amount of athletes staying in contention.
Jenna Hutchins (Science Hill High School) – Contender
Hutchins toes the line as only a sophomore trying to make her mark. The current U.S. #1 in the 1600 meters (but not the mile) is undefeated since her 5th place finish at Foot Locker National Championship in December and has run 4:48 this winter. This will be the ultimate test for the rapidly rising sophomore as she faces off against other elite milers. Hutchins doesn’t have the speed of Roisin Willis, but she should be one of the few athletes in the field who can hang onto Starliper’s pace. Expect her to be in contention with a few laps left.
Taryn Parks (Greencastle-Antrim) – Contender
Parks is someone we see as a real threat to dethrone Starliper. The UNC commit has run 4:39 in the full mile, which was a U.S. #1. She has all the credentials to dethrone Staliper. In fact, she already beat her at last year's New Balance Indoor National Championships in the mile, a race that turned out to be one of the most thrilling battles of 2019. Parks performed fairly well last year at the Millrose Games placing 3rd, so it will be interesting to see if she can build off of that performance.
Juliette Whittaker (Mount DeSales Academy) - Contender
Whittaker is yet another big name, constantly improving sophomore who has dropped some serious times this indoor season. With a personal best of 4:44 in the mile along with a 2:07 800 meter PR, Whittaker could have an argument to be a favorite. Nonetheless, she is definitely one of the top athletes in the race given her speed. Her strength and speed could prove to be too much at the end of the day, but this girl’s mile race could unfold in a variety of different ways.
Isabelle Goldstein (Germantown Academy) – Dark Horse
Goldstein punched her ticket into the Millrose Games with another awesome indoor season. She owns a personal best of 4:46 in the mile and she placed 4th in this race last year. She'll look to build off of that finish as she faces another stacked heat of individuals from around the country. Although she has credentials to win the race, I look at her more as a dark horse considering the loaded field.
Sarah Trainor (FDR) – Dark Horse
Trainor punched shows up in her home state as a worthy participant and an individual who shouldn't be overlooked. Despite the quiet cross country season, Trainor has been able to string together a healthy campaign this indoor season including a 1st place finish at the Millrose Games Trials where she ran a 4:58.17 mile, but that's still a ways out from her 4:52 PR, indicating that she still has plenty of upside. The UNC commit is racing on her home track in front of a sold out crowd. With 2:08 800 meter speed and a 2:55 1k PR, it's hard to think that Trainor doesn't have an edge if this race turns tactical.
Jenna Schulz (Liverpool) – Dark Horse
Shultz is another New Yorker who has strung together a list of performances worth noticing. A fellow NC State commit with Starliper, Shultz has run a personal best of 4:32 in the 1500 meters (approximately a 4:49 mile conversion depending on who you ask). Admittedly, her speed isn't the best compared to a few other athletes in this field. An aggressive pace early-on will likely benefit the Liverpool senior.
Lea Hatcher (Morgantown) - Dark Horse
Hatcher travels to New York as an NXN individual qualifier and a worthy participant of the Millrose Games. Hatcher is a threat for most in the race if the pace is slow to start given her middle distance speed. With a personal best of 2:08 in the 800 and 4:52 in the mile, Hatcher isn’t an athlete you want stalking you at the end. It will be interesting to see if she tries to hold a fast pace early or waits to see if the pack comes back to her in the latter portions of the race.
Ella Kurto (Saratoga Springs) - Dark Horse
The sophomore from the distance power house Saratoga Spring is fresh off leading a young team to a top finish at NXN while also earning herself All-American honors. With a personal best of 4:52 in the mile, Kurto is seen more as a long distance runner, but don’t be surprised if she's contending with the top group as she is plenty capable of holding her own given her national meet and Armory experience.
Carmen Alder (Pinecrest) - Dark Horse
Alder is an interesting story as her cross country season was a complete roller coaster. She was essentially undefeated heading into the NXN Southeast Regional Championships, but ended up finishing 104th. She then bounced back to win the AAU National Championships. She shows up Saturday with a personal best of 4:52 in the 1600 meter, but will likely be motivated to avenge her NXN performance and prove that she can be a major factor on the championship stage.
Camryn Wennersten (Ridgewood) - Dark Horse
Wennersten shows up as a sophomore with NXN experience. Helping her team qualify Nike Cross Nationals out of the Northeast region, the New Jersey native continued her success as she ventured into the indoor season. Placing 3rd at the Millrose Trials Games, Wennersten earned herself an At-Large spot to Saturday's race. With a personal best of 4:56 in the mile, Wennersten isn't considered a threat to win the title, but this could lead to another personal best.
Charlotte Bednar (The Lawrenceville School) - Dark Horse
Bednar is an interesting athlete to be considered a "dark horse" considering she won the NXN Northeast Regional Championships and placed 9th at NXN a week later. Only a sophomore, Bednar has proven to be one of the nation's best distance runners and has established an identity as an endurance-based runner. However, the question lies with her speed as she hasn't shown the turnover that some of these other women have in the middle distances.
Emma McGill (Voorhees) - Dark Horse
McGill earned herself the ability to run at Millrose for the first time in her career after a very clutch win at the New Balance Games. An interesting note to share is that McGill raced the day before for her team in relay races for team points. With little rest, McGill was able to win the race. She has a personal best of 4:55 in the 1600 meters, but her race tactics are clearly a strong aspect of her resume. The expectation is for her to stay near the back of the latter half of pack early in the race before picking off athletes who are too anxious too early.