In an invitation-only race featuring many of the nation’s top high school mile runners, Mountain View High freshman Lexy Halladay came away a winner.
Halladay won a sprint to the finish over the final 100 meters to win in a nation-leading time of 4 minutes, 41.80 seconds at the adidas Girls’ Dream Mile at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville, Mass.
Her time also breaks the freshman national class record of 4:42.0 set by Mary Decker in 1973.
“I am so excited and happy. That time, I knew I could get it, but I wasn’t sure if it would be this year,” Halladay said. “That was just the perfect race, perfect conditions. I mean, it was a little windy, but I couldn’t ask to have run it any better.”
Senior Brie Oakley of Colorado — the U.S. high school record holder in the 5,000 meters and reigning NXN cross country champion — took second in 4:41.95, and senior Lauren Gregory of Fort Collins, Colo., was third in 4:42.00.
Halladay was fourth going into the final lap, but moved up to second with 200 meters left and then first with 100 meters to go.
“The whole time I kept having flashbacks of the 800 (at state). I was just waiting for someone to hit the back of my heel. I was just praying that they wouldn’t,” said Halladay, who fell in the 800 at state, likely costing her a win. “I was just trying to keep my space and stay right behind the leaders and hope that no one would get jumbled up behind me.”
Gregory fought Halladay for the lead down the stretch, but Oakley leaned in at the finish to steal second place from a fading Gregory, while Halladay held strong on the inside lane for the victory.
After she crossed the finish line, Halladay fell, but she looked up at the TV broadcast camera with a big smile.
“My legs were dead,” Halladay said. “That final sprint, man, if it had been any longer.”
Sophomore Taylor Roe of Lake Stevens, Wash., entered the race with the nation’s leading time in the mile this season: 4 minutes, 45.97 seconds. Roe set the benchmark in a race against Halladay at the Nike/Jesuit Twilight Relays on April 28 in Portland, but Roe ended up ninth (4:52.68) in the Dream Mile.
Halladay’s time of 4:46.35 at the Nike/Jesuit race gave her the No. 2 ranking ahead of No. 3 Oakley (4:46.97) and No. 4 Allie Schadler of Arizona (4:46.98). Eight of the Dream Mile entrants were seniors, and Halladay was the only freshman in the field.
Halladay is the reigning Idaho 5A state cross country, 3,200- and 1,600-meter champion. She also ran the anchor leg on Mountain View’s winning 4x400 relay.
Her next race will be the elite mile at the 2017 Brooks PR Invitational on June 17 in Seattle.