"Miles upon miles upon miles upon miles..." the infinite babble to the dismay of sprint loving track and field fans.
Distance running has always been the scorn of sprinters, especially sprint coaches who already think distance is spoiled with cross country as a specialty sport in the fall. Well, let's go ahead and add another festival to the menu. The wildly popular Flashes Showcase sponsored by Franklin Central High School enters its 10th year Friday Night on Indianapolis' south side.
The extravaganza is a creation by head coach Brian Dunn who wanted to showcase some of the best talent in the Indianapolis metro area. The event has grown to become one of the biggest draws in the state of Indiana. Some runners have even ventured in from surrounding states. The main highlights are the Championship Mile races which takes place as the last two events on the track with fans lining the homestretch, giving the runners a cocoon feeling. The under card features a bevy of freshman and open races along with a boys and girls 4x800 relay. The weather is expected to be gorgeous in the upper 50s as the evening turns to night, which is perfect for distance running.
Girls Championship Mile outlook (7:15/8:15p EST):
The multi-talented and defending champion junior Taylor Nicholson of Avon is back. Nicholson, a former state 1600m champ, won by less than a second in 4:56.52. The field is expected to be just as deep and even more competitive this time around. The addition of cross country champion Carmel junior Sarah Leinheiser will pose an imminent threat. Leinheiser ran in this event last year but ran 5:19 to take 35th place. However, this is a vastly different runner who has vaulted up as one of the premier distance runners in the nation (8th in '15 NXN). One would think of Leinheiser as an easy candidate to break 5:00 considering her recent distance exploits. Also in the field is Katherine Free (Sr., Indy Cathedral) who is coming off a tremendous indoor season that saw her run a sizzling hot 10:37.70 for 3200m. Free has broken 5:00 as well. Hannah Stoffel (Sr., Huntington North), Grace Walther (Homestead), and Alex Buck (Pendleton Heights) will be featured.
Boys Championship Mile outlook (7:30/8:30p EST):
One of the most anticipated match ups outside of a state championship will be here. Last year's champion Hari Sathyamurthy (Sr., Brownsburg) and Ben Veatch (Sr., Carmel) will duel in a rematch in which Sathyamurthy won 4:16.45-4:16.81. Sathyamurthy may have the upper hand with his speed and love for the middle-distance events (48.9/1:51 credentials). But Veatch is no slouch either after coming off of a solid performance at last weekend's Arcadia Invitational 3200 where he placed 5th in 8:54.06. Veatch was also NXN runner up and took third in the Footlocker Cross Country National Championship. So many fans will have to pick between speed vs. distance... other names in the mix will be Brayden Law (Sr., Homestead), Cooper Williams (Sr., West Lafayette), and Alec Hartman (Westfield).