Another Fast Falmouth Mile In The Books

Caleb Gartner, 11, sets the boys' youth record with 5:47.78 for the Falmouth Mile.
JACK LYNCH/ENTERPRISE - Caleb Gartner, 11, sets the boys' youth record with 5:47.78 for the Falmouth Mile.

Filling the bleachers and lining the rails, hundreds of fans turned out on Saturday to cheer the athletes at the Falmouth Mile, which marked its 19th year as one of the top events at the distance in the United States.

Kicking off the evening with a win in the Girls’ 1-Mile Youth Run was Ainsley Ramsey, 12, of Falmouth, who took the lead on the back stretch of the third lap after hearing her father, John, exhort her to make her move. She was happy with her time of 6:12.49, but happier still with that of the fourth-place finisher.

“It’s my sister’s PR!” she said of 10-year-old Kyra Ramsey’s 6:55.53.

In the Boys’ Youth Run, 11-year-old Caleb Gartner took it wire to wire for a 5:47.78 victory, matched by an ear-to-ear smile at being greeted by finish-tape holders Joan Samuelson, the 1984 Olympic marathon gold medalist, and Meb Keflezighi, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist and 2014 Boston Marathon champion.

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In the Tommy Cochary Girls’ High School Mile, Stella Worters was thrilled to defend her title in 5:02.50, a meet record. The Shepherd Hill High School graduate from Charlton—who will run for Williams College in the fall—went through the half in 2:33, already in the lead. “It’s awesome!” she said of her repeat victory. “I was not expecting this at all. I almost broke my PR; I’m so close to breaking 5.”

Unlike Worters, who acknowledged that she had no pre race plan, Russell Wells said that he most definitely did. Taking the lead with about 250 meters to go, Wells, of Wilbraham, won the Tommy Cochary Boys’ High School Mile in 4:31.25 in a close finish over Zachary Manickas-Hill (4:31.68). An 800-meter specialist, Wells knew that his only chance at victory was to sit and kick.

A 2014 graduate of Minnechaug Regional High School, Wells is headed to University of Massachusetts Amherst. When asked if he planned to run track there, he replied, “Of course.”

In the women’s wheelchair race, 17-year-old Katrina Gerhard, who has been named a co-captain of her Acton-Boxborough High School team in the fall, took the lead early and extended it with every lap, winning in a personal-best 4:35.83. On the men’s side, James Senbeta, 27, of Champaign, Illinois, defended his title with another win, this time in 3:26.74 over five-time New Balance Falmouth Road Race champion Krige Schabort.

The marquee elite miles closed out the night’s action. Winning the Elite Women’s Mile for the second year in a row was Katie Mackey, in 4:27.79. The 26 year old from Seattle, who earlier this year helped set an American record in the 4x1500-meter relay, tucked in right behind the pacemaker for the first 1000 meters, and then decided to keep taking the brunt of the headwind on the back stretch.

“If I’m going to end up breaking the wind for everybody, I might as well make this an honest race,” she recalled thinking, “and I might as well make it as hard for them to catch me as possible.”

Sarah Brown almost did. Dueling down the home stretch against Morgan Uceny, the four-time NCAA champion while at the University of Tennessee finally prevailed in the final 20 meters but couldn’t catch Mackey.

“You always want to win,” said Brown, [but] the atmosphere is so cool with everyone being so close to the track. You don’t normally get that.”  

In the Men’s Elite Mile, which went through the first 400 meters in 60 seconds, Garrett Heath took control of the race when the pacemaker dropped out at 1000 meters. “Garrett’s a fearless racer, and he got right on it,” said Kyle Merber. “I just sat on Garrett and let him do the work. Sorry,” he said, as Heath laughed.

With 150 meters remaining, the 23-year-old Merber, out of Columbia University, made a hard move, felt good, and went on to win in 3:56.46. David Torrence, the 2012 winner here, was second in 3:56.46, with Heath ending up third in 3:57.20.

Both the men’s and women’s winners took home $2,000. Six women also took home incentive bonuses for running sub 4:32, while three men earned incentive bonuses for running under 3:58.

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