2018 New Balance Grand Prix features NP and PA runners

NEW BALANCE GRAND PRIX- North Penn senior Ariana Gardizy stays with the pack during the Girls’ Junior Mile.

BOSTON- It isn’t everyday that a high school runner from Pennsylvania is invited to run in the New Balance Grand Prix Junior 1 Mile Run. In fact, this year, there were only two Pennsylvania girls and four Pennsylvania boys listed in the mile races.

The 2018 New Balance Grand Prix was held at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center and was broadcast live on NBC Sports Network. The New Balance Grand Prix meet started in 1996 and has been the site of countless World and American records.

Girls’ Junior Mile

The Girls’ Junior Mile Race showcased two Pennsylvania runners, senior Ariana Gardizy from North Penn, and senior Gabrielle Wilkinson from Friends’ Central.

The race began with most girls running at around the same pace, but after the second lap, things got different. Kelsey Chmiel, a junior from New York, increased her commanding and confident lead, and she was followed by Wilkinson who led the rest of the pack. As the race went on, Wilkinson went from trailing by about 10 meters to trailing by about 10 inches. And that’s where she stayed for the second half of the race.

My strategy was to not take the lead, but to go for it on the last lap

— Gabrielle Wilkinson

“My strategy was to not take the lead, but to go for it on the last lap,” explained Wilkinson.  

It was at the 4:10 mark that Wilkinson started to kick it into the next gear and take the lead. However, Chmiel took back first place in an exciting home stretch burst for the win.

Chmiel won the race at 4:44.84, and Wilkinson took second at 4:46.95.

“I was hoping to go below that, but you win some, you lose some. That’s the lesson I learned today,” reflected Wilkinson.

Nikki Merrill, a junior from Rhode Island, clinched third place at 4:50.87 with the fastest final split (32.02).

Gardizy finished in 11th place with a time of 5:03:16.

“It could have been better. I should have been a little bit more aggressive,” reflected Gardizy about her race.

For her, racing at the Grand Prix was a much different pace than what she is used to at home.

“In most of my other races, I was the one taking it out, but I knew I wouldn’t be that person today. They took it out really fast, and I have to get used to that,” said Gardizy who will be running for the University of Pennsylvania this fall.

As one of the two Pennsylvania girls in the race, Wilkinson commented on how it felt to be representing her state in such a global meet.

“It’s awesome. There were only a few PA [runners] in this event, so to represent, it was awesome,” noted Wilkinson.

Boys’ Junior Mile

Pennsylvania boys made up an impressive one third of the Boys’ Junior Mile line up. Representing the state were seniors Dalton Hengst, Josh Hoey*, Noah Beveridge, and Tristan Forsythe.

It was Hengst who took first place, clinching the lead on the home stretch (4:10.57). Hengst was followed by fellow Pennsylvanians Tristan Forsythe (4:16.29) and Noah Beveridge (4:16.40) who took 4th and 5th place in a close finish.

Hengst, who stayed out of first place for a majority of the race explained his decision to kick it in at the end.

I do have a really fast acceleration, so I try to use that unexpectedly

— Dalton Hengst

“I do have a really fast acceleration, so I try to use that unexpectedly,” noted Hengst.

Last weekend, Hengst placed 4th at the Millrose Games running 4:12.98. He had what he considered a “poor finish”, but this week, Hengst redeemed himself with a strong kick.

“The mindset today was to sit with the leaders, be in a good position, and be comfortable until about 600 to 200 meters left in the race. Then I wanted to go for it. I was able to explode [on] the back stretch, and I was really happy,” reflected Hengst.

“I live in north Pennsylvania. PA has always been great. My favorite trail is there, it’s where I grew up. It’s a great place and I’m happy to be representing it,” said Hengst.

For all of the New Balance Grand Prix 2018 results, visit https://results.nbindoorgrandprix.com/ .

*While he was listed on the heat sheet, Josh Hoey DNS*