Sean McGorty has accomplished a great deal during his senior year at Chantilly High. He’s broken just about every running record the school had to offer, in addition to helping the Chargers win their first cross country state title last fall.
Perhaps McGorty’s most impressive accomplishment, however, came last Friday during the mile run at the 119th Penn Relays in Philadelphia. In typical fashion, McGorty separated himself from the pack after 200 meters and used a strong kick to cross the finish line first. This win, though, was anything but typical. His time of 4 minutes, 4.47 seconds marked the new No. 1 high school time in the U.S. this year. It also set a new Penn Relays record.
Not a bad feat to pull off against an elite field in the country’s oldest and largest track and field competition.
“With that much history there, it was unbelievable,” said McGorty, who was named the Penn Relays’ High School Boys Athlete of the Meet for Individual Events. “The crowd there was awesome, and it was just a great place to run. To have that all come together perfectly with the time was just an amazing feeling.”
Ben Malone of Pascack Valley, N.J., also ran the race of his life, using a time of 4:05.59 to shatter the previous Penn record of 4:08.07. But his late charge in the last 100 meters wasn’t enough to catch McGorty’s long, fluid strides down the stretch.
“I just wanted to go out and set a hard pace that was faster than 4:08 so that if I could hold it then I could get the record,” McGorty said. “But the main goal going in was to try to win.”
McGorty’s spectacular effort redeemed last year’s subpar performance, in which he fell about halfway through the race after getting tangled up with former Annandale senior Ahmed Bile. McGorty recovered to finish in 12th place with a time of 4:22.10, but he knew better days were ahead.
The Stanford recruit came into the spring outdoor season with several goals, one of them being to run a 4:05 mile. With that already out of the way, McGorty says he’ll have to re-think his mile target. His time Friday was the third fastest in state history behind only South Lakes’ Alan Webb (3:53.43) and West Springfield’s Sharif Karie (4:02.01).
He will be aiming at the coveted 4-minute mile mark at the adidas Dream Mile in New York City on May 25.
“I guess when it comes to that race, since there are so many other top runners there, that’s when I think the 4-minute mile will be more talked about,” McGorty said. “The way I look at it with my coaches is that it will be something to train for, so I guess we’ll just have to see what happens.”
McGorty’s accomplishment wasn’t the only notable result by a Northern Virginia native at Franklin Field last weekend. The Westfield boys 4x800-meter relay squad nearly defended its Penn Relays title on Saturday, finishing just one second behind a Pleasantville (N.J.) team whose winning time of 7:40.71 marked a new U.S. No. 1 time this season. Westfield’s group ran in 7:41.84 despite relatively low expectations that came from the 7:56 time they ran at the indoor state meet earlier this year.
Racing in just his second 800 in the last three weeks after a strained hamstring, Nathan Kiley stayed right with Pleasantville’s Jacob Clark in the anchor’s first 700 meters before Clark turned on the jets down the final stretch. Kiley split in 1:50.90, an improvement on his third leg last year (1:51.3) that rallied Westfield into first place.
Kiley, the reigning indoor national 800-meter champion, ran the race along with Max Chambers, Jeff Edmondson and Troy Sevachko, a group that hadn’t competed together in the 800 relay this season prior to last weekend.
“I think it’s difficult without the races under your belt to get the confidence going into the race,” Westfield track and field coach Kelly Deegan said. “I think [Kiley is] really fortunate to have such a good group of boys at the school to train with every day. He’s been doing the workouts and they’re running fast, so I think that helped him a little bit.”
South County senior Felecia Majors came away from Franklin Field on Thursday with a victory in the long jump, putting up a personal best 20 feet 3 inches, the 10th best mark in meet history. Edison’s Anna Williams claimed first in the triple jump with a mark of 41-1.5, four inches better than her previous best attempt that day.
Lake Braddock senior Sophie Chase won her second consecutive Penn Relays championship in the 3,000-meter run on Thursday, finishing in 9:35.52. That mark was achieved after she ran a 2:16.2 on her leg of the 4x800 relay semifinal that helped Lake Braddock qualify for the championship in that event. The Bruins overcame a dropped baton on the third leg of the finals to finish in eighth place with a state-best time of 9:13.54.