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College Milers to Attack Records at Millrose Games

Six of best milers competing in the university ranks in the United States will try to break the collegiate records for the mile and 1500-meters at the new Millrose Games on Saturday, Feb. 11, meeting organizers announced.

On the men's side, five collegiate athletes have joined the field for the NYRR Wanamaker Mile with the specific goal of taking down German Fernandez's indoor collegiate record of 3:55.02. They'll have pacemaking assistance from 800-meter ace Mark Wieczorek, and should gain additional motivation from racing with World Championships 1500m bronze medalist Matthew Centrowitz who is also in the field.

Brigham Young's Miles Batty and Tulsa's Chris O'Hare will lead the charge. Batty, 24, the reigning NCAA indoor champion at the mile, has a personal best of 3:55.79.

"It is a great honor to be invited to participate in the Wanamaker Mile as part of the Millrose Games," Batty said in a statement released yesterday by meet organizers. "There has always been a lot of tradition associated with the Millrose Games and I'm proud to be a part of Wanamaker Mile as it takes a new direction in the Armory.

"As I planned for my indoor track season, one of my goals was to make an attempt at the collegiate record for the indoor mile but I knew it would require being in the right race at the right meet," Batty continued. "I believe that the Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games will provide the ideal opportunity for an attempt at the collegiate record."

O'Hare, 21, who hails from Edinburgh, Scotland, and has a career best time of 3:56.48, was the runner-up to Batty at the NCAA Division I Indoor Championships this year. Like Batty, he'll be making his Millrose Games debut, and his parents will be coming to New York from Scotland to watch him compete.

"It is very exciting knowing that the collegiate record is up for grabs but it will require a 'Braveheart' performance in order to achieve the mark," O'Hare said. "A lot more than talent and good training goes into breaking such a prestigious record."

Also entered in the Wanamaker Mile from the collegiate ranks are two New Yorkers: Erik Van Ingen of SUNY Binghamton, and Kyle Merber of Columbia University. Van Ingen, 22, from Upstate Marathon, N.Y., finished sixth at the NCAA championships last year at 1500m (fifth in the indoor mile), and has a mile personal best of 3:57.11. He'll be making his Millrose Games debut. Merber, 21, the 2010 HEPS 1500m champion who attended Half Hollow Hills High School on Long Island, has already tasted Millrose Games success; he won the meet's High School Mile in 2008. Merber has a personal best of 3:58.52, and will also be running his first Wanamaker Mile.

Silas Kisorio, the 2011 NAIA 800m and 1500m champion from Oklahoma Christian University, will be in the hunt as well. His personal best in the mile is 3:56.64.

In the NYRR Wanamaker Metric Mile for Women, SUNY Stony Brook's Lucy Van Dalen has a very good chance to break Tina Krebs's collegiate record of 4:10.20 set all the way back in 1985. Van Dalen, the runner-up at last year's NCAA Division I Championships at 1500m who grew up in Wanganui, New Zealand, has a 1500m personal best of 4:11.59.

"I have watched the Millrose Games as a spectator for the past few years so to be running in the 1500m this year is very exciting for me," Van Dalen said. "The Millrose Games is such a prestigious event and I feel honored to be able to participate it in. I feel that my training is going very well at the moment as I prepare for the NCAA Championships, so depending on how the race develops at Millrose, I feel that I will be prepared to run well."

This year marks the inaugural NYRR Wanamaker Metric Mile for Women.

By David Monti (c)2012 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved; Used with permission