2012 Olympic Silver Medalist Leo Manzano to Headline Aetna Falmouth Elite Mile
Mackey to chase three-peat against deep women’s field including Kampf, Uceny and Sifuentes; top men also include rising stars Merber, Gregorek, Alexander and Hunter for Saturday, August 20 race
From New Balance Falmouth Road Race
FALMOUTH, Mass. — Leo Manzano, who won a silver medal at 1500 meters in the 2012 Olympic Games and has been one of the top Milers in the U.S. for a decade, will make his debut in the Aetna Falmouth Elite Mile, race organizers have announced.
In its first year with a new title sponsor and returning after a one-year hiatus, the Aetna Falmouth Elite Mile will begin at 6:00pm on Saturday, August 20, on the James T. Kalperis Track at Falmouth High School. Total prize purse for the men’s and women’s fields is $13,000, not including possible time bonuses.
Manzano will face defending champion Kyle Merber and rising U.S. stars Colby Alexander, Drew Hunter and Johnny Gregorek, the 2009 Massachusetts state high school indoor 2-Mile champion for Seekonk High School. In the women’s Mile, two-time defending champion Katie Mackey will take on, among others, 4-time USA Road Mile champion Heather Kampf; two-time Falmouth Mle champion Nicole Sifuentes; and Morgan Uceny, a 2012 Olympian who in 2011 was ranked #1 in the world.
The Aetna Falmouth Elite Mile, which began in 1995, has played host to more than two dozen Olympians, including Amy Rudolph, Carmen Douma-Hussar, Carrie Tollefson, Suzy Hamilton, Donn Cabral, Marc Davis, Robert Gary, Jason Pyrah and 2008 Olympic silver medalist Nick Willis of New Zealand. The event records are held by Hamilton (4:25.27, 2002) and Jordan McNamara (3:54.89, 2011).
Manzano, 31, made his first Olympic team in 2008, just weeks after wrapping up a career at the University of Texas that brought him five NCAA titles. One of America’s top Milers ever since, Manzano made every Olympic and World Championships team between 2006 and 2015, competing five times at the IAAF World Championships and using his ferocious kick to win an Olympic silver medal at 1500 meters in London. He finished fourth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Merber, 25, won the Mile here in 2014, and last year was a member of the Team USA Distance Medley Relay team that set a world record at the IAAF World Relays. Just last Friday, he ran an outdoor personal record 3:54.57 to win the Sir Walter Miler in Raleigh, NC, and he hopes to become the first man to repeat as the Mile champion here since Pyrah in 1998.
Among those they will face are up-and-coming U.S. stars Alexander, who finished seventh in the Olympic Trials and won the TrackTown Summer Series 1500 meters; Hunter, who earlier this year became only the eighth U.S. high school boy in history to run a sub-4 minute Mile before turning pro last month; and local favorite Gregorek, who finished sixth in the Olympic Trials in his first year as a pro.
Also in the field are two-time USA Road Mile champion Garrett Heath, Eric Avila, Mac Fleet, Brandon Hudgins, Frezer Legesse, Cory Leslie, Riley Masters and Daniel Winn. They will be paced by Mike Reher, who runs for the Boston Athletic Association.
Mackey, 28, returns in search of her third-consecutive Mile win here. She is an American record holder as part of the 4x1500-meter relay team that won silver at the IAAF World Relays in 2014, and recently finished sixth at 5000 meters at the Olympic Trials. Kampf, 29, who was also on that American record relay squad, set an outdoor track personal record last Friday in finishing third at the Sir Walter Miler in 4:27.23.
Sifuentes, 30, is the 2015 Pan Am Games silver medalist and 2014 IAAF World Indoor bronze medalist at 1500 meters, and will head to Falmouth after competing in her second Olympics at 1500 meters for Canada. Should either Mackey or Sifuentes be victorious, she would become the first three-time women’s winner since the Falmouth Mile began in 1995. Uceny, 31, a three-time national champion, has twice finished on podium here, and was fifth at the recent Olympic 1500m Trials.
Likely to challenge are Stephanie Garcia, 28, a finalist in the 3000 meter steeplechase at the 2015 IAAF World Championships who finished fifth in that event at the 2016 Olympic Trials; and Cory McGee, a member of Team USA at the 2013 IAAF World Championships and the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships who finished fourth at the 2015 Pan Am Games.
Also in the field are rising Mile stars Lianne Farber, Megan Krumpoch, Shannon Osika and Stephanie Schappert. Dana Giordano, a resident of Woods Hole who placed third in the 2016 NCAA Championships at 1500 meters, will pace the women.
The Aetna Falmouth Elite Mile on August 20 will serve as the finale to a series of late-afternoon events that begin with the SBLI Family Fun Run at 4:00pm, followed by the Falmouth Youth Mile and the Tommy Cochary High School Mile, which showcases some of the best high school Milers from throughout Massachusetts.
Visit FalmouthRoadRace.com for more event information.