Avila, Schneider Capture USATF 1 Mile Road Championship Crowns
First time national titlists pocket $3000 each in Des Moines; $15,000 overall awarded to the top 10
From Drake Relays
DES MOINES, Iowa — In exciting races, rising stars Eric Avila and Rachel Schneider captured the USATF 1 Mile Road Championships presented by Toyota Wednesday night on the Drake University campus.
Under chilly, windy conditions, Avila, 31, held off a late charging Craig Engels to claim his first national title in 3:59.0.
Schneider, 29, won the women's race and also her first USA title in a lifetime road Mile clocking of 4:30.3, covering the final 400 meters on the Blue Oval at Drake Stadium in 64.8 seconds to hold off Shannon Osika by 10 meters.
The top three men all ran under 4 minutes. Engels, the reigning USATF Outdoor 1500 champ, was second in 3:59.2, while Clayton Murphy, 2016 Olympic 800 meter bronze medalist, was third in 3:59.5 and bettered his previous road Mile PR of 4:00 en route to winning the 2017 USA Road Mile in downtown Des Moines.
"I got second the last time here (2018) and to win against field like that was great momentum building,” said Avila, a San Diego native. "I looked over and saw Clayton (Murphy) and Craig (Engels) on my shoulder so knew I had to run smart and be very aggressive."
"With about 20 meters to go I didn't know if I could hold it, but I stayed composed.”
Osika, who was fourth in the 1500 at the 2020 USATF Indoor Championships, was timed in 4:31.3, while Heather Kampf, a four-time USA Road Mile champ, placed third in 4:33.1.
Schneider was familiar with the Blue Oval, having finished second and fourth in the 5000 meters at the 2018-19 USATF Outdoor Championships, respectively, held at Drake Stadium.
"I still think I'm a middle distance runner at heart," Schneider said. "To come back and drop down and do some Mile and 1500 races is still a fun thing to do."
"This was an awesome field and I respect every girl here," the Flagstaff, Arizona resident added. "I knew it would be a tough win. I didn't expect to find myself in the lead that early and when I stepped onto the track I felt confident and it felt good to bring it home."
Avila and Schneider each earned $3000 for the national title. The USATF 1 Mile Road Championships are the second stop on the 2021 USATF Running Circuit.
The evening's events also included the Iowa Kidstrong Celebration of Champions fun run. Clay Elementary students competed in a fun run against Drake Relays champion, Iowa native and Dowling Catholic alum Karissa Schweizer. The students had 14:23.92, the women's American 5000m record, to complete as many laps on Drake's blue oval as they could. They were able to complete an impressive four laps.
USATF 1 Mile Road Championships presented by Toyota
Des Moines, IA, Wednesday, April 21, 2021
1) Eric Avila (CA), 3:59.0, $3000
2) Craig Engels (OR), 3:59.2, $1500
3) Clayton Murphy (OH), 3:59.5, $750
4) Abe Alvarado (GA), 4:00.4, $600
5) Daniel Herrera (LA), 4:00.5, $500
6) Colin Albert (MN), 4:00.7, $400
7) Brett Meyer (KS), 4:01.1, $300
8) Clayton Young (UT), 4:02.8, $200
9) Pat Casey (AZ), 4:03.2, $150
10) Jeff Thies (CO), 4:06.7, $100
1) Rachel Schneider (AZ), 4:30.3, $3000
2) Shannon Osika (MI), 4:31.3, $1500
3) Heather Kampf (MN), 4:33.1, $750
4) Sara Sutherland (CO), 4:33.8, $600
5) Sara Vaughn (CO), 4:34.1, $500
6) Grayson Murphy (UT), 4:35.1, $400
7) Sammy George (NC), 4:35.3, $300
8) Anna Shields (PA), 4:37.9, $200
9) Allie Wilson (GA), 4:38.5, $150
10) Alexa Efraimson (OR), 4:42.3, $100
Photos courtesy of Drake Relays