A great sprint Saturday capped what continues to be a good run this season for Wakefield senior Peter Quinzio.
Quinzio overtook West Springfield's Jeff Day to win the mile event Saturday at the Montgomery County (Md.) Track and Field Invitational at the Prince George's County Sports and Learning Complex. The Wakefield senior pulled even with Day with 150 meters to go and surged ahead about 75 meters from the finish line to earn what he called "the biggest win of my high school track career."
Quinzio's time of 4 minutes 21.24 seconds in the 1,600 was a personal best and a Virginia AAA meet qualifier, and it came during a Millrose Games qualifying event. Quinzio said it was one of four such meets that would determine the competitors for the Millrose Mile, scheduled for next month at Madison Square Garden.
At press time, he was still waiting to hear if his winning time would qualify him for that race.
"I knew with Day in the race there would be some great competition," said Quinzio, who in December gained early acceptance into Princeton, where he plans to study music and compete in track and field.
"I knew I could hang with [Day]. And with about four laps to go, I felt great, I was relaxed and I knew good things were going to happen. I heard the crowd and the track announcer [yelling about] what a tight finish it would be, and that helped, too."
Quinzio's time translates into 4:19.72 for 1,600 meters. (There are 1,609 meters in one mile.)
Day, who clocked 4:22.68 on Saturday, won the Patriot District boys' cross-country title and placed third in the state meet last fall.
Quinzio, an aspiring jazz saxophone player, won the National District title in cross country and placed 13th in the region meet. Last year, he placed third in the region in the 1,600 indoor race and fourth in the region in the 1,600 outdoor race.
Jefferson senior Shauneen Garrahan knows how it feels to miss the indoor state track and field meet because of injury. Last year, a stress fracture below the knee sidelined the Colonials' distance runner for the indoor states and the entire outdoor season.
Saturday, Garrahan qualified for this season's indoor state meet in the 1,600-meter run and earned a break from the high-demanding portion of her training by clocking a 5-minute 12.66-second mile time, good for second place at the Montgomery County Invitational.
Virginia, which does not include the mile in its indoor state meet, establishes state-meet qualifying times for athletes to shoot for during the regular season. It helps to ensure that the top runners have a chance to compete in the season finale. The opportunity is a safeguard for talented runners who might be ill or suffering from a minor injury on the day of the postseason qualifying race.
"We're really going to de-emphasize the rest of the month of January for Shauneen," said her coach, Matt Ryan.
"When you train with great intensity, it increases the chance of injury. This lets her slow down a bit until the state meet [Feb. 28-March 1] and do more of the basic type of training."
Garrahan was beaten by highly regarded Jennifer Boyd of Hickory, who clocked 5:03.28. Boyd is the defending Virginia AAA cross-country champion.
Garrahan, who also anchored the Colonials' fourth-place finish in the 4x800 relay, is coming off a solid cross-country season in which she placed second in the Concorde District finals and third in the Northern Region championships.
Also, Jefferson's Keith Bechtol won the boys' 3,200 (9:34.48) and Sarah Levine won the girls' 3,200 (11:27.09).