by Tom Utescher

For top-level track-and-field athletes, the annual New Balance Indoor Nationals in New York City marks the end of the winter season and indicates that it’s time to move the sport outdoors.

A number of area runners will use a strong showing at the elite gathering at Manhattan’s Armory Track and Field Center as a springboard to a successful season in the open air.

At the New Balance meet on March 8-10, some of the noteworthy individual performances came from two of Germantown Friends School’s top distance runners, seniors Sami Aziz and Lyle Wistar.

Aziz, who will join the burgeoning cross country/track program at Columbia University, placed second in the two-mile race in the Emerging Elite division. He turned in a time of nine minutes, 20.31 seconds, while Wistar placed fourth in the same contest, in 9:26.95.

In the two-mile event in the girls’ Championship division, Tigers senior Eliza Lukens-Day dashed the old GFS school record by almost half-a-minute, finishing 14th in 10:47.92. The school’s old record in the boys’ 60-meter dash also went by the boards thanks to ninth grader Dean Whitaker. He also came in 14th, setting the new GFS standard with a time of 7.48 seconds.

A freshman over at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, sprinter Brooklyn Broadwater, excelled in the 200 and 400 meter events. In her own age group, she placed fourth in the freshman 400 with a mark of 57.93 seconds. Running in the Emerging Elite division for the 200, she produced the best time of any ninth-grader, winning her section in 25.01 seconds to place fifth overall.

Meanwhile, the GFS runners were joining forces to produce some impressive relay results. Lukens-Day anchored a 4 x 1 mile relay that finished fifth overall to earn All-American status. The other members of the quartet (which was timed in 20:57.79) were sophomore Brigit Andersson and freshmen Caitlin Harrity and Sarah Walker.

Walker and Andersson also ran the third and fourth legs in a third-place performance (4:13.84) by the Tigers in the Emerging Elite sprint medley relay. Sophomores Taryn Millbourne and Greta Meyer ran the first and second stages of the race, respectively.

The GFS boys did not achieve quite such a high placing in their version of the SMR, but they did establish a new school record in the event. Coming in 22nd with a time of 3:43.69 were senior Jeremy Wright, Whitaker, senior Jonathan Bailey, and junior James Finney. In the same event, a time of 3:46.21 secured 25th place for a quartet from Springside Chestnut Hill; junior Graham Allen, senior Mac Concannon, junior Pat Feighery, and senior Tom Higgins.