by Tom Utescher
On the weekend of June 13-15, Germantown Friends Freshman Nick Dahl established himself as one of the top ninth-grade distance runners in the U.S. At the Outdoor New Balance Nationals in Greensboro, N.C., The Tigers standout won the freshman two-mile run in a meet-record time, then turned around and placed second in the freshman mile.
Over the winter, Dahl placed third in the freshman mile at the Indoor New Balance Nationals, and he wrapped up his scholastic outdoor season by winning the 1600 meter run at the Friends Schools League championships.
At the recent elite gathering in North Carolina, Dahl led the two-mile race from start to finish, crossing the line in nine minutes, 19.07 seconds and smashing the existing meet record of 9:36.81 that was set in 2012.
Already on the first lap, Dahl and Noah Carey of Guilderland (N.Y) High School separated from the rest of the field, and they continued to increase the gap. Carey stayed on Dahl’s shoulder until the back straight of the final lap, then Dahl drew away to win by six seconds. Carey was runner-up in 9:25.51.
That race took place on Friday evening, June 13, and the next afternoon Dahl collected a silver medal in the freshman mile. Eric Coston, of Covington, La., won in 4:21.55, while Dahl claimed the second spot by outdueling his New York rival, Carey, 4:25.03 to 4:26.39.
In the heat of the day on Sunday, GFS girls middle distance star Sarah Walker did not have one of her best races in the 800 meters. The sophomore was sitting in third after the first of the two laps, and ended up placing ninth in 2:09.12. The race was won in 2:04.88 by Raevyn Rogers of Houston, Tx., a senior who has signed with the University of Oregon.
Walker’s performance at the John Hay Distance Festival on May 31 remains her best of the year. Her time of 2:06.62 is the fastest 800 for any Pennsylvania runner in 2014, and at the time it positioned her third in the nation among high school runners overall. GFS coach Rob Hewitt also learned that the figure she produced last month has her ranked third in the world among 16 and 17-year-olds by the International Association of Athletics Federations.