Dr.J. on Running


BIG EAST Indoors


Published February 11, 2002 in The Syracuse Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

Will Dan Wilson become the first man to run a sub-four-minute mile inside the Carrier Dome at Syracuse University? Wilson, a senior at the University of Connecticut, shattered a 26-year old school record by running a 4:01.94 mile at the Terrier Classic in Boston on February 26. He will travel to Syracuse next weekend as the top seed in the mile at the BIG EAST Indoor Track and Field Championships.

These championships return to the Dome for the twenty-third year on February 16-17. Connecticut captured the first men's crown in 1980, while Villanova won the first women's title in 1983. Georgetown has won the most men's championships with 11, winning seven of the past eight years. Villanova has captured 11 women's titles, including the first six from 1983-1988.

At last year's championship in the Dome, Georgetown claimed both men's and women's team titles by wide margins. It was the men's fourth consecutive title and the women's fifth overall title. Georgetown also won the honors of coaching staff of the year for both men and women.

Since the Carrier Dome has been the only venue for the BIG EAST Indoor championships, it follows that the BIG EAST championship record in the mile is slower than four minutes. Indeed, Georgetown's Steve Holman set the record of 4:00.57 in 1992.

The Dome also hosted the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships in 1984 and 1985. Unfortunately, the 1,500-meter race was contested instead of the mile at those two championships, denying Syracusans a chance to witness a sub-four-minute mile.

Villanova's Ryan Hayden is the second-seed for next weekend's mile with a time of 4:05.14. A tactical race between Hayden and Wilson may deny the spectators a sub-four opportunity. However, in a strategic race, Hayden may carry Wilson most of the way to a sub-four performance.

Besides the expected excitement in the mile, the men's 800-meters promises a record performance. Wilson's teammate Elliott Blount ran 1:48.66 last week, a second faster than the 13-year-old championship record. In the 3,000 meters, three men have already run faster than the meet record of 8:01.56.

On the women's side, both the mile and the 3,000 meters feature four runners separated by less than 3 seconds. However, none of the distance records seem in any danger of falling. This includes the 5,000-meter record, set by former Liverpool High School and Villanova University stand-out Jenn Rhines, whose 1994 victory in 16:02.67 remains an all-time favorite BIG EAST moment.

So, if television coverage of the winter Olympics turns you off, join us at the Carrier Dome for pure athletic competition, and cheer on the men and women who may become future up-and-close-and-personal profiles.

© 2002 The Post-Standard.

Kamal Jabbour runs and writes on the hills of Pompey, New York. His RUNNING Column appears in The Syracuse Post-Standard on Mondays. Dr.J. created TrackMeets.com, webcasting live Every Lap of Every Race. He receives email at jabbour@i2sports.com.