strong enough for the mile last year," he says. "Now I feel very
strong. I feel I have more in me." Of his Millrose strategy, he says,
"I'd sort of like to get into the lead or settle right behind Stahr. I'll
push him; it'll be close. I'm ready for this. It should be pretty fast, between
me and him." He thinks the pace might be 60, 2:01, 3:02 and a sprint to the
On a Tuesday in
mid-November, the afternoon of a handicap 800-meter time trial, the better
runners playing catch-up, the temperature is a brisk 40° and a buoyancy stirs
the boys' and girls' teams as they warm up. Carlotti bounces from foot to foot
behind the starting line while his teammates take off in staggered groups as
much as 10 seconds ahead of him. Then he is away, in racing flats, gaining on
the others with every long, powerful stride. "See how he glides," says
Mather. "He pushes off." "Run tall, Carlo!" shouts Assistant
Coach Mark Wetmore across the track. Wetmore, a volunteer, worked with John
over the summer to prepare him for the Fifth Avenue Mile. Carlotti is smoothly
through the 400 in just under 56 seconds and at the finish has caught all but
one of seven runners, with a 1:53 flat. Mather had thought he would do 1:57. It
is, as coaches say, awesome, especially in mid-autumn, off no speed training—an
augury of things to come. The coaches try to suppress their excitement, but
even Dellinger soon hears about this performance.
it," says Mather, quietly euphoric. "When you got it, you got it. It's
beautiful. It's a God-given gift. With God's blessing, he'll run under four
minutes. And with Stahr, it'll be great for Americans."
Are the heirs to
Ryun and Liquori already here? Will they both run for Oregon? How much better
will they get? Their second confrontation will be at the Millrose. And there
will be more to come in the spring at the big high school meets and in open
competition. Of course, if they concentrate too much on each other in the
Millrose, perhaps a dark horse like Brian Jaeger, a 4:09.1 miler from Winter
Park, Fla., might just sneak by.
Byrne says it's the best field in the 10-year history of the schoolboy event.
It's scheduled to go off just before the national anthem and the premier
Wanamaker Mile. Chuckling, Byrne says, "I threatened to tell Howard
[Schmertz, the meet director] that we'll announce: 'The next race is the mile
run. It's being run in two sections, the winner to be decided on time.'