Absegami High School graduate Ford Palmer lowered his mile PR from 3:55.60 to 3:54.92 Sunday when he placed fourth in an absolutely loaded field assembled in the Terrier Last Chance Meet at Boston University.
Palmer’s previous indoor PR was 3:56.79 on the same track two years ago. His absolute PR was 3:55.60 set outdoors last spring.
What makes Sunday’s performance so remarkable is that he ran a portion of the race with one of his shoes untied.
Palmer lowered his own South Jersey alumni record and moved into the No. 3 spot in New Jersey history.
More importantly, his time is No. 21 in U.S. indoor history. It’s also No. 8 in the world this year and
Edward Cheserek, a University of Oregon senior from St. Benedict’s High in Newark, won the race in 3:52.01, breaking the collegiate mile record of 3:52.44 set by Sydnee Maree when he placed second to Steve Scott at the 1981 Jumbo Elliott Invitational at Villanova and the collegiate indoor mark of 3:52.88 held by Arizona’s Lawi Lalang.
King Chez led an incredible 11 milers under four minutes, including John Gregorek Jr., whose dad was in the field at Villanova 36 years ago when Maree broke the collegiate record.
Here is what I believe to be a complete list of every sub-3:55 indoor miler in U.S. track history. The USATF, the governing body of U.S. track and field, does not have any all-time performance lists on its web site, and there is no all-time indoor performance list maintained anywhere on-line.
I cobbled the list together from a bunch of old annuals and various web sites. Additions are welcome.
3:49.89 … Bernard Lagat, Fayetteville, Ark., Feb. 11, 2005
3:50.63 … Matt Centrowitz, New York, Feb. 20, 2016
3:50.92 … Galen Rupp, Boston, Jan. 26, 2013
3:51.21 … Lopez Lomong, New York, Feb. 16, 2013
3:51.8h … Steve Scott, San Diego, Feb. 15, 1981
3:52.22 … Kyle Merber, 2017, Boston, Feb. 26, 2017
3:52.40 … Sydnee Maree, East Rutherford, Feb. 10, 1985
3:52.47 … Will Leer, New York, Feb. 15, 2014
3:53.13 … Ben Blankenship, Roxbury, Mass., Feb. 7, 2015
3:53.15 … John Gregorek, 2017, Boston, Feb. 26, 2017
3:53.16 … Robby Andrews, New York, Feb. 20, 2016
3:53.23 … Eric Jenkins, New York, Feb. 11, 2017
3:53.6h … Tom Byers, San Diego, Feb. 19, 1982
3:53.87 … Cory Leslie, New York, Feb. 20, 2016
3:54.08 … Russell Brown, Fayetteville, Ark., Feb. 11, 2012
3:54.21 … Seneca Lassiter, Fayetteville, Ark., Feb. 10, 2001
3:54.36 … Patrick Casey, New York, Feb. 14, 2015
3:54.54 … Miles Batty, New York, Feb. 11, 2012
3:54.59 … Garrett Heath, New York, Jan. 25, 2014
3:54.89 … Ryan Hill, New York, Feb. 16, 2013
3:54.92 … Ford Palmer, Boston, Feb. 26, 2017
Palmer now trails only Olympian Marty Liquori and former Manalapan star Robby Andrews on the all-time New Jersey list. Here are the known PRs of every sub-4 miler who went to high school in New Jersey:
All-Time Sub-4 Milers from New Jersey, with the six South Jersey milers in bold:
3:52.2h Marty Liquori [Cedar Grove], Kingston, Jamaica, May 17, 1975
3:53.16i Robbie Andrews [Manalapan], New York, Feb. 20, 2016
3:54.92i Ford Palmer [Absegami], Boston, Feb. 26, 2017
3:56.75i Steve Slattery [Mount Olive], New York, March 6, 2006
3:56.9h Ron Spiers [Paramus], Philadelphia, April 30, 1977
3:58.14i Rob Novak [Bordentown], Boston, Feb. 11, 2012
3:58.02i Craig Forys [Colts Neck], New York, Feb. 6, 2016
3:58.4h,i Roger Jones [Ramsey], Boston, Feb. 13, 1982
3:58.61i Travis Mahoney [Old Bridge], Boston, Feb. 8, 2014
3:58.62i Jim McKeon [Short Hills], Johnson City, Tenn., Jan. 19, 1985
3:58.62i Brett Johnson [Ocean City], Seattle, Feb. 9, 2013
3:58.78i Tim Gorman [Little Silver], Seattle, Feb. 11, 2017
3:58.98i Rob Napolitano [Brick], Boston, Feb. 12, 2016
3:59.18i Jeramy Elkaim [Livingston], Seattle, Feb. 23, 2013
3:59.21i Chris Hatler [Sparta], New York, Feb, 11, 2017
3:59.2h Cliff Sheehan [Westfield], Philadelphia, April 27, 1985
3:59.35i John Richardson [Ocean City], Lexington, Ky., Feb. 2, 2008
3:59.43i Rich Kenah [Montclair], Fayetteville, Feb. 12, 2000
3:59.6h Jim Crawford [Basking Ridge], Modesto, Calif., May 23, 1970
3:59.85i Mark Sivieri [Buena Vista Twp.], Boston, Jan. 28, 1994
3:59.91i Brian Gallagher [Somerdale], Boston, Feb. 14, 1998
3:59.98i Christian Gonzalez [Franklin Twp.], Boston, Jan. 27, 2012
One last interesting note that only people who have read this far will find interesting: John Gregorek placed third in today’s race in 3:53.15. When Maree ran his collegiate record – the mark that Cheserek broke on Sunday – Gregorek’s dad, also named John, was in the race and placed fifth in 3:57.10.
So both John Gregorek’s were on the track for collegiate record miles 36 years apart!