Henry Is A Wynne-er

As a rule, “06880” does not profile Staples High School athletes.

For one thing, they get plenty of publicity elsewhere.

For another, if I do one, then every mother and father of every athlete in every sport will flood my inbox, screaming demanding requesting I write about his or her son’s or daughter’s remarkably astonishing wonderfulness.

But rules are made to be broken.

Just as Henry  Wynne was made to break records.

Earlier this month, Running Times named Henry — a Staples senior — its national Athlete of the Week. They said:

Wynne’s mother, a runner, had to toss him out of bed as a freshman to join the high school cross country team. Once he took to running, he preferred speed over distance. He’s become remarkably consistent with fast times. He’s a workhorse who often triples in meets….

Comparing Henry to the legendary miler Steve Scott, the story continued: 

Henry Wynne

It’s a little too soon to say whether Wynne, a 17-year-old Staples High senior bound for the University of Virginia, could become another Scott on the American middle-distance landscape. But Wynne appears to be on his way.

His wire-to-wire 4:11.73 victory at (Boston’s) Reggie Lewis Center came less than 48 hours after Wynne had tripled in a meet…. (At) the Fairfield County conference championship, Wynne won the 1000m (2:34.59), 1600m (4:29.99) and 3200m (9:30.54), all in a night’s work to help Staples repeat as team champions.

While Wynne used the occasion as training — 3 tempo runs, said Staples head coach Laddie Lawrence — it was hardly ideal preparation for the biggest race of his life at Boston. Still,…the 6-foot-3 Wynne led from the gun, seeking to avoid congestion in the 11-man field and run a fast time.

Wynne’s 4:11.73 made him the nation’s 2nd-fastest high school miler this season behind Edward Cheserek’s 4:10.94….Wynne, a 12-time state champion in track and cross-country, will likely pick up some more titles as he doubles and triples in his remaining meets before gearing up for indoor nationals next month at the New York Armory.

Wynne expects to run the mile in New York. Both he and his coach feel he could have a 4:06 in him. New Balance was Wynne’s first “solo” mile of the winter (that is, without doubling or tripling), and he was still not totally fresh….

Wynne, 2nd in the national outdoor mile last June in a tactical race, running 4:11.59, has come a long way since his lacrosse days when he agreed to try cross country after his coach told him to stay in shape in the off-season. When cross country started, he stayed in bed, pleading with his mother, “Do I really have to run?”

Henry’s mother Julie, who would soon run the New York City and Hartford marathons, replied with a firm, “Yes!”

After being an uncommitted runner as a freshman, Wynne matured as a sophomore, quit lacrosse and started on his quest to learn all he could about track racing. One thing he found from coach Lawrence was that you could excel on low mileage. Wynne does about 35 miles a week, a touch more in summer. On that program, he won last fall’s state and New England cross country titles.

“My philosophy,” said Lawrence, in his 44th year of coaching, “is not how much you do, but how you do it.”

Henry Wynne leads the pack in an indoor race. (Photo courtesy of MSG Varsity)

This winter, Wynne has spiced up training with interval work on the school’s indoor, 10-lap-to-the-mile track — not a “real” track but a rubberized surface around basketball courts.

On a Sunday, the day after a meet, Wynne will run an easy 4 miles, then, if the weather is decent, grab his clubs for golfing with friends. He had a putter in his hands as a toddler and currently posts scores in the 70s and 80s.

No grueling Sunday long runs like his rivals do? “I like to recover,” said Wynne.

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