I can’t post a story every time Henry Wynne does something remarkable.
Well, I could, but there wouldn’t be room for any other stories on “06880.”
However, the 2013 Staples High graduate — the greatest male runner in school history, who set a state scholastic record in the mile (4:05.04), starred at the University of Virginia, and now runs professionally for Brooks Beasts — has done something beyond remarkable.
A few days ago at a Boston University invitational, Wynne flew to a 3:51.26 mile.
His personal best was good only for 4th. But he shouldn’t feel bad. The race produced a new world indoor record: Yomif Kejelcha’s 3:47.01.
The first 4 finishers all achieved world championship and Olympic qualifying standards.
Wynne is now the 7th fastest US indoor miler ever — and the 15th fastest indoor miler in world history.
On Friday, “06880” previewed Henry Wynne’s attempt to break the world 4×1 mile relay. The former Staples High School and University of Virginia track star now runs for the professional Brooks Beast track club.
The race was yesterday, in New York. Many Westporters were on hand to watch Wynne and his teammates not only beat, but absolutely demolish, the world mark. Peter Gambaccini — also a former Wrecker runner, now a noted track journalist — reports:
Westporter Henry Wynne and 3 Brooks Beast track club teammates traveled 3,000 miles and fulfilled their mission by shattering the world record for the 4×1 mile relay by almost 9 seconds on Saturday, clocking a 16:03.68 at the Dr. Norbert Sander Invitational at the Armory Track & Field Center in New York. The quartet broke the old record of 16:12.81 set 2 years ago by the Hoka One One NJ/NY Track Club.
“Winning this race and not getting the record wouldn’t have meant nearly as much,” said Wynne, who established a Connecticut high school mark of 4:05.04 for the mile while at Staples, and has since gotten down to 3:55.23 as a pro with the Seattle-based Brooks team. Wynne ran a 4:02 for the second leg of the relay and gave the Beasts a slight lead in what remained a tight race with the Hoka foursome, before anchorman Izaic Yorks pulled away to give his team a victory by more than 12 seconds.
An extremely animated Wynne bounced up and down on the track, shouting and gesticulating with his arms as he exhorted his last two teammates through the efforts that gave Brooks the triumph and a world best time. At the end, there were plenty of hugs. Brooks Beast coach Danny Mackey’s observation that “Henry’s a team guy” seemed like an understatement.
Henry Wynne and his father, after the race. (Photo/Jeff Mitchel)
“This is just a starting point for what we want to accomplish,” said Wynne. Indeed, he and his 3 relay partners have all broken 4:00 for the mile, and Mackey had declared before the race that the foursome might go under 16:00. With the confidence Saturday’s race brings, that could well be achieved if the team returns to the Armory in 2020.
Wynne, who had a sizable and demonstrative personal cheering section on Saturday, attended the University of Virginia after his Staples years and was the NCAA Indoor mile champion in 2016. In his senior year, his athletic life was undone by a bout of pneumonia and knee surgery.
Mackey couldn’t really know what Wynne’s post-surgery prognosis would be, but was drawn to his personality and believed he’d be “a good fit” for the Brooks Beasts. “He gets the details. Right away, he bought into everyone on the team.”
In 2018, Wynne set career bests for 800 and 5000 meters and the mile. “I owe him a debt of gratitude,” he said of Mackey. “He believed in me when a lot of others didn’t.”
Healthy and again making progress, Henry Wynne can continue paying that debt with his next race: an individual mile at the University of Washington in Seattle in 2 weeks.
The 2013 Staples High graduate — the greatest male runner in school history, who set a state scholastic record in the mile (4:05.04), then starred at the University of Virginia, and has since roared to a personal best 3:55.23 — aims for a world record tomorrow.
Wynne is now based in Seattle. He runs professionally for Brooks Beasts. He and 3 teammates will compete in the Dr. Norbert Sander Invitational at the New York Armory. Their goal: beating the 16:12.81 time for the 4 x 1 mile relay.
Henry Wynne (Photo/Paul Merca)
That record was set 2 years ago by the Hoka One One NJ/NY Track Club. They’ll run at the Armory too.
All 4 of the Beasts have sub-4 minute mile times.
Tomorrow’s race begins at 1:46 p.m. It will be televised on NBC Gold.
Henry Wynne and Hannah DeBalsi — quite possibly the 2 best runners in Staples history — have done it again.
Yesterday, Wynne — a 2013 Staples grad — won the NCAA Division I national indoor mile championship. The University of Virginia junior held off a challenger at the end of the very tactical race, finishing in 4:06.63 at Birmingham, Alabama.
Cavalier distance coach Pete Watson said. “Nine months ago, he left Oregon after his first trip to the NCAA Championships and committed himself to being great. He matured (and) became focused….We mapped out the race plan this morning and Henry followed it perfectly.”
His championship race was several seconds off his best time — a sub-4:00 mile — but the winner’s medal hanging around his neck says it all.
Meanwhile, Hannah DeBalsi shattered Connecticut’s 5,000-meter record, with a 16:32.26 race at the New Balance Indoor National Championship at the New York Armory.
Staples’ Stanford-bound senior finished 4th overall. The winner set a new US record.
Hannah DeBalsi, waaaayy out in front in a race earlier this season. (Photo/Ed Martin)
And what did you do this weekend?
To read more on Wynne’s race from Cavalier Insider, click here. For details on LetsRun.com, click here. Click here for DeBalsi’s post-race interview. For a YouTube interview with Wynne, click below:
This weekend, the national track spotlight shined on Westport.
Yesterday, Hannah DeBalsi became the 1st athlete — male or female — ever to win 4 New England indoor track championships. The Stanford-bound Staples High School senior blazed to a 10:29.46 time in the 2-mile run.
In 2013, as a freshman at the same venue — the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston — DeBalsi watched Henry Wynne win the New England 1000-meter run for Staples.
This year — the day before — Wynne ran a 4:01.15 mile for the University of Virginia, at the Atlantic Coast Conference championship. He added more points by helping the Cavaliers win the distance medley (his 1600 split was a blazing 3:56.37), and placing 2nd at 3000 meters.
The Reggie Lewis Center is a favorite place for both DeBalsi and Wynne. In January, that’s where he ran a sub-4-minute mile.
(Click here, then scroll down for alert “06880” reader Jeff Mitchell’s video interview with Wynne, after Saturday’s race. The 2013 Staples grad gives shout-outs to Staples track coaches Laddie Lawrence and Malcolm Watson.)
Even more remarkable: He was tripped, and had to hurdle another racer en route to his mark.
On hand for the performance — the 2nd-fastest in UVa history — were Wynne’s father Craig, sister Grace (a Staples junior), former Staples runners Luis Cruz and Erica Hefnawy, and former Staples track coach Malcolm Watson.
One of the first people Henry called after the race? Longtime Staples track legend Laddie Lawrence.
Bonus fun fact: The very 1st Connecticut runner to run a sub-4-minute mile was another Staples grad: Steve Wheeler. He ran a 3:59.4 in 1974 for Duke University — an ACC rival of Virginia.
Today, Staples’ phenomenal senior Henry Wynne won the mile, in 4:07.84.
Yesterday, Wynne anchored the 4 x 800 relay team to 3rd in the nation. He and Peter Elkind, Patrick Nolan and Walker Marsh roared to a school record 7:42.11. Wynne’s split was a crazy-fast 1:48.93.
Henry Wynne, earlier this year in an indoor race. (Photo courtesy of MSG Varsity)
Staples’ equally phenomenal freshman Hannah DeBalsi finished 3rd in yesterday’s 2-mile. Her 10:16.20 sets a national 9th grade record.
Today DeBalsi anchored the distance medley relay team — including Erica Hefnawy, Emily Troelstra and Tyler Scanlin — to a bronze medal (and state record): 11:53.61. DeBalsi’s mile split was an amazing 4:48.
Hannah DeBalsi, in a meet earlier this spring. (Photo/Bob Luckey)
Wynne, DeBalsi and both relay teams earned All-American status. Congratulations to Staples’ fantastic runners, and their coaches Laddie Lawrence and Jesse McCray.
As if that wasn’t enough, Noah Arthurs just set the North American record for solving 16 Rubik’s cubes successfully — while blindfolded!
(Click here if your browser does not link directly to YouTube.)
Henry Wynne’s legendary late-race kick propelled him all the way to 2nd place — and a Connecticut high school mile record — in Saturday’s Adidas Dream Mile, at Randall’s Island in New York City.
Cheered on by more than 2 dozen Staples track teammates, the University of Virginia-bound senior roared to a 4:05.04 finish. The race winner, Ben Saarel — who trains at altitude in his native Utah — also ran a personal best (4:02.72).
Henry edged Kenya’s noted Edward Cheserek by .32 seconds.
Hot on the heels of Friday’s come-from-behind, best-in-the-nation distance medley relay by Staples’ boys indoor track team, Henry Wynne has done it again.
Yesterday, the University of Virginia-bound senior won the mile at the New Balance National Championships, held in the New York Armory. His time was 4:08.15.
Henry is now the Connecticut high school record-holder in 4 events: 1000 meters, mile, sprint medley relay and distance medley relay. As a mile is 1609 meters, and Henry’s mile time is 5 seconds under the state record for the 1600, he technically holds the 1600 record too.
Henry is the first Staples athlete — and likely first in the history of Connecticut — to be undefeated as an individual in both cross country and indoor track. He ends his Staples indoor track career with 9 school records.
(Click here if your broswer does not link to YouTube.)
But wait! There’s more!
Hannah DeBalsi — who set a school record (10:39.43) in the 2-mile at the recent New England championships — finished 10th in that event at the New Balance Nationals.
She should do better next year. And the year after. And the year after that.
Hannah is only a freshman.
(Click here if your browser does not link to YouTube.)
Staples High School — home to best-in-the-US science researchers, writing contest winners and others — has 4 new national champs.
The track team’s distance medley relay team left everyone else in the dust, at yesterday’s New Balance Indoor National Championship at the New York City Armory. In the process, they blazed to a Connecticut state record.
National champs (from left): Henry Wynne, Walker Marsh, Jack Scott and Peter Elkind.
Peter Elkind led off, racing 1200 meters in 3:11.3. Jack Scott took the baton, and blasted through 400 meters in 52.4. Both are juniors.
Senior Walker Marsh covered his 800 meter leg in a swift 1:56.4. Then University of Virginia-bound Henry Wynne — who earlier this year ran the fastest 1000 in the country — roared through 1600 meters in 4:06.9.
The relay team’s state-record 10:07.01 was a full 2.58 seconds faster than the runners-up, a squad from Quebec.
Congratulations to all the Staples foursome, and coaches Laddie Lawrence and Malcolm Watson.
Of course, this would not be a complete “06880” story without a fun factoid. So: lead runner Peter Elkind is the grandson of 2 Westporters who made their marks in an area far removed from the track. Perhaps you’ve heard of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward?
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