Nikki Hiltz, Sam Prakel both become two-time winners at Usaft 1 mile road

The USATF Indoor 1,500-meter winners demonstrated they could also rule the roads Tuesday night at the USATF 1 Mile Championships.

Nearly 10 weeks after both winning USATF Indoor titles Feb. 18 in Albuquerque, N.M., adidas professional Sam Prakel and Lululemon athlete Nikki Hiltz each secured their second career national road championships as part of the annual Grand Blue Mile event.

Hiltz produced the fastest performance in the history of the women’s race, which began in 2009, clocking 4 minutes, 27.97 seconds to edge reigning USATF Outdoor 1,500 champion Sinclaire Johnson of Nike’s Union Athletics Club in 4:28.70.

Hiltz, who prevailed in 2019 in Des Moines in 4:29.7, became the only athlete in event history to produce a pair of sub-4:30 efforts, benefitting from a 65-second opening quarter-mile and the pack reaching the midway point in 2:14.

Emily Lipari, who had the previous all-time mark of 4:29.3 in 2020, and Johnson are the only other competitors to achieve a sub-4:30 performance in the race.

Hiltz, who ran a lifetime-best 1:59.03 in the 800 meters April 14 at the Bryan Clay Invitational at Azusa Pacific University, earned $5,000 for the victory and an additional $2,500 for the record bonus. Hiltz also joined Heather Kampf and Emily Lipari as the only three competitors to capture multiple women’s championships in event history.

Addy Wiley, a freshman at Huntington University in Indiana who secured five NAIA Indoor national titles March 2-4 in South Dakota, raced for the first time since that memorable showcase and took third in 4:30.94.

Wiley, 19, became the youngest top-three finisher in event history and achieved the No. 6 all-time performance in the nine years the competition has been held in Des Moines.

Wiley, who placed fourth in the 1,500 at the USATF Indoor Championships in February in Albuquerque, elevated to No. 7 in the history of the national road mile competition, including Sara Hall clocking 4:30.8 in Minnesota to secure the 2011 crown.

Colleen Quigley, representing Lululemon, finished fourth in 4:31.1 in her debut at the event, with Nike’s Shannon Osika and Alex Teubel also being credited with 4:31 performances to secure fifth and sixth.

Alli Cash (4:32), Jenn Randall (4:33), Micaela DeGenero (4:34) and Helen Schlachtenhaufen (4:37) completed the top 10 women’s competitors in the 23-athlete race.

Prakel prevailed in 4:01.21, remaining patient following an opening quarter mile of 61 seconds and a 2:05 split at the midway point, to take control in the final 500 meters and never relinquish his advantage.

Under Armour Mission Run Baltimore Distance athlete Casey Comber edged last year’s champion Vincent Ciattei by a 4:02.88 to 4:02.91 margin to grab second.

Prakel, who ran 13;22.78 in the 5,000 meters April 14 at Bryan Clay, also secured a $5,000 prize for the road mile title, becoming only the third male athlete in event history to capture multiple championships, joining David Torrence (2009-11) and Garrett Heath (2013 and 2015).

Prakel produced the fastest all-time mark in Des Moines with his 3:58.3 effort in 2020. Ben Blankenship holds the meet record with his title in 3:55.8 in 2016 in Minnesota.

Nick Randazzo, Kasey Knevelbaard and Jake Gillum were all credited with 4:04 performances to finish fourth, fifth and sixth, followed by Shane Streich and David Ribich both clocking 4:05 for seventh and eighth, Craig Nowak earning ninth in 4:06 and Colin Abert taking 10th in 4:08 in the 17-athlete race.

posted Thursday April 27th