Speedster Gray goes extra mile
John Vellante, Globe Staff, 1/22/2001
Nike International coach Bob Rothenberg “threw” Trinity Gray into the mile just to see where his strength was.
He liked what he saw.
Gray, the Brown University runner who had the two best American times in the 800 meters last year, turned it on down the stretch to win the mile in the 20th edition of the Greater Boston Track Club Invitational yesterday at Harvard’s Gordon Track.
Although he was never out of the lead by more than a stride or two, and Rothenberg was “absolutely delighted” with his effort, he made it clear that Gray was an 800-meter type and that’s what he’ll concentrate on the rest of the indoor season.
“He had the two fastest American times [1:43.91 and 1:45.10] last year, but they both came in Europe,” said Rothenberg. “They both came right after he finished sixth in the Olympic Trials. This was a test of his strength and to see where he was at this point of the season.
“We’re training for this summer and we have six or seven different phases of training during the year,” said Rothenberg. “Over the next few months, there will be a lot of strength work, mileage, hills, the medicine ball, all that stuff. Right now, Trinity is strong, but not very quick, so we wanted to start him off this season with the mile.”
Coming up are meets in New York, Boston, Arkansas, Idaho, and the nationals in Atlanta and Rothenberg says he’ll enter Gray in the 800 in each of them.
Yesterday, Gray and Reebok International’s Jeff Paterno dueled stride for stride for the first three laps before Gray took the lead on the far turn of the fourth lap. He held it for two laps, but fell behind to Paterno’s teammate, Mike Maceiko. Then on the gun lap, Gray pulled ahead for good and coasted home.
Gray was clocked in 4:14.34, ahead of Maceiko (4:14.41) and Paterno (4:14.79).
While Rothenberg was pleased with Gray’s efforts, Gray wasn’t particularly impressed.
“I had hoped it would be a faster pace the first 800 meters.” he said. “No matter what, I knew I was going to lead the race or stay close and then try to run fast at the end. We did what we came to do.”
Gray said it was disappointing to have the two best US times last season and not earn a ticket to Sydney.
“I had anemia last summer and that took a lot out of me,” he said. “It wasn’t from a lack of training or a lack of talent. I guess I didn’t take care of my nutrition. Between graduating, moving my stuff from one place to another three times, traveling, it all took its toll.”
Anna Norgren, representing the Sohe Track & Field Club of Norwalk, Conn., set the meet’s only record when she heaved the 20-pound weight 68 feet 1 inch. That bettered the mark of 67-6 she set last year … Meet director Jim O’Brien reported that there were 650 competitors pre-registered and only a handful were scared off by the weather … Amy Lyman of the Boston Athletic Association fell while running the mile and withdrew. She then dusted herself off, entered the 800, and won in 2:13.56 … Women’s mile winner Shannon Smith of Boston College had an NCAA-qualifying time of 4:41.98.