Scott pulls away to win 4-mile run

Weber defends women’s title; Lorenz, Miller are tops in 3-mile walk.

Kokomo Tribune - Sunday, July 04, 2010

Tribune sportswriter

The top of the Haynes Apperson Festival 4-Mile Run has turned into a romp for the cream of the crop of county high-school alums.

Following a five-year stretch with five different winners, Western High School product Kyle Walsh won the first of three straight men’s titles in 2005.

Then in 2008 and 2009, Kokomo High School grad Bryan Phillips captured back-to-back victories in the annual run that ends at Kautz Field.

Walsh is the Panthers’ school record-holder in the 1,600-meter run and Phillips owns the fourth-fastest 1,600 ever for the Wildkats. Both made trips to the IHSAA state finals as seniors in 2004.

Saturday the torch was passed to another Western man, 2009 graduate Corey Scott, who grabbed first place away from Phillips with a time of 21 minutes, 15 seconds.

“I was just going to have some fun but my dad made me race it,” Scott said with a smile. “I was just trying to straight up run 5:20s or so and I think I was pretty close to that.”

Both Scott and Phillips turned the halfway point shoulder-to-shoulder until Scott broke free near the finish.

Phillips was second in 21:44 and Blake Mills was third in 21:59

“He’s a good competitor,” Phillips said of Scott, who placed fifth in the state in the 3,200 his senior year. “It was a good race but I knew I was in trouble when the race started. He ran well.”

Phillips said there’s always someone else in the pipeline ready to assume the crown.

“That’s how it goes,” said Phillips. “No big deal.”

Scott spent the last year running for Purdue University — that is, as much as injuries would allow.

“I started off the year strong and then the same old, same old — injury after injury, so [the coaches] decided to pretty much red-shirt me a year,” said Scott. “I feel really good now though. I feel like I’ve got a good base for once, something I’ve never had before.

“It took me a while but I think I’ve got it. I love it [at Purdue] and love all the guys on the team — just a bunch of hard-workers.”

Heather Weber had little trouble defending her women’s title in 24:11, nearly two minutes faster than her winning time in 2009.

It helps to only be running for one.

“It was a good run,” said Weber, who was four months pregnant with her fourth child last year. “I felt better than I have in a while. I’ve lost a little of the weight and that helps too.”

Weber had two of her girls in tow Saturday.

“It’s a good family event,” she said. “That’s what we like about the whole running community. Everybody cheers for one another and everybody brings their family so the kids get to see the fitness and taking care of yourself.”

Eastern High School sophomores Bethany Neeley and Brittany Neeley earned second- and third-place finishes in 26:49, as they did a year ago.

A new generation may have taken over the 3-Mile Walk as well as 25-year-old Vince Lorenz became the first winner under the age of 50 in at least a decade.

Lorenz topped the field of 74 walkers in 26 minutes, 49 seconds, the fastest time in the event since his mentor Jerry Lambert turned in a 26:45 in 2002.

“I train a lot, put a lot of time and effort into it and it’s good to see results,” said Lorenz, who was third a year ago.

“Jerry Lambert got me started, so I’ve definitely got one of the best [to teach me]. It keeps [the older walkers I train with] young. We all train a lot up at Highland Park and put in a lot of time.”

Lambert, the 73-year-young godfather of the sport locally, has won six of the last 10 Haynes Apperson races. He was fifth Saturday.

“I can’t do it so I’m teaching him,” said Lambert. “This was his best race [so far]. He’s doing a super job.”

Lambert explained how Lorenz, who towers over most of his competition, had to learn that his height wasn’t the advantage one might think it would be.

“If you go long strides, you wear yourself out too much,” Lambert said. “I made him shorten [his stride] up and do a faster turnover and he can tell the difference.”

“If you can get a short stride where you’re comfortable and turn it over faster, you’ll go lickity split and that’s what he’s doing. He keeps getting faster and faster every race.”

Mary Miller continued her dominance. She was second overall in 30:38 and captured her sixth straight women’s walk race crown, her seventh in eight years.

Corey Scott finishes first in the Haynes-Apperson Sports Festival 4-mile run Saturday. Scott covered the downtown course in 21:15. KT photo