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Stanford recruits finish up at the nationals

 

It has been a busy end of the school year for twin brothers Joe and Jim Rosa from West Windsor-Plainsboro North High in New Jersey, perhaps worth re-telling when the two arrive at Stanford University in the fall to begin their freshmen year.

The twins, who'll be competing this weekend at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, N.C., hope they'll be allowed to finish the two mile and distance medley relay. That's something that didn't happen at the last week's New Jersey state meet.

Joe Rosa, one of the top high school distance runners in the country, appeared to be on his way to breaking the New Jersey state record in the 3,200-meter run with a time worthy of being on the all-time national list when he was literally forced off the track by meet officials with one lap to go due to weather concerns, reported Tom Bergeron of Rise/ESPN.com.

When lightning was detected in the area, officials with the New Jersey Interscholastic State Athletic Association halted the eight-lap race as Joe Rosa was preparing for his final lap. Jim Rosa was running second at the time.

Despite what was at stake and the fact the race was nearly completed, officials waved all the runners off the track while spectators exited the stadium and its aluminum bleachers due to national federation safety rules.

The race was one of the premier events of the state's Meet of Champions, which pits the top performers from the state's six group championships.

Joe Rosa was ahead of the pace that led him to a state-record time of 8:44.06, which he set when he won the New Balance national two-mile event last year.

The national high school record of 8:34.23, set by German Fernandez (Riverbank, Calif.) was considered one of the few untouchable prep marks. That record, however, fell a few weeks ago to Lukas Verzbicas, who ran an 8:29.46 for two miles. That converts to an 8:26.51 for 3,200 meters.

Thus, only three runners have ever broken 8:42.00 while a few others have run faster than 8:45.00. Joe Rosa was on pace to become No. 3 all-time in history had he run a 64-second final lap.

The halted race was rescheduled for this past Monday, but neither brother competed. Both had run on Saturday in New York at the adidas Grand Prix on Randall's Island in the Jim Ryun Dream Mile. Joe Rosa finished eighth in 4:07.66 while Jim was 13th in 4:11.11.

Fellow Stanford recruit Matt Carpowich of Torrey Pines High in Southern California was sixth in 4:07.42. Carpowich also was fourth in the 1,600 (4:07.21) at the CIF State Meet in Clovis earlier this month.

The Rosa twins will give the national two-mile record another go at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals this week. They'll also run on Plainsboro's distance medley relay.

Also competing will be Chris Waschura of Portola Valley, a senior-to-be at Woodside High. Dalton Duvio, a 16-4 pole vaulter and Stanford recruit from John Curtis Christian School in River Ridge, La., also will compete.

Stanford recruit Mary Kate Anselmini of Ward Melville High in Setauket, N.Y., will run the girls' 2,000 steeplechase, where she is the national leader at 6:33.01, and fellow Cardinal recruit Aisling Cuffe of Cornwall Central (New Windsor, N.Y.), is entered in the two mile, where she leads the U.S. in a remarkable 9:56.85 from the indoor season that was a New York state record and No. 4 all-time in the nation.

The Stanford women's two-mile record, by the way, is 10:01.89.

Cuffe was the 2010 Gatorade National Girls' Cross Country Runner of the Year after winning the Footlocker National Cross Country Championships by 34 seconds. She is regarded as the premier prep female distance runner in the nation.

— Keith Peters

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