FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield Prep’s Christian Alvarado and Fairfield Warde’s Cate Allen sent loud messages with their wins in mile races Saturday at the Yale Invitational that they intend to be heard from as the indoor track season heads into the most important meets of the season.
Alvarado, a junior, won the fastest boys heat in the mile, running 4:18.79. The time is the 11th fastest in the nation this winter, according to the website MileSplit.com. Allen, also a junior, won the fastest heat in the girls mile in 5:03.98. That’s the 35th best time in the nation this winter.
But more notable was the caliber of competition they defeated. The meet included an elite field with runners from New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.
“It was a little bit surprising, but it’s a big confidence boost,’’ Alvarado said. “The fact that I got a personal record in January and we’re going into the prime time of the season is huge. It gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”
Alvarado set the pace from the outset and won by more than two seconds over T.J. Hornberger of Lake Shore High School in New York. Seven heats of the mile were held, with 110 runners. Alvarado’s time was the fastest among all the heats.
Allen’s win was just as impressive. She posted the best time among four heats and 42 runners. Allen held off Julie Williams of Tatnall High School of Delaware, who ran 5:04:45.
Coach Tim Foster believes Allen’s work during the cross-country season is paying huge dividends now. Allen, a former soccer player, ran cross country for the first time in the fall.
“She looked good and she felt good,’’ Foster said. “The cross-country training gave her a strong base, and we’ve been able to elevate her training.”
Allen ran 5:071.01 in the Rhode Island Classic on Dec. 29. The pace was slow through the first half of the race but picked up over the final 800 meters, Foster said. “Cate was pushed for the last lap and a half,’’ he said. “There were some terrific runners there.”
The Warde school record was set by Meg Ryan and is less than five minutes. Foster hopes Allen can make a run at that this winter. “It’s somewhat uncharted territory,’’ Foster said. “I’ve never seen her in this good of shape. Usually we’re still trying to build some sort of a base. I think breaking five minutes is going to be the first goal.”