Montoya fourth at Dream Mile
It wasn't exactly the results Bernie Montoya was looking for.
He didn't repeat as the Dream Mile champion. He didn't break a time of 4 minutes.
But the recently graduated Cibola runner said he was taking a positive view of his trip to New York City, which resulted in him taking fourth in 4:05.65 in wet, cold and windy conditions Saturday.
“Would I have loved to have won the Dream Mile again and go under 4? Absolutely,” said Montoya, who is attending Arizona State in the fall. “That was the goal and stuff. But I have to look at the positives. I won the Dream Mile before. It's a hard race to win. To do it back-to-back was really tough. ... Considering the conditions, the competition, and what happened throughout the race, it was a positive experience.”
His coach, Cibola cross country coach Kris Norton, did say it was disappointing not repeating as champion, but on the whole he was pleased with how Montoya did.
“To run a 4:05 mile, roughly a 4:03 1,600, you can't argue that's still a pretty fast race,” Norton said. “Obviously the returning champion has one expectation, that's to win, and anything other than that is going to be disappointing. Sure we're walking away a little disappointed. ... It was a strong performance, definitely not what we were looking for, but we have to be pleased. We were fourth in the nation and you have to keep that in perspective.”
Ben Saarel, a senior from Park City, Utah, who signed a letter of intent with ASU's Pac-12 rival Colorado, won the race in 4:02.72. Henry Wynne, a soon-to-graduate senior from Westport, Conn., was second in 4:05.04 and Edward Cheserek, from New Jersey and heading to Oregon to compete for the Ducks, took third in 4:05.36.
Montoya finished last year in 4:01.32 to win it. The only runner ahead of Montoya this year that competed in 2012 was Cheserek, who was 12th in 4:07.29.
Montoya said the competition is like nothing he's seen since competing in the race last year.
“When you're going to local competition, you tend to run away from the pack so easily,” Montoya said. “When you're here at the Dream Mile, it's like, OK, you're all running hard and you're all running together. It comes down to a strength factor. Can you hold on to the guys and can you pull away from the guys? But it's tough, and it's what makes it a great and exciting race.”
Heading into the race, Montoya was shooting to run faster than 4 minutes. But with a high of 57 degrees and a strong wind, couple with wet track conditions, that became impossible.
“When the gun went off, I kind of went with what my body was feeling,” Montoya said. “It was fast and relaxed. I noticed with the first 200 we were off-pace. It as like, OK, I don't know if the sub-4 is going to be possible right now. I just started running for the win and building my way up, but with about 200-300 to go I moved up well.”
Montoya will compete again Friday in the Prefontaine Classic International Mile in Eugene, Ore. As for Saturday's race, Montoya said the weather, while tricky, was not the reason he didn't win.
“Everyone had to run in it,” Montoya said. “I did what I could. (A time of) 4:05 in those conditions today, I think that was pretty solid. But it was pretty tough.”