More Sub-Four Fun

Kyle Merber, the news-making sophomore from Columbia, is at the center of an emerging mile revolution in the United States. In fact, already this year a record 18 Americans have recorded their first sub-4 mile and, at least here in Indianapolis, we have remnants of snow still on the ground.

Track & Field News has updated its list of U.S. sub-fours and it turns out that Merber became the 343rd American to do it and, from our preliminary research, the 11th 17th such Ivy Leaguer Heps athlete (thanks to Nathan Taylor and Greg Page). Review this list and let me know if you spot others.

Merber’s 3:58.52 on Friday is the fastest first sub-four among Heps runners as a collegian since April 27, 1974, when Denis Fikes of Penn was faster at the Penn Relays! That’s Denis, now known as D. Elton Cochran-Fikes, pictured.

Also, a little praise of Bill Burke’s Heps indoor record which lasted more than 19 years. Burke won the Millrose Games by going sub-four on the small wooden track in Madison Square Garden… without a rabbit. Princeton Coach Fred Samara still calls it “one of the all time great collegiate miles.”

Here is the Ivy sub-four roster as I know it:

68. Denis Fikes (Penn), 3:55.0 [Philadelphia: April 27, 1974]
69. Karl Thornton (Penn^), 3:57.9 [Philadelphia: April 27, 1974]
90. Craig Masback (Princeton^), 3:59.6 [Oxford: June 17, 1978]
133. Adam Dixon (Harvard), 3:59.39 [Luxembourg: July 20, 1983]
139. Cliff Sheehan (Harvard), 3:59.2 [Philadelphia: April 27, 1985]
167. Greg Whiteley (Brown), 3:59.15 [Westwood: June 10, 1989]
173. Bill Burke (Princeton), 3:58.70 i [New York: Feb. 1, 1991]
177. Bill Rathbun (Cornell^), 3:59.94 i [Boston: Feb. 16, 1991]
191. Ronnie Harris (Navy^), 3:58.03 [Eugene: June 5, 1993]
192. Bob Lesko (Yale^), 3:58.23 [Eugene: June 5, 1993]
212. Dan Browne (Army), 3:59.37 i [Annapolis: Feb. 1, 1997]
219. Darin Shearer (Harvard^), 3:59.76 [Falmouth: Aug. 16, 1997]
227. Scott Anderson (Princeton^), 3:59.80 [Brunswick: July 4, 1998]
261. Aaron Lanzel (Navy^), 3:59.88 [Eugene: June 19, 2004]
296. Ben True (Dartmouth), 3:59.99 [Cambridge: June 17, 2007]
315. Liam Boylan-Pett (Columbia^), 3:59.40 i [University Park: Jan. 31, 2009]
343. Kyle Merber (Columbia), 3:58.52 i [New York: March 5, 2010]

^ Indicates that they managed their first sub-four after college. The ‘i’ following the time indicates that the debut sub-four was achieved indoors.

7 Responses to “More Sub-Four Fun”

  1. Greg Page says:

    Craig Masback? He only ran 3:52…

  2. Mary Boggs says:

    The link to the sub-4 min pdf is messed up. You might want to take a look at that…

  3. Brett says:

    Oops… try it now.

  4. Nathan Taylor says:

    Hey Hoovs,

    How about Bob Lasko – Yale, Ronnie Harris – Navy, Scott ANderson – Princeton, Dan Browne – Army.

    Would Clay Schwabe – Army 2001 and or Aaron Lanzel – Navy 2004 also qualify? I think they both ran at the HEPS early on before thier schools were for different reasons unceremoniously removed from the HEPS.

    • Brett says:

      Okay, Nathan… You have sent me back to the drawing board. 🙂

      Seriously, thank you. I want to make the list complete. The only one I am having trouble with is Schwabe, whose school removed itself from the League long before he competed. Lanzel did compete at Heps and I will verify Browne, although you certainly would know that.

  5. jw says:

    didn’t Thornton break 4 while he was at Penn?

    • Brett says:

      Well. The Track & Field News lists him as breaking it in 1974 while running for Penn. The problem is that he would have already graduated by then. Princeton coach Fred Samara, a teammate of Thornton, thinks he was running for the Penn Athletic Club and the Penn Relays mile race is open to both collegians and elite open runners.