BOSTON (15-Apr) -- It continued to be a great day here for the Michigan-based Very Nice Track Club coached by Ron Warhurst. After Morgan Beadlescomb's win in the B.A.A. 5-K earlier this morning, his Very Nice clubmate Hobbs Kessler (adidas) won a slow and tactical race at the B.A.A. Invitational Mile to kick off his 2023 outdoor season. Kessler, who is just 20, got on the inside of Casey Comber (Under Armour) on the penultimate turn of the three-lap course and scooted to victory in 4:08.0.
PHOTO: Hobbs Kessler wins the 2023 B.A.A. Invitational Mile in 4:08.0 (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)
"I talked to my coach and my training partners and they basically said like, everyone who's won this race in the last ten years was the first person... going into the second to last corner, wins every time," Kessler told reporters. "Nick (Willis) said that, Eric (Avila) said that, Mason (Ferlic) said that, Ronnie (Warhurst) said that."
Indeed, Kessler got the jump on Comber on the turn from Newbury to Exeter Streets, and by the time he made the final left turn to the short homestretch on Boylston Street he had a good five meters on Comber who finished second in 4:08.3.
"I've been kind of afraid to make those kind of moves in the past," Kessler said. He continued: "It's a huge relief. I've been kind of tired in training with heavy legs."
Comber left the field of play with mixed feelings. He said he really executed his race well, but just couldn't cover Kessler's move.
"I did what I wanted to do because I knew the turns were tight," Comber told Race Results Weekly. "I just didn't quite take the second turn tight enough, and he just got inside, gave me a nice little shoulder. Just a good race move by him."
Third place went to defending champion Johnny Gregorek (Asics) who attends law school here in Boston. Gregorek was timed in 4:09.2.
In the women's race a power move by the former University of Arkansas star Krissy Gear (HOKA Northern Arizona Elite) yielded the first victory of her pro career. Gear, 23, who is coached by two-time Olympian Alan Culpepper, blasted around the penultimate turn from Newbury to Exeter to gain the lead, then emerged on Boylston Street with the race already well in hand. Taking no chances, she pushed all the way to the line and broke the tape in 4:40.0, pumping her right fist in the air in triumph.
PHOTO: Krissy Gear wins the 2023 B.A.A. Invitational Mile in 4:40.0 (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)
"I knew I was in a field of absolutely amazing women, so I knew if I didn't make a fearless move I had no chance," Gear told reporters. "I gave myself the best chance I could. She continued: "I've got to make a hard move here and just stick with it."
Coach Culpepper watched today's race and said that he wasn't surprised that Gear got the win.
"It doesn't surprise me at all," Culpepper told Race Results Weekly. "She's such a good competitor, and has such a good balance of excitement for the race and a nice level of nervousness at the same time. I just knew she would do well and be competitive."
British steeplechaser Lizzie Bird (Asics) won the battle for second in the final sprint over Kenyan Susan Ejore (Under Armour), 4:42.4 to 4:42.6. Angel Piccirillo (Puma) who led for the first two laps finished sixth in 4:45.7. Taryn Rawlings (adidas), who finished second last year, got fifth in 4:43.3. Reigning champion Annie Rodenfels (B.A.A. High Performance Team) ran the B.A.A. 5-K earlier this morning, instead, where she finished third.
Both Kessler and Gear won $3000 in prize money. The course records of 4:03.3 (Nick Willis, 2013) and 4:33.7 (Nicole Sifuentes, 2017) were never under threat.
The high school miles were won by Brian Gamble of the Emerging Elites Track Club (4:27.9) and Amelia Everett of Newton Center High School (5:10.9). Gamble, who will attend Yale University next year, won by a whopping nine seconds.
"It was kind of the perfect race to start the season, because no pressure," Gamble told Race Results Weekly. He added: "I always like going for the win."