CHATHAM, NJ - It's a race that is rarely scheduled at relay meets because of time constraints. And it's one that almost never has a close finish.
But when Chatham's 4x1,600-meter relay team went up against Mendham and Morris Hills last week in the Morris County Relays held at Randolph High, Colin Logsdon and his Cougar teammates made history with a down-to-the wire finish.
"It's really exciting to watch them," Chatham track coach Patrick Barry said.
Logsdon's kick in the final 200 meters put him in front of his Morris Hills and Mendham competitors and gave Chatham the gold medal in a school-record time of 8:23.45.
Logsdon, Liam Cadden, Matt Stasiukevicius and Bo Radaam are the Hawk Allstate Chatham Athletes of the Week.
The race was as close as it gets in the 4x1,600, with the top three crossing in a three-second span. Mendham was second in 8:24.56 and third-place Morris Hills ran 18:26.45.
Cadden led it off for Chatham with a 4:31, Radaam followed with a 4:38, Stasiukevicius ran 4:45 and Logsdon anchored in 4:28.
"Going into the last lap, I was behind Morris Hills and it was pretty windy, so I sat on him until there was 200 to go and I made my move and took it to the finish," Logsdon said."Mendham was a second behind me and Morris Hills dropped to third."
The combined 18:23.45 time, erased the Chatham record of 18:25 set in the Morris County Relays by Will Mitchell, Grant Hauck, Pat Mortensen and Liam Hynes.
"We just put them in the right spots at the right time and they did what they needed to do," Chatham coach Nick DeSantis, who the runners credited with the winning strategy for the race, said. "It's the most talented group of distance runners we've ever had, as far as talent goes, and probably in their work ethic, too. It's an extremely strong working group."
Logsdon has been building up his miles to 50 per week and it's made a difference for him. Logsdon is setting his sights on qualifying for nationals in the 1,600.
"I want to run 4:08 by the end of the season," Logsdon said. "I'm doing upwards of 50 miles per week and it's really helping my stamina. My splits have been sub-two for 800 meters."
Logsdon began his drive to run his best times on Wednesday with a 4:21.7 to place fourth in the NJAC meet held Wednesday.
"They all have very different personalities," DeSantis said. "Bo runs more than you tell them to do. How many runners do that?
"They're all very unique. Liam is probably the nicest one. He's definitely the most coachable. Matt has showed the most improvement of anyone. Without him, we wouldn't have had the team we have. Colin is the most talented one. He's the man, probably the smartest racer out of the group."
Cadden, Radaam and Logsdon are all juniors, so they are already setting goals for the Morris County Relays in 2018.
"We're definitely gong to be shooting for a sub-18 next year," Logsdon said.
This past winter, Cadden, Stasiukevicius and Logsdon teamed up with senior Jaylen Haye to win the DMR (Distance Medley Relay) at the Morris County Relays held at Ocean Breeze on Staten Island. That group established a school-record time of 10:38.21, breaking the meet mark of 10:41.21 set last year by Morristown.
Editor's note: The Hawk Allstate Chatham Athlete of the Week is sponsored by the John Hawk Agency. John and his team have been protecting local families and business owners for over 12 years. Call them at 973-635-9494 for a new auto, home, life and business insurance quote this week and if you mention the Hawk Allstate Chatham Athlete of the Week they will make a $20 contribution to the Chatham Booster Club! To learn more, visit the agency website.