Vikings performance is 4th fastest in history
Observer News Services
NEW YORK -- Jeff Gosselin's hands were raised high as he crossed the finish line. He and his North Mecklenburg teammates Mike Mitchell, John Wadsworth and Kalib Wilkinson had just won a national championship.
The quartet won the 4 x Mile relay at the National Scholastic Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Armory Track and Field Center Saturday, easily beating Cardinal O'Hara High of Philadelphia, 17 minutes, 47.47 seconds to 18:02.29.
LaSalle (Ohio), St. John's Prep (Danville, Md.) and Long Beach, Calif. rounded out the top five. North Meck's performance was the fourth fastest in history. North Vigo High of Terre Haute, Ind., holds the national record of 17:29.6, set in 1974.
"It was definitely a good way to cap off what we've all done together," said Wilkinson, who, along with the other three, was part of the Vikings' 4A state championship cross country team that ranked No.3 nationally. "So, it's pretty awesome."
It was sweet redemption for the Vikings, who returned three from last year's relay team that finished runner-up to Christian Brothers Academy (Lincroft, N.J.) by .49 seconds at the Nike Indoor Classic in Landover, Md. It also bettered last year's performance of 17:51.70, which ranks seventh all-time, by nearly 4 seconds.
"It was like a load off our shoulders right after we came off our finish," said Gosselin, who ran the anchor leg in 4:17. "Kalib said, 'If we win, you have to raise your hands when you cross the line.' I was thinking about it as I came down the straightaway."