When the Frontier 4x800 relay team broke the Section VI indoor record recently, the crew of Brian Gleason, Preston Bova, Connor O’Brien and Josh Peron literally raced laps around some of the competition during a meet held at Rochester Institute of Technology.
That means the four-man team ran really fast and maintained a determined focus because the competition in that race didn’t create an ideal circumstance for a record-setting effort. The Falcons’ relay posted a time of 7 minutes, 56.05 seconds to break the sectional mark of 7:59.43 set in 2015 by Sweet Home.
Gleason, Bova, O’Brien and Peron are understandably licking their chops for their next race. It’s going to be on a faster track compared to the one at RIT which has tight turns. It’s going to feature the top 12 teams in the country, which should push these Falcons to run even harder. The Frontier athletes are among several scholastic standouts from the area heading to the Armory in New York City to participate in the Millrose Games. The Falcons’ time ranks third nationally heading into the event. Kingsway, N.J., is the No. 1 seed with a time of 7:52.
“We’re super excited to go,” Bova said. “It’s a very prestigious invite. … We’re really excited to see what we can run (on a big track). Hopefully we can win and lower our time even more.”
It’s believed to be the first time Frontier will send a team to the Millrose Games.
“It’s very special for me and Brian to have this opportunity to race,” said O’Brien, who like Gleason graduates in June.
The Millrose Games begin today and conclude Saturday. Lancaster weight-thrower Natalia Surdej and Orchard Park pole vaulter Leah Pasqualetti are in action today, but the Falcons runners won’t race until Saturday. Tapestry’s Jada Kenner also has been invited and will run the 60-meter dash Saturday.
The last time Pasqualetti and the Frontier athletes participated in a race in the same venue, OP’s Pasqualetti got a rise out of the folks at RIT, as they were loud and ecstatic after watching her break the Section VI record with a distance of 14-feet. She has since improved that mark by 3 inches.
Still, the venue was buzzing, providing an energy surge that provided a jolt to the Falcons during their race.
“Just before we ran our race, the place is already going insane,” Frontier distance coach Mike Hoffman said. “The whole atmosphere for that race was amazing. … The guys push each other.”
This is the relay team’s second year together. Gleason and O’Brien are seniors, while Bova and Peron are juniors.
The four Falcons are special talents with Gleason, who also plays baseball, committed to run at St. Bonaventure. O’Brien is heading to Division II Daemen. Peron is the reigning team MVP and one of the top runners in the area and will soon have to sift through offers. So, too, will Bova.
The unit knows how to win.
The crew captured the Section VI indoor title last season and followed that by winning the outdoor crown. The boys capped their season by placing first in the emerging elite division at U.S. Nationals – a race just below the national-championship race – in a meet record 7:51.
“It’s humbling,” Gleason said. “You’re able to see quicker competition. We weren’t lapping people. We were able to be pushed and pulled by other people throughout the race. Experiencing that once definitely helps us have a cleaner mindset going to a large race like this of similar magnitude.”
Should the Falcons finish first, O’Brien said it’d be huge not just for the team but the entire school. It’s also special being the first Frontier team invited to the competition.
“It’s just great for all of us,” Bova said. “Maybe this will shine more light on the track program, get more people to start running.
And solidify Frontier’s status as a very good team.
“It’s really cool, to be part of the Frontier record books,” said Peron, who will also run in the 600-meter dash at the event. “Just thinking about the fact we’re all at this high school at the same time is pretty amazing.”
Surdej heads into the meet with the second-best throw in the nation at 57-2. Kenner comes in off a seventh grade season in which she set two world records for her age group. According to coach Dan Tryon, Kenner is vying for the state record in the 60m for an eighth grader, which is 8.05. Kenner has gone as fast as 7.79 in the event.