The first Ocean Breeze AC Grand Prix was a success, and thanks to press officer Jeff Benjamin, we have this story on the event!
If you want to see more photos on the race, just go to Instagram @runblogrun or twitter @runblogrun to catch up!
Robbie Andrews breaks the tape, photo by Jeff Benjamin
Bob Andrews (Robby’s father), Bill Welsh (Bill Welsh Mile) and Robby Andrews, winner of Bill Welsh mile, photo by Jeff Benjamin
Over 2,000 spectators descended upon Staten Islands’ state of the art Indoor Track & Field facility to witness Elite Word-Class Athletes compete for the first time in the Inaugural Ocean Breeze Gran Prix, and the audience didn’t leave disappointed.
Stephanie Schappert, winner of 1000m in 2:42.77, photo by Jeff Benjamin
From 2-time Olympian Charles Jock (who finished 2nd behind the fast-closing Edose Ibadin, who nipped Jock at the tape in the 1000 meters (2:21.48 –2:21.51), to the triumph of 600 meter Champ, World University Games Champion Shaquille Walker (1:16.11), times were faster on a level here along the banked mondo surface than have never been seen in this depth before in the borough. And the women were just as quick, as evidenced by a victorius Stephanie Schappert in the 1000 meters (2:42.77) and Robin Reynolds in the 300 37.22. Youth, High School, Sprints, Relays and High Jumps all mixed in the production as well.
The bell lap of the Bill Welsh mile, photo by Jeff Benjamin
But the highlight of the night, which anxious fans were anticipating was the Bill Welsh Mile, named for the borough’s great elder statesman of the Sport. As the gun sounded the milers started a little hesitantly, so Andrew Wheating took on the work, going right behind the pacesetter O’Toole and keeping the pace respectable, splitting a 1:59.7 halfway time. But the pace slowed over the next lap with Wheating, Daniel Winn, Mikey Brannigan and hometown favorite and Island native Robby Andrews in the mix. Andrews, looking strong and relaxed sure was not going to upstaged before his people, as he launched his famous kick at the bell lap and won coming home In a time of 3:59.36.
“Mr. Welsh was my dad’s (Bob) high school coach, so it means a lot to me to win,” Andrews said after the race. “This was a good race for me to get ready for Albuquerque”, who also remarked that his sister Kristin will also be competing for the first time at the USATF Indoor Nationals coming up in 2 weeks.
Press officer Jeff Benjamin with new Paralympic WR holder for the mile, Mikey Brannigan, who just ran 4:03.58! photo from Jeff Benjamin
Also celebrating was Brannigan, as he set a new Paralympic Mile World Record (4:03.58) on the fast, banked track. “I’m very happy with the race I ran,” said the NYAC competitor.
A surprising 4th in the 1000m for Kristin Andrews, in 2:44.89, with brother, Robby Andrews and father, Bob Andrews, photo by Jeff Benjamin
Happy seemed to be the norm last night at Ocean Breeze!!
Final Lap- Meet Directors Lou Vazquez and Lauren Primerano announced the meet a grand success and said to watch for a bigger and better meet next year…Postrace workouts seemed to be the norm last night as well as Wheating did a series of 200s and Andrews did a series of surges as well…Wheating also said he felt very healthy, and marveled at the facility…Not to be outdone, Winn and his BAA teammates also did a series of longer intervals, under the watchful eye of Coach Terrence Mahon.