Matt Bouthillette hands off to teammate Jack Salisbury for the final leg of the DMR at the Penn Relays.
La Salle Academy set another state record at the Penn Relays with its performance in the Distance Medley Relay. But the Rams were more than a record-setting team. In one of the most exciting races of the three-day meet, La Salle came just .001 from defeating the favored Drew Hunter and his Loudoun Valley teammates. All the hype the last few weeks was on Hunter and how he was going to carry his Virginia squad to a win at Franklin Field. The future Oregon runner, who broke Alan Webb's indoor mile record this past winter with a best of 3:57.81 at the Millrose Games, didn't disappoint in the featured race of the night on Friday, edging out Rams' anchor Jack Salisbury at the line en route to a nation No. 1 time of 10 minutes, 0.003 seconds. But the gutsy Rams didn't make it easy for Hunter. Not at all! Every runner on La Salle's quartet did what was asked of them (and more!). Junior DJ Principe ran the ultimate 1,200m lead-off leg for the Rams where he was neck-and-neck with Colin Daly of River Dell (NJ) at the exchange, running a sizzling 3:01.20. Dave Medeiros blazed to a personal best of 53.46 for his 400m split and then Matt Bouthillette broke it up by just crushing his 800m leg with a time of 1:55.59. That set the drama that would unfold a little more than four minutes later. With about a lap remaining and Hunter gaining fast, it was apparent what Salisbury was doing. He was saving his strength for an all-out sprint to the end. Hunter made his move with about 200m left and the two battled to the end in a classic finish.