While Darius Kipyego was obviously one of the biggest names competing at Saturday's RIIL Class Indoor Championships as a state record breaking middle distance athletes, it might have been a female counterpart on the St. Raphael Academy track team that made an even stronger impression with a distance triple similar to the one achieved by Kipyego on the day.
Rachael Mongeau, a junior at St. Raphael Academy, swept all three distance runners in the small schools classification for girls taking first place in the 3000 (11:26.40), 1500 (4:55.97), and 1000 (3:10.51) meter races.
In all three races, Mongeau was content to sit back in the field and let others set the pace before striking late with devastating kicks for the trio of victories. The 1500 and 1000 meter performances still ended up being personal best times for her despite the strategic races.
Kipyego actually could have out-shined Mongeau and any other athlete in the event if he ended up competing and winning in all four races that he was entered in between the 3K, 1500, 600, and 1000. Currently ranked US #2 in both the 600 and 800 this indoor season, Kipyego ran as easy as he possibly could for the wins in the 3K (9:33.50) and 1500 (4:41.59) using his respect and possibly fear from the other competitors to let the pace in both races dwindle to a last lap kick.
In the 600, he had a bit more of a push from the field in the seeded section to require him to run a more honest effort and respectable time of 1:22.99 to not only win the race, but set a new Class C meet record in the event.
Both star runners willingness to triple in a short time span helped their teams finish high in the team standings with the St. Raphael Academy boys winning their first class title in 26 years, while the St. Raphael girls fell just 3 points short of a team title themselves behind the efforts and 30 individual points of Mongeau, who also ran anchor on her 4x400 meter relay to finish off the meet.