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Sam Prakel sprints to win at Downtown Yakima Mile

LUKE THOMPSON Yakima Herald-Republic - August 28, 2021

Road mile experience paid off for Sam Prakel at the Downtown Yakima Mile Saturday night.

The former Oregon All-American outsprinted a competitive field over the last 200 meters to hold off 2019 runner-up Tripp Hurt by less than a second. Prakel won the $5,000 first prize in a time of 3 minutes, 54 seconds less than a month after finishing second at Cleveland’s Guardian Mile.

“It’s been a while since I won a race so it feels pretty good,” Prakel said. “Really just put it all out there in the last 100 but it felt like I had a lot left, so I was pretty confident that if I made a definitive move I would come away with the win.”

Prakel knew the whole field would go out fast early in the most downhill portion of the race, so he tried to just stay close and keep a clear path to the front. The winning time wasn’t enough to earn an extra $5,000 bonus for breaking the Washington state record of 3:51.79 set by Amos Bartelsmeyer at the inaugural event in 2019.

Matthew Centrowitz said Friday the Tokyo Olympics took a large emotional toll, and he finished 10th as the top 12 runners came in under four minutes. Prakel said he tried to stay close to Centrowitz and Vince Ciattei, who ended up third in 3:55.8.

Thick early morning smoke largely cleared up by the evening, and Prakel said he enjoyed the atmosphere that included a sizable crowd lining the course on Yakima Avenue. He’s planning to finish his 2021 season at the Fifth Avenue road mile in New York City in two weeks.

“I was super happy everything worked out and my stay in Yakima’s been great,” Prakel said. “It seems like they’re going to have it earlier in the summer next year so hopefully that helps out with the smoke and it should still line up with the season, so looking forward to it.”

The Yakima Mile was held on June 15 in 2019, and it was scheduled for June 13 before COVID-19 forced organizers to cancel.

Selah’s Cooper Quigley shattered the high school course record set by Eisenhower’s Jonas Price to win in 4:12.49, five seconds ahead of Sehome junior Zack Munson in the Robbie Barany High School Mile. Quigley said he’s ready to start his senior season after he won all seven of his cross country races last season, then kept excelling on the track as he ran Washington’s fastest high school 800 meters and broke school records with a 4:14.9 mile and a 9:08.7 two-mile, and ran Washington’s fastest 800 meters.

Matthew Piercy from Rainier, Ore. won the Open race and the $250 prize with a time of 4:24.68. Yakima's Megan Johnson ran the mile in 5:57.44 to capture the women's prize.

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