Masters 4x400 Relay Team Punches Ticket to Nationals

Get ready for the national stage, Masters.

The varsity boys 4x400 meter relay team — which ran a blistering, record-setting time of 3:30.71 at the Ocean Breeze Elite Invitational 2024 in Staten Island on February 24 — will represent the School at the 2024 Nike Indoor Nationals at The Armory in New York City on Sunday, March 10. 

The team consisted of Emmanuel Harris ’24, Charlie Milward ’24, Nicholas Moutsatsos ’25 and Brian Wolfson ’25. 

"The key to breaking the school record and qualifying for nationals is all behind the scenes," said Moutsatsos, who ran the anchor leg. "The competition is the fun part. Going to practice at 3:45 p.m. every day, even on the hard workouts, the freezing cold days, and when we are generally unmotivated, is how we get it done. We push ourselves and keep each other accountable every day at practice and that makes us all feel like we cannot let each other down. Nationals was a very big goal for us for a long time, and having that collective interest as a team was necessary for us to achieve it." 

The impressive time of 3:30.71 was a significant improvement for the squad, which clocked in at 3:34.15 for a second-place finish at the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) Championships on February 21 at the Armory. While the 3:34.15 time was a new school record, the Panthers had their eyes zeroed in on a bigger prize. 

"We were not really focused on having broken the school record when we were at NYSAIS," Wolfson said. "We were more focused on being the first-ever Masters team to qualify for Nationals. Before the race at Ocean Breeze, we knew that the other teams in our heat were all fighting to qualify, or had already qualified, for Nationals. We knew that this would be a hard heat to win, but that if we were able to win the heat, which we did, we would qualify for Nationals. When we won the heat at Ocean Breeze, I felt like all of our hard work had paid off, and we were ecstatic." 

It was a monumental moment for a Masters track program that has been on the rise under the direction of coaches Ian Mook, Hazem Miawad and Ben Allen. Mook noted that it was an entire team effort and highlighted additional runners for helping the Panthers achieve the milestone. 

"A special shout out needs to also be given to Jake Mason ’24 and Toby Freeman ’24, who have both trained in lockstep with the four on the relay and could have been a part of this awesome accomplishment as well — but in the end, only four can run," Mook said. "I am grateful to all of them for deciding who to run such a difficult one. It has made us better."

Milward echoed Mook's sentiments.

"The more important part of the 4x4 is that there aren't just four of us," he said. "We look at it more as six or seven of us. The competition for those top spots has pushed everyone to be the best they can be, and that has been the real key to our success."

Masters' rapid development can also be partially attributed to receiving high-level coaching from the likes of Miawad, a pro runner who starred at the University of Maryland. 

"The Masters track team is very lucky to be coached by professional runners, who are aspiring Olympic-level athletes," Wolfson said. "This year, Coach Miawad has taken our training to the next level by pushing our training groups with intensive workout sessions — like we have never seen before. Additionally, he has taught us to push through any physical or mental pain, and completely changed the way each of us runs our 4x400 leg. This helped us continually break our Masters 4x400 record, first at NYSAIS, then again at the Ocean Breeze Elite Invitational meet, and will hopefully happen again at the Nike Indoor Nationals meet."

Looking ahead to Nationals, Masters will aim to keep making history.

"We are entered in the emerging elite bracket and the goal is to win that," Milward said. "We had a time trial the other day, and with those times, we will definitely be competitive."

Masters’ 4x400 race at Nationals will be streamed live online at this link. The Panthers are slated to run on Sunday, March 10, at 2:12 p.m. Additional results from the NYSAIS championships can be found at this link.

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