Vincent Mauri: Under The Radar No Longer

           Vincent Mauri established a new 1600m PR at the SPIRE Showcase. 

If you weren't aware of who Vincent Mauri was prior to last weekend's MileSplit / SPIRE Scholastic Showcase, you likely are now.            

At a meet full of exciting events, close finishes and big time performances, along with Michigan's Nick Foster, Mauri was one of the athletes who stole the show. The boys 1600 Section 1 race stood out as one of the most entertaining aspects of what was an incredible day of track and field action. 

Prior to the Showcase, Mauri undeniably owned an impressive resume filled with lots of big accomplishments, like his 14:54.80 Ohio #1 clocking from this past cross country season, his second place finish in the 3200 race at last year's D1 outdoor state championship and his multiple trips to New Balance Nationals. For some reason, though, he's never seemed to acquire the credit that such achievements should garner. Maybe it's the low-key profile that Mauri keeps - he's very much a mild mannered, team-player kind of guy. He doesn't have a huge social media presence and he's not one to go out of his way to pump up his own accolades. 

Mauri generally lets his running do the talking for him. And it's been speaking pretty loudly of late. For the stats enthusiasts out there, his result last Sunday (4:09.42) trails only Foster's winning effort of 4:07.16 and the 4:07.52 clocking that Dustin Horter produced at the 2018 state championship in terms of all-time high school marks set at SPIRE. 

MileSplit caught up with Vincent earlier this season at Youngstown State University - 

Pre-Race - 

Mauri seemed destined to have a great race at the Showcase. Despite only having one 2019 indoor performance to judge where he might be, it happened to be a good one. The senior from Howland went 1:57.83 in the 800 contest at Youngstown State in early January. This mark was an Ohio #1 at the time and it held as such for approximately a month, until Shelby's Blake Lucius usurped it at the Preview Meet on February 2nd with his 1:54.95 showing. 

The high quality time that Mauri posted in Youngstown was a good indicator, but perhaps a better one was the hunger he appeared to have for a big performance on a big stage and against elite competition. "When I learned that Nick Foster was going to be racing, I became excited because I knew that he would take the field out fast and I felt like I was ready for the challenge that he'd bring," said Mauri. "With other strong front-runners on the entry list, like Evan Manley (Hudson), I felt like going sub 4:10 was a very realistic possibility."                

In addition to the deep field of competitors he faced off against on race day, Mauri had contacted MileSplit several times leading up to the meet hoping to learn about what great distance runners out there might be expressing interesting in attending and what some of the state's all-time best results were for the races that he was considering at the time (1600 and 3200). It was quite evident that Mauri wanted this. 

The Race - 

In a word - 'phenomenal'! Nick Foster entered the race as the odds on favorite to take the win and he did, so hats off to him for that. What wasn't as expected, though, was the battle that Mauri would bring to Foster, who's a many-time state champion in Michigan and a Wolverines commit. They both broke away from the field on the first lap with Foster taking command in the early stages of the race. Mauri never let that gap get too big though and he actually assumed the lead at around the halfway point and he'd hold said lead for a couple of laps of SPIRE's 300m track. Foster battled back and ended up delivering in a big way with his new facility record time of 4:07.16 on route to the victory, but a lot of credit for that record setting mark should be attributed to Mauri.

"Like I said before, I knew Nick would take the pace out quick, but I wanted him to know that I was game to go with him," Mauri indicated. He went on to say, "I knew I wanted to take control at some point and I tried to create a gap on him, but I just didn't make it large enough." "Nick is a great competitor and he came back and took the win - I tried to surge at the end, but he just had a little too much of a lead." "I feel like we both ran a great race - it was a perfect mix of speed and endurance." 

Mauri wasn't the only one who felt that way. Following the Showcase, MileSplit reached out to Foster to acquire his perspective: "Vincent obviously ran an excellent race this past weekend. I knew after meeting him at NXN that he was capable of a much faster 1600 time than his PR. He had a goal of going sub 4:10 and he did just that. He took the lead and pushed the pace through the middle part of the race, which tends to be the toughest part for me. He definitely helped me a ton and made it a super fun and fast race." 

Post-Race Reaction -  

Foster wasn't the only elite athlete to have rave reviews of Mauri's performance. Vincent's future Arizona State University teammate and 2018 D1 XC State Champion, Conant Smith also weighed in: "I was glad to see Vincent run so well. He's a hard worker and a fierce competitor. I'm looking forward to having him as a training partner and a teammate for the next four years in Tempe."  

The proud meet manager of the SPIRE Showcase, Charlie Powell, also offered his two cents on the Mauri / Foster duel: "I really enjoyed the fact that they had such mutual respect for each other AFTER the race. They shook hands, bro-hugged and talked for a long time. They even went on a cool down run together and then went up to talk with you (MileSplit) together. Pretty cool. Two great kids!!" 
High praise for those two young athletes coming from a guy who's basically seen it all when it comes to the sport. Prior to his appointment as the SPIRE Director of Track and Field, Powell was the long time men's coach at the University of Pennsylvania

To tackle the analysis from the coaching front, avid track fan (and Lake Catholic coach), Matt Borcas also chimed in: "The fact that Vincent went sub 4:10 in early February is a testament to his impressive versatility and potential going forward. I really respect the way he trains and I wouldn't be surprised to see him throw down some more jaw-dropping times before his high school days come to a close." 

When asked about what he might change from last weekend's race now that he's had some time to reflect on it, Mauri pointed out that, "I probably didn't demonstrate as much patience as I should have. If provided a do-over, I wouldn't have assumed the lead so early and I would have focused more on keeping good form when I started to get tired, but overall - I can't complain. It was a great race!" 

As for what's next, Mauri shared that his main objective for the remainder of the indoor season is to compete in the 1 Mile contest at New Balance Nationals, where he's excited to mix it up with the best distance runners from throughout the country. 

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