Patrick Hilby was right in his convictions to sit out the early round of preseason indoor track fireworks instigated around town. The emerging senior superstar from Aurora Central Catholic indicated he needed time to get into a suitable mental and physical space. "It may conflict with my training, and I may not quite be in race shape yet," he said when asked about competing in some high-profile meets during the early off-season.
Fast forward to the first weekend in February, Hilby appeared ready to compete in his season debut at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix junior mile. It could be the perfect race for him with his excellent mix of speed and endurance. Yet a sense of modesty prevailed, "no goal time in general, just going to go out there and compete and see what happens," he said ahead of the Saturday evening affair.
The thought of a sub 4:00 mile may not have crossed Hilby's mind, but a personal best effort was in the cards.
In a field of 13 elite runners, he positioned himself among them tightly, hitting the first quarter-mile in 1:00.40. At the halfway point, he was at 2:02.99, and if he could maintain a decent pace over the final four laps, something surprising could happen.
Hilby was next to last with a final quarter-mile to go in 3:06. Hilby sat next to last but in a good spot. He picked up four points and placed eighth in 4:10.10 (4:08.70 for 1600m). It was a great performance behind the headlining 3:59.87 by Jo Jo Jourdon.