Patrick Hilby Roars To Surprisingly Fast Outcome In Boston


Boston, MA-

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.

"I definitely shocked myself, but it was such a great race to be in with so many great runners," said Hilby of his amazing performance that will put him in the discussion of some of the best milers in the state. When asked about a key workout that got him ready for Boston, he uttered, "I did a 400, 200-meter workout with 90 seconds rest for everything, five sets, and my last set was 58, 25."

"Ali" Allison Ince also trekked to Beantown and competed in the junior girl's mile. Despite being in full basketball mode, the superstar senior from Normal Community came into the fray with a race under her belt. Last month, Ince won the Morolake Akinosun Elite Invite 1600m in 4:46.67.

Ince is a New Balance sponsored athlete via NIL, so it was natural that she would be in the place to be. 

Ince did not waste time getting into the mix, sitting behind junior megastar Sadie Engelhardt of California, the first quarter-mile in 1:06.71. 

At the halfway point, Engelhardt began to assert by over a second in 2:15. Ince began to drift away with a quarter-mile to go, hitting the 3/4 mark in 3:28.3. Still, it was still an incredible finish for Ince, who would go on to finish fourth in a PB 4:39.74 (4:37.98). It is the second fastest mile/1600m by an Illinois girl indoor.