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It's too late to catch Steier

By SCOTT PURKS

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 14, 2001


TAMPA -- The season has barely begun and Berkeley Prep's Rolf Steier has already run relatively ridiculous times: 9 minutes, 19 seconds in the 2-mile run and 4:19 in the mile.

No other county prep runner is close, and no one, not even by season's end, is expected to run near the times Steier has already posted.

So far, the season's next closest rival is Jesuit's Colin Strickland at 10:11 in the 2-mile run and 4:36 in the mile.

Steier said he's excited he's going so fast so early, especially because he feels like he has "a lot more left in me."

How fast?

"Maybe sub-4:10 in the mile, maybe sub-9:10 in the 2-mile," he said.

"I really think those are attainable."

If he reaches his goals, he would own the fastest times in Hillsborough County in the past 15 years.

No runner in Florida has broken the 9-minute mark for 2 miles in more than 20 years.

And remember, he's only a

junior.

Virginia's Alan Webb, who this year became the first prep athlete in more than three decades to break the 4-minute mile barrier, won the 2-mile race in Landover in 8:45.19

Steier said Webb's times are not feasible this season, but he does admit wondering how low he might be able to go as a senior.

For the moment, the objective is to work hard and defend his state titles in cross country (3 miles), the 2-mile and mile races.

"I started training a little earlier than usual because I didn't play soccer this season," Steier said. "But this weekend was the first real (2-mile) race I've competed in this season, and I really didn't know how I would do.

"I'm very happy with that time and now I think I really can achieve my goals this season."

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