High school athletes will have a rare opportunity to share the stadium with top pros in the first pro meet in Kansas in at least two decades when Trials of Miles hosts the Kansas City Qualifier at University of St. Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas on May 1. In addition to featuring numerous top pros who will be gunning for either Olympic or Olympic Trials qualifying standards, the meet will feature some of the best high school fields assembled in Kansas this year at 1600m, 2000m steeplechase, and 100H/110H.
Finally, there is a national Elite High School mile that is drawing interest from some of the top high school runners in the U.S. It will be the first time that athletes from further away than 500 miles from the Kansas border compete in a meet on Kansas soil.
The meet will be live streamed for free on the Citius Mag YouTube channel and feature color commentary by 3:52 miler Kyle Merber and Chris Chavez of Citius Mag.
MileSplit Kansas joined meet director Dave Alfano when he was in town from New Jersey last weekend to work on meet preparations, including looking over the facilities at St. Mary's University and the meet hotel in Kansas City. Here's some of what he had to say:
MILESPLIT KS: "Catch us up on meet preparations. How're things coming along?"
DAVE ALFANO: "First of all, thank you for your time! Four weeks out, we are in a great spot. The high school, developmental, and Olympic races are continuing to take shape, we've finalized a title sponsor, we have several big names in the sport who will be joining us in different capacities, and the Kansas and Kansas City running communities have completely embraced us as we look to hopefully pull off what should be a day of fast races! The pro fields are shaping up to be incredible - so far in the women's 800m, 1500m, 3,000m steeple and 5,000m pro races, we have women entered with seed times of 1:59, 4:09, 9:30, and 15:16 respectively. For the men, those seed times are 1:44, 3:37, 8:13, and 13:27. We also have several big announcements to make in the coming days; I'm excited!"
MILESPLIT: "Hosting a national-caliber high school race on Kansas soil that includes competitors from outside 500 miles from the Kansas border is something new. How are those races looking?"
DAVE ALFANO: "There is really strong interest in the high school elite mile fields and we feel really good about those races being competitive and producing fast times! Early indications are that we could potentially scare the 4:00 and 4:40 barriers for boys and girls."
MILESPLIT KS: "What made you decide to push for high-quality high school races here, both the elite miles and the other events open to all athletes in this region?"
DAVE ALFANO: "My heart will always lie in the high school running space. As a high school coach for the last 8 years of my life, it excited me to bring elite high school fields to the Kansas City Qualifier. How cool would it be to have the opportunity to compete in between professional races on a national live stream in front of tens of thousands of people with Kyle Merber and Chris Chavez commentating? The high schoolers deserve that opportunity, and they're responding to it. The high school fields are filling fast, so anyone interested should reach out soon!"
MILESPLIT KS: "What did you think of the facilities?"
DAVE ALFANO: "The facilities by far exceeded my expectations. The track was recently resurfaced, there is adequate warm up space and bathrooms, a beautiful indoor arena space to hang out before races, and the track is tucked into a space where the wind is blocked from one side of the track. I know without a doubt that those from out of town will be impressed with our venue. A special shout out to the University of St. Mary for allowing us to host here and being so accommodating."
MILESPLIT KS: "So here's the question everyone's been asking: will spectators be allowed to attend and if so, when will tickets go on sale?"
DAVE ALFANO: "While we don't have a concrete answer, our conversations point to us being allowed to have spectators in a limited capacity, fingers crossed! We will release more information as soon as we know. However, even if spectators are only allowed on a limited basis, we will have several high quality live streams throughout the day for free on Youtube."
MILESPLIT KS: "Another question that I've been hearing a lot - why Kansas City?"
DAVE ALFANO: "I think the better question is, why NOT Kansas City? It's in the middle of the country, a 2 1/2 or 3 hour plane ride from almost anywhere in the continental U.S. The average high on May 1st is 70̊ and the average low is 50̊. There's a lot to see and do in the area. I say this as a New Jersey guy - after being here I'm surprised there haven't been more major meets held here. When Zach Zarda ran our meet in New York last fall, we discussed hosting a meet here and we're very happy with what we've seen."
MILESPLIT KS: "What has surprised you the most so far in your preparation for this meet?"
DAVE ALFANO: "There have been many recent surprising "wins" in our preparations such as having commitments from several Olympians, sponsors who believe in what we are doing, and an extremely supportive staff at the University of St. Mary; however the number one biggest surprise has been the outpouring of support from the Kansas City and Kansas running communities. We've received numerous messages from local track fans, coaches, and athletes who have ties to the area and want to come back to volunteer and make this meet as successful as possible. We have several exciting announcements in the coming days on this front."
MILESPLIT KS: "What's next on your to-do list?"
DAVE ALFANO: "We are hoping to continue building the already very strong fields, finalize our COVID protocols for athletes, coaches, and hopefully spectators, and continue to find new and exciting ways to make this meet the best possible experience for everyone involved."
MILESPLIT KS: "Anything else you want to add?"
DAVE ALFANO: "Thank you to MileSplit Kansas for giving us the opportunity to share more information about the Kansas City Qualifier. If you are a high school athlete who meets the criteria to compete in our competition then we would love to have you for what should be an extremely unique and exciting opportunity!"
For more information, you can visit the Kansas City Qualifier website here: Trials of Miles Kansas City Qualifier
You can see the MileSplit event information on our meet calendar here: MileSplit Meet Calendar - Kansas City Qualifier
You can contact meet director Dave Alfano at firstname.lastname@example.org or high school athlete coordinator Rod Murrow at email@example.com.