Friday, June 6, 2014

A few words with Dream Miler Sukhi Khosla

Sukhi Khosla and Nick MorkenSukhi Khosla has had quite a junior year at Leon High during 2013-14. Khosla went undefeated during the regular cross-country season, becoming the only runner to ever go under 15:00 for 5K at Apalachee Regional Park and winning the 3A state title. During track season he pushed his 3200 PR under nine minutes with an 8:59.50 win at the FSU Relays, and lowered his 1600 mark to 4:05.96 at the State Finals. Khosla added state titles in the 1600 and the 3200 to his cross-country championship.

And he still has another year to go in high school.

Suhki KhoslaBefore his senior year, though, Khosla has a chance to write an epilogue to the 2014 track season. On Wednesday, 4 June 2014, he received an invitation to the Dream Mile at the Adidas Grand Prix Diamond League Meet in New York City's Icahn Stadium. The invitation came in the form of a golden ticket, like the golden tickets in Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. However, the golden tickets to Willie Wonka's chocolate factory were distributed randomly, ending up with some pretty undeserving characters. Dream Mile golden tickets only go to fourteen of the top high school milers in the country. And yes, this race will be a full and honest English mile, not a 1600. The Dream Mile is slated for 3:05 PM ET on Saturday, 14 July 2014.

I was able to talk to Sukhi Khosla a few hours after he got the invitation. I caught up to him near Forestmeadows Athletic Center after he and a few other Leon distance runners were done working out on the Lake Overstreet Trails. Yes, after their workout. There was no chance of catching up to them while they were running. We talked about the Dream Mile, the following Brooks PR Invitational on 21 June 2014, and Tallahassee's championship cross-country course. Here's our conversation.

Sukhi KhoslaHERB WILLS: I'm out at Forestmeadows Athletic Center with Sukhi Khosla who has just been invited to the dream mile in New York City. Sukhi, you've come to be associated with the mile this year, although you are the state cross-country champion and the state 3200 champion in addition to the 1600 champion. Do you see yourself as primarily a miler now?

SUKHI KHOSLA: Back in eighth grade, in middle school, everyone thinks they're a miler. In high school I remember Coach [Andrew] Wills saying, "You're not a miler! As soon as you do the two mile and the 5K you'll understand that you're not a miler." I've always liked the mile, it's my favorite event, but I still don't consider myself a miler, just based on the kind of workouts and stuff we do. They aren't really shorter type workouts, like miler workouts. I still think I've got a better two mile in me, I just haven't had a chance to do it yet.

WILLS: So that's where you think your future lies, in the longer distances?

KHOSLA: Yes, I consider myself a longer distance runner, but the mile has always been my favorite race, and will probably continue to be. However fast I can be in that, well, it will just be a fun ride. It's my favorite event.

Sukhi KhoslaWILLS: I can understand that. By ninth grade I realized I wasn't ever going to be a miler.


WILLS: You had three particularly fast 1600 races this year. I know the last two were the front end of a double--at both the Region and the State Meet. Do you remember the first one? Was that also the front end of a double?

KHOSLA: Yes, it was at Bolles. That was my first breakout mile race. I ran 4:13 and then 9:11 in the double. At Regional having Nick Morken behind me really just pushed me; we both dropped seven and eight seconds. That was a big one.

WILLS: Speaking of Nick, do you know if he was invited to New York?

KHOSLA: Actually, I don't know. But I did read on an article in FLRunners about how he and Thomas Howell got some track award [Northwest Florida Daily News Large School Track Athlete of the Year]. They talked about how they were going to do 4 x 800 and distance medley at New Balance which is the same weekend, so I guess he's not doing the Dream Mile.

Sukhi KhoslaWILLS: Right, that's definitely an either/or.


WILLS: One thing about this race [the Dream Mile], you won't have a 3200 hanging over you later on.

KHOSLA: Yeah. It'll be fun to do just a mile. They set it up well, with pacers, and this will be a completely different type of competition than I've ever been in. I'm just excited to get up there.

WILLS: You mentioned the Brooks PR Meet. What event would you be running out there?

KHOSLA: We talked to them, and I'm invited for the mile. But they do have a two-mile there that I really want to do. Also, the two mile is first at Brooks. That's definitely something I want to do--get a really good two-mile in before the season is over. I'll probably end up doing the mile there, too, if I get into the two mile. Definitely the mile, and then hopefully the two, also.

Sukhi KhoslaWILLS: So the two-mile is up in the air right now.

KHOSLA: Yes. The meet director said that if there's an opening that he'd let us know.

WILLS: After that, it's getting ready for cross country?

KHOSLA: Yeah, after Brooks for sure, definitely done. Coach Wills is unsure about even doing Brooks because it's so late already. But definitely no races after that.

WILLS: Have you seen Apalachee Regional Park lately?

KHOSLA: I have not. Have they changed it?

WILLS: I was out there recently. They sodded the shell road around the moat, around the half-mile mark. They put down sod and put in irrigation. There aren't any joints in the sod, but the surface is a lot softer than it was.

KHOSLA: I'm sure they're just doing everything they can to improve it. 'Cause I know they still want to have Nationals and stuff there. That'll be great if they can get big meets in Tallahassee.

New York City adidas Grand Prix Dream Mile winners, 2010-2013
12 June 20104:04.38, Lukas Verzbicas4:41.93, Madeleine Meyers
11 June 20113:59.71, Lukas Verzbicas4:42.71, Camille Chapus
9 June 20124:01.32, Bernie Montoya4:39.64, Camille Chapus
25 May 20134:02.72, Ben Saarel4:39.17, Wesley Frazier
14 June 2014


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