Merber, McManus, Sheppard, Miller selected as February Athletes of the Month

OPEN - Kyle Merber
Kyle Merber, 26, of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. has been selected as the USATF New York Open Athlete of the Month for February 2017.  Merber, a member of the Hoka NJNY Track Club, started the month off on February 11 running 3:54.67 to finish third in the Wanamaker Mile at the NYRR Millrose Games.  The following week he teamed up his Hoka NJNYTC teammates Donn Cabral, Graham Crawford, and Ford Palmer to break the world record in the indoor 4 x 1 mile relay at the Artie O'Connor College Invitational.  Merber split of 3:59.40 helped the team run 16:12.81; breaking the 24-year old record of 16:16.67 by the New York Athletic Club. Merber saved his best for last as on February 26 he ran 3:52.22 in the 1 mile at the BU Last Chance Meet in Boston.  His time makes him the #6 U.S. performer (#9 performance) all-time indoors and according to MileSplitNY, the time is the second fastest ever run (indoors or outdoors) by a New York native; trailing only Lopez Lomong’s 3:51.21 from 2013. It was Meber’s career best by 2.35 seconds (previous best 3:54.57 at the Sir Walter Mile in 2016).
MASTERS - Mike McManus
Mike McManus, 51, of New York has been selected as the USATF New York Masters Athlete of the Month for February 2017.  McManus competes for the Hoka NJNY Track Club. On February 12, McManus, 51, won the 3000m and finished second in 1 mile in the M50 division at the USATF New York Association Indoor Championships held at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex.  In the 3000m, he ran to victory in a time of 9:30.99.  In the 1 mile he lost a close battle to Gerry O'Hara as he ran 4:46.03; just .47 seconds behind O’Hara.  His 1 mile time scored 89.71% on the masters age-graded scoring tables while his 3000m scored 88.81%.  Performances in the  80%-90% range are considered national class performances while scores above 90% are classified as world class.  A week later McManus won the 1 mile and 3000m and finished second in the 800m at the USATF National Masters Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His times (all affected by the 5000 foot elevation) were 2:14.68 (800m), 4:52.51 (1 mile), 9:48.47 (3000m).

YOUTH - Tai Sheppard
Tai Sheppard, 12, of Brooklyn, N.Y. has been selected as the USATF New York Youth Athlete of the Month for February 2017.  Sheppard is a member of the Jeuness Track Club. At the USATF New York Youth Indoor Championships on February 26, Sheppard won and set two association records in the girls 11-12 division.  She started the day off running 9.05 in the 55m hurdles.  The time broke the previous record of 9.25 set in 2013 by Jaelah Eargle.  In the 800m she won a dramatic race where she and Alissa Graham both ran 2:26.21 with Sheppard declared the winner.  The time broke the previous association record of 2:31.09 by Avery Russel in 2016.  The time is also .01 faster than the current association outdoor record.

HIGH SCHOOL - Michael Miller, Jr. 
Michael Miller, Jr., 16, of Bronx, N.Y. has been selected as the USATF New York High School Athlete of the Month for February 2017. Milller, a sophomore at Christopher Columbus High School and a member of the Bronx Tigers TC had a record breaking month.  On February 5, Miller won the 300m at the PSAL Bronx Borough Championships running 35.01.  At the NYRR Millrose Games he finished 6th in the 55m running 6.47. And then the following week at the PSAL City Championships he won the 55m in 6.33.  The time established a new NY sophomore class record and is currently the #3 time in the U.S. and #1 in New York state for 2017.  Miller ended the month winning the 200m and 400m at the USATF New York Youth Indoor Championships on February 26.  In the 200m he ran 21.79 (2016 U.S. #22 and NY #2) and in the 400m his time was 50.57 (2016 NY #13).

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