Stow’s Coby Horowitz sets NCAA Division 3 mile mark

Coby Horowitz, a 21-year-old senior at Bowdoin College, ran the fastest mile race in NCAA Division 3 history.
Creative Images Photography
Coby Horowitz, a 21-year-old senior at Bowdoin College, ran the fastest mile race in NCAA Division 3 history.

Stow’s Horowitz sets Division 3 mile mark

Ever since he first hit the track with the Hale Middle School team in Stow, Coby Horowitz has been determined to “beat everyone and beat my personal best time.’’

Horowitz, a nine-time cross-country and track All-American at Bowdoin College, accomplished both in dramatic fashion on Saturday.

Competing in the Open New England Championships, with runners from schools of all sizes, the 21-year-old senior ripped off the fastest 1-mile clocking in NCAA Division 3 history, 4:00.41.


The previous Division 3 record, 4:00.96, was set in 1997.

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Horowitz, who had already qualified for the mile run at the NCAA championships, scheduled for March 14 in Lincoln, Neb., was whisker-close to posting a sub-4-minute mile during last weekend’s meet at Boston University.

“When I was just about at the finish line, I could see 3:59 on the clock. I was pushing as hard as I could when I crossed it,’’ said Horowitz, who was greeted with a standing ovation when he entered the campus dining hall in Brunswick, Maine, the next morning.

“I was pretty ecstatic and very happy but it will take a while for it all to sink in, and there’s more to accomplish,’’ said Horowitz, who three weeks earlier on the same track had eclipsed his own school record in the mile (4:02.12), then the fourth fastest time in Division 3 history.

Last weekend’s finish also gave him the New England Small College Athletic Conference record in the mile (it was 4.01.95). He will get another crack at improving his time this weekend at the Columbia University “last chance’’ qualifier for the nationals.


For Horowitz, a state 2-mile champ while running at Nashoba Regional High in Bolton, the formula for his recent success has been to pace himself and run more efficiently.

“I was a one-trick pony in high school. I would sit at the back of a race and then try to outrun the field,’’ recalled Horowitz, an All-American in each of his last seven seasons of cross-country and track at Bowdoin, “but I’ve learned when to go all out at the right time.’’

Horowitz and his teammates received a special tutorial from Bowdoin’s veteran cross-country and track coach, Peter Slovenski, when they returned from holiday break in January.

“We watched the video of Roger Bannister’s first-ever sub-4-minute mile, with Roger narrating,’’ said Slovenski. “Roger ran even splits and said he had to be very careful not to go too fast too early or he’d pay a price later.’’

George Dole, who was an undergraduate at University College, Oxford, when he ran against Bannister that day in 1954, now resides in nearby Bath and also offered tips to the Bowdoin team.


“Coby’s race Saturday was very much like Roger’s race with patience early and then terrific courage later,’’ Slovenski added. “He ran even 30-second splits all the way through for eight laps.’’

In attendance Saturday were Horowitz’s parents, Gary Horowitz and Darci Mickus, younger sister Kelsey, and his former track coach at Nashoba, Ley Ricker, who brought his stopwatch and gave the family the good news before the official time was posted.

Horowitz’s older sister, Lindsey, was a three-season runner and captain at Bowdoin, graduating in 2012. All three siblings have captained running teams at Nashoba Regional.

“I got to know Bowdoin well when Lindsey was there and every time I visited it felt like home,’’ said Horowitz, a two-time high school All-America (at 5,000 meters and 4x400-meter relay) who helped lead Nashoba to a state title his junior year.

“I had recruited Coby’s sister and she had a wonderful coach at Nashoba, Don Gribbons, who told me her younger brother was one of the best runners in Massachusetts,’’ Slovenski said. “So I got interested in recruiting Coby after that. But I think Lindsey did most of the recruiting for us.’’

Paralympic tryouts set for March 29

Community Rowing Inc. will host tryouts for US Paralympic teams in rowing, cycling, and biathlon March 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. inside the Harry Parker Boathouse at 20 Nonantum Road in Brighton.

Youths and adults from Massachusetts with physical disabilities and visual impairments are invited to the “Gateway to Gold’’ talent identification event. Prospective athletes will be evaluated on a variety of skills that can help determine their potential for competing for Team USA at the Paralympic Games.

Preregistration is required for the free event; for information visit www.communityrowing.org or call 617-964-2455.

Here and there

Weston High graduate Allyson Pemberton, a guard on the Vassar College women’s basketball team, was named Most Outstanding Player of the Liberty League’s tournament championship game last weekend. In a team-high 37 minutes, the junior scored a career-high 24 points and added 7 rebounds and 2 steals to fuel a 64-60 win over top seed and host St. Lawrence, and secure an NCAA Division 3 tournament berth. . . Wellesley’s Dana Hall School won the women’s three-weapon team division at the recent state fencing championships. Senior Stephanie Wolf (inset) of Newton won the epee title, and her sister, Alexandra, a freshman, placed third in saber. . .  Worcester State University center Paul Brooks of Arlington was named Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year in men’s basketball. Averaging 7 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.96 blocks per game, the 6-foot-9 graduate of Putnam Science Academy finished third in the MASCAC in field goal percentage (50.0).

Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@rcn.com.