By Mike Clark

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Verzbicas to focus on triathlon

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Two-time national prep cross country champ and Sandburg grad Lukas Verzbicas has decided to shift his focus from distance running to triathlons.

Verzbicas on Thursday posted a link on his Facebook page to a USA Triathlon news release announcing his decision to leave the University of Oregon and his running career to chase his Olympic triathlon dream.

"Thank you to the University of Oregon, coaches and teammates for the unmatched experience and support," Verzbicas wrote on his Facebook page. "I wish you nothing but the best of luck."

Verzbicas, who won the International Triathlon Union Junior World Championships in Beijing in September, will move to Colorado Springs, Colo., for his triathlon training.

Verzbicas, Beattie, Brown to run in NYC

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Sandburg senior Lukas Verzbicas, Woodstock senior Kayla Beattie and Lincoln-Way East sophomore Aaliyah Brown will represent the Chicago area in the adidas Grand Prix track and field meet Saturday at Icahn Stadium in New York City.

Verzbicas will be back to defend his Boys Dream Mile title, Beattie will compete in the Girls Dream Mile and Brown will run the Girls Dream 100. Verzbicas won last year's race in 4 minutes, 4.38 seconds, the fastest time of 2010 by a prep runner. Among those challenging him will be Jantzen Oshier of Mission Viejo, Calif., who has this year's fastest high school times in the mile (4:06.81) and 1,600 (4:00.83).

Beattie is ranked second nationally in the girls 3,200, while Brown is No. 5 in the U.S. in the girls 100.

Verzbicas sets 2-mile national record

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Sandburg senior Lukas Verzbicas broke the national prep record for the 2-mile, running 8 minutes, 29.46 seconds Saturday at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore.

Verzbicas, who has signed with Oregon and was running on his future home track, bettered the old mark of 8:34.40 set three years ago by German Fernandez of Riverbank, Calif.

Verzbicas finished 11th in the elite field. American Bernard Legat won in 8:13.62.

No stopping Woodstock's Beattie

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Woodstock senior Kayla Beattie ran the second-fastest 3,200 meters by an American girl this spring, winning the McHenry County Invitational last week with a time of 10 minutes, 16.48 seconds.

That's just off the national best of 10:14.11 set by Sarah Baxter of Simi Valley, Calif. The all-time Illinois record is 10:03.0, set by Peoria Bergan's Suzie Tuffey in 1984. Tuffey also set the IHSA state-meet all-class record of 10:13.24 that year.

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