Fairfield Warde High School's Harry Warnick has done what no Fairfield public school runner has done in decades.

The senior finished in first place in the 1,600-meter run with a 4:20.22 time at the New England Interscholastic Indoor Track & Field on Friday at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center in Boston.

"My family was going crazy," Warnick said. "It felt amazing."

Warnick bested second place's Mike O'Donnell from Methuen, Mass., by more than one second. When asked the last time a Fairfield public school runner had won a New England indoor track championship, Warde head coach Tim Foster-- who was the Fairfield High School indoor track as well-- could not name a boy or girl who had done it the past two decades.

Foster has been impressed with Warnick's progression, especially considering he's only in his third year of running competitively indoors.

"He's shattered the school records," Foster said. "Some of the times were outstanding, and he's shattered them."

Warnick passed State Open champion Clark Shurtleuff from Amity, who finished 14th. Two of the top seeds in the 1,600 pulled out prior to the race, giving Warnick more confidence.

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"I had so much adrenaline," he said. "I realized I had a chance to win it."

What pleased both Foster and Warnick most was the senior's ability to run a savvy race. Warnick did not qualify for nationals in the mile despite finishing first, due to the slower, calculated pace the race took.

"He ran an intelligent race," Foster said. "Given the circumstances, he ran a perfect race."

Warnick also placed ninth in the two-mile, and will race at New Balance Nationals on Saturday at The Armory Track & Field Center in New York.

The Warde standout sat back for the beginning five laps, staying between third and fifth. Warnick positioned himself in the top-three and with two laps to go found his spot to strike.

"With 350 meters left I passed the other two," he said. "I went all out in the final 300 meters and locked it up."

"I think he surprised (the other two runners)," Foster said. "He kept kicking it in and they weren't closing the gap."

Despite pulling away, it was not until the final stretch where Warnick realized he'd earned the crown.

"In the last 50 meters, I knew it was mine," he said.

Then, jubilation set in.

"It was nothing but pure elation for Harry," Foster said. "To finally win at New Englands was amazing."

ppickens@bcnnew.com; twitter.com/pickensfcsports