Special to the AmNews

They quote the lyrics from one of Frank Sinatra’s most popular songs, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,” when referencing the athletes who have competed in the Millrose Games. Held at the Armory on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, this year being the 109th year, Millrose showcases track and field athletes at all levels: youth, high school, track clubs, masters, veterans and professionals.

“Amateur or professional, we’re all concerned about the same things—form, concentration, a runner’s focus, their explosiveness, muscle power and maintenance, trying to keep up your speed,” said Andy Capellan, coach of New Rochelle High School’s track club.

The games kick off the U.S. track and field season, and they feature some of the biggest names in the sport, such as nine-time world champion Allyson Felix, 30, in her first Millrose appearance since 2005, and Canadian sprinter Andre De Grassee, 21, in his first race as a professional, winning the 60-meter dash in 6.61 seconds, short of his best time of 6.60 last year. He recently switched coaches, which at times have been problematic for runners.

“Usually when you switch coaches, it doesn’t go well right away. It takes some time,” said De Grasse, pleased with the outcome of his performance, opening up the track and field season.

Also featured was Natashe Hastings, born in Brooklyn, who beat defending champion Phyllis Francis in 51.66 seconds in the women’s 400 meters. All three runners, Felix, De Grasse and Hastings, were fan favorites, receiving great applause when their names were announced. Coincidentally, all three attended the University of Southern California.