Hawks Killing It At Nationals!
Well, our Hawks flew fast this past weekend at the USATF Junior Olympic Nationals, posting 4 PRs and bringing home 2 medals and, oh yeah, breaking a national record.
To kick off Saturday, Natalie ran a PR in the 11-12 Girl’s 3k, finishing seventh in her heat with a time of 12:17. Adeleine competed tough in the 13-14 Girl’s 3k as well, sprinting to a 4th place finish in her heat and 16th overall with a big PR time of 11:18.
Elias had the race of the day, however. Entering the race with the number 1 seed, he knew that another runner, Michael Studer of the Greater Lowell Road Runners (Maryland), had run a faster time this year. Elias was ready to execute his race strategy: hang on to the leader and with three laps to go press the pace. Lap after lap, Elias ran on Studer’s heels, ticking off laps right at or under national record pace. On the home stretch before the bell lap, Elias took the lead and powered into the turn. Running on fumes, Elias burned his way toward his dream of being a national champion.
Unfortunately, Quenton Lanese of Barron Park Striders in Washington had other plans. Methodically stalking the leaders through the race, Lanese was able to catch and pass Elias over the last 150 meters to capture the win. Looking up at the clock, Elias realized he had run a 21 second PR and finished in 9:35, three seconds faster than the national record (last set in 1998). He did what he set out to do: the only thing that kept him from being a national champion was Lanese, who not only broke the national record but also set the world age group record for 11-year-olds by running 9:31.
Sunday started off with Hadley running her heart out in the 8-and-Under Girl’s 1500m. She didn’t run a personal best, but bravely faced the large crowds and runners from all over the country to finish strong and experience the excitement of a National competition for the first time. We will certainly see more of her in the seasons ahead.
Finally, Elias finished up the races for the Hawks with the 11-12 Boy’s 1500m. Elias knew he was facing stiff competition in this race as there were five former national champions toeing the line. But with dogged determination and promise in his heart, Elias was not going to be intimidated.
The pace went out fast, but Elias hung in there. By the start of the third lap, he was once again right on the heels of Studer in second place, pushing the pace as best he could. Going into the bell lap, Elias took the lead once again and charged around the turn, creating a 20-meter gap on the field. Once again, however, Lanese demonstrated his incredible kick and passed Elias with 100 meters to go to hand him his second silver medal of the meet. Elias ran 4:33, a 5 second PR and less than 1 second shy of the USATF Pacific Association record.
All of our Hawks competed with honor and toughness and embodied our team mission – they were confident and competitive elite distance runners, and we could not be prouder of these athletes. Also, the incredible outpouring of support from Hawks who came to cheer on their teammates was a testament to the greatness of this club and hearts of our families. This is just the beginning, every Hawk should be dreaming of All-American finishes as we move into Cross Country season. See you all in three weeks!
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