Photo by: Smotherman Images 

Arcadia, California   Saturday April 6, 2013


     The Arcadia Invitational in California is one of the major events on the high school track calendar and northwest runners were out in full force to take part in the high quality action.   Athletes from Washington, Idaho & Utah were plentiful and they were joined by their brethren from Wyoming & Montana.   The only state not represented was Oregon although Tess Michaelson of Lincoln did represent the state, yet had an off day.   Of course that is the thing about competition, and one only gets better by challenging themselves.

      There was far too much to really deal with here but our distance friends from the region gave a very good account of themselves.   The Arcadia meet once again proved that the NW is a force to be reckoned with even on a national scene, but of course it has been mentioned numerous times in the past.  Nowhere was the Northwest strength in evidence more than in the girls’ 3200 Meter Run.  In that race Katie Knight of North Central went to the front along with Californian Sarah Baxter.  They led the pack through a first lap of 74 with Amy-Eloise Neale of Glacier Peak & Anna Maxwell of San Lorenzo Valley in tow.   Also in the mix was Katie Bianchini, also from Glacier Peak, who has been receiving notoriety after securing her berth last December at Foot Locker.   It may have been a strong field but the Northwest was hardly over-shadowed here.   Knight and Baxter pulled the pack through splits of 2:34 & 3:51 with Emma Abrahamson trailing.

      As the leaders headed to the mile mark it appeared to be a three-person duel between Baxter, Knight and Neale with Maxwell running a bit behind and appearing to struggle a bit.   Baxter seemed extremely fluid in the lead, yet Knight appeared comfortable staying with her, while Neale finally gave evidence of stress as she dropped off the pace after splits of 6:25 & 7:42.   That left her with Maxwell, who kept her position in terms of the leaders.   Soon, however, it was Baxter, who began to push the pace, which left only the valiant Knight in contention.  Neale & Maxwell were relegated to a supporting role while Sarah Fakler of Arizona & moved to the head of the chase pack.    Splits of 8:58 & 9:34 left Baxter in control and she stepped out during the final lap to record a fine time of 10:08.76.   Anna Maxwell had more than regrouped over the ensuing two laps and she not only opened a gap between herself and Neale but also closed ground on Knight.   The San Lorenzo Valley star took second in 10:10, which gave her a second over the game Knight, while Amy-Eloise Neale cruised home alone in fourth with a fine time of 10:21.   Sarah Fakler got up for fifth with 10:24 and Erin Hooker of Colorado crossed the line a second later.   Megan Huebner of California earned seventh with 10:26 & two-time Foot Locker finalist Makena Morley of Montana took eighth in 10:30.  Katie Bianchini made it three NW runners in the top nine with her time of 10:31 and Emma Abrahamson rounded out the top ten in 10:36, as she edged Alex Davis of Oklahoma, who placed eleventh with essentially the same time.   In their wake followed a fine field, which included Foot Locker finalists Julia Maxwell (12th), Paige Gilchrist of Montana (15th, Sarah Feeny & 18th) and Summer Harper (21st) from Utah.

       The young men’s version of the race saw Foot Locker finalist & West Regional champion Ben Saarel of Utah pull away from Bernie Montoya of Arizona for a convincing victory by about two seconds with 8:45.74.    Blake Haney of Stockdale ran 8:48 to edge Louisville stalwart Jacob Thomson.   Haney earned the satisfaction of being the first junior in the race with his effort, while Joe hardy of Seattle Prep ran 8:51 to finish a second behind Jack Keelin of Illinois. Californian Andy Trouard was right behind in seventh, while Brock Baker of Tennessee claimed 8th in 8:51.  Christian Freeman of Carlsbad garnered ninth in 8:52 nipping Jake Leingang of North Dakota, a two-time Foot Locker finalist.   Juan Gonzalez of El Toro rounded out the top eleven.   Only two sophomores were invited to the invitational field and  Connor Mantz of Utah (9:04) and Elijah Armstrong of Idaho (9:16) showed that they are already national class athletes.     

         The NW region was also represented by Jamie Coughlin of Garfield, who won his heat to the race with 9:06 to defeat Tony Gutierrez of Utah, who ran 9:07.  There was also a seeded field for the 3200 Meters, which saw Adam Peterman of Montana triumph in 8:57 over John Lawson, who ran 8:58.   Tanner Anderson, a sophomore from North Central (Spokane) ran 9:06, which was good for sixth.   Troy Fraley, also from Montana, ran 9:12 finishing ninth.

       The Mile run for young women saw Shea Martinez of Utah vying with Megan Beauchene of Kamiakin in the invitational race.   Martinez scored with 4:52.59 which barely edged Beauchene, who finished less than a half second later in 4:53.   Utah runners Sarah Feeny and Emily Rich both ran 4:56 to earn third & fourth respectively, while Ellie Child, yet another Ute along with Summer Harper, added fifth & sixth for the state.    Sam McKinnon of Mountain View (Idaho) has been plagued by two years of injury issues yet there she was leading Seeded field for a spell before placing ninth in 5:02.  Taylor Cox of Nevada scored with a 4:56, as she topped Sydney Badger of Nevada, who ran 4:57. Danielle Shanahan, who also battled for the lead earlier, came in third with a fine 4:58, as she edged Nicolette Sorenson of Torrey Pines.

      Keith Williams, of North Central moved into the lead early in the Invitational Mile for men before Tal Braude of California, closely followed by Amos Bartelsmeyer of Missouri, who ran a 64.2 split.   Skylar Williams of Utah then pulled the pack through 800 Meters in 2:10.9.   Ryan Silva then pressed the pace to hit the 1200M in 3:12 – followed by Garrett Lee.  Silva then rolled to victory in 4:12.o5 crossing the line ahead of a resurgent Keith Williams, who closed well to take second in 4:12.56.  Garrett Lee secured third in 4:13 to edge Amos Bartelsmeyer, who was credited with essentially the same time. 

       The 800 Meter featured Canadian Tyler Smith, who had missed a number of weeks of training with a hip pointer, yet true to his style Smith valiantly went to the front early.   He looked fluid through a first lap in 55.0 but was followed closely by Eugene Hamilton & Texan Chris Ibarra.   Smith’s lack of recent base came into play late but one has to respect his style but, as he tightened a bit in the homestretch both Hamilton & Ibarra swept past him with the O’ Dowd runner topping his Texas challenger by .11 of a second to win in 1:50.19.   Tyler followed with 1:51.47 & Ivan Gonzalez nipped fellow Californian Alex Grigoriev of San Diego with both running 1:52.  Drew Schreiber of Eisenhower HS in Yakima took fifth with 1:52.96.   Jordon Wallin of Idaho (Rocky Mountain) ran 1:53 to finish 8th behind Omar Solis.   Cody Johnson of San Lorenzo Valley coached by former Centennial (Or) standout Rob Collins ran 1:53 for ninth, while Thomas Rigby of Idaho placed 11th with 1:54.

     Shea Martinez doubled back in the 800 Meter Run to annex her second title with 2:09.26.   Courtney Clayton of Illinois was an extremely close second with a fine 2:09.30.  Kylie Goo of California came in third (2:11) and Daniel Jones of Arizona followed with 2:12.   Carina Gillespie of San Diego ran 2:13 to edge Alimatu-Sadia Ibrahim of Santa Rosa. Running solid races in other heats of the 800 were northwest runners Dana Snell of Idaho (12 – 2:17), Lauren Perry of Richland (20 – 2:18), Darryl Phill of Bellarmine Prep (28 – 2:19), Emily Hamlin of Boise (37 – 2:23) and Kaylee Oyler, also from Rocky Mountain in Idaho (40 – 2:26).   

       The region also had success in the 400 meter Dash with Marcus Chambers of Henry Foss victorious with 46.62.  Frank Kurtz & Christian Carter both ran 47 to lay stake to second third, while Josh Wallin of Idaho was 7th with 48.73.    Shamier Little of Illinois was easily the best of the girls with her 54.49.   Lauren Baxter of Timpview in Idaho took second with 55.28 & Laura Anuakpado was right behind in 55.82.   Ellie Heiden of Kamiakin was a very solid fourth with 56.52 and Hannah Derby of Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma claimed 8th with 57.86.   All are very fine times for this early in the season.   All in all it was a great showing for athletes from the region.