Hasay wins U.S. Junior Champs
The 15-year-old Mission Prep sophomore won the cross country race she had pointed toward for months, the USATF Junior Nationals girls Junior Division event, going away Saturday.
Hasay took charge from the beginning, opening a 30-meter lead at the five-minute mark, and led from start to finish. The Arroyo Grande resident won the 6 kilometer race, on a golf course across from the University of Colorado, in 21:44. North Carolina State freshman Bona Jones was the runner-up in 21:58.
This was the first year Hasay was old enough to run in the race. The three-time All-American (twice in cross country, once in track and field) won the 2005 girls FootLocker cross country national championship as a freshman.
She and her coach, Dr. Armando Siqueiros, switched her cross country training program in hopes of peaking for the 2006 FootLocker nationals and then the meet Saturday, but things didn't work out for Hasay.
Dogged by nerves that led to a lack of sufficient sleep the two nights before, Hasay finished 10th at the FootLocker Nationals. She and Siqueiros decided afterward that Hasay would switch back to her old training program.
All those past miles, “helped me in the high altitude, I think,” Hasay said.
The top six finishers in the girls and boys races qualified for the U.S. Junior Nationals team that will race in the Junior World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa, Kenya March 24 but, “I don't know yet if I'll go,” said Hasay.
If she goes, “It'll really push back the track season, and I don't (like) that.” If she races in Kenya, Hasay's first track race will likely be April 7 at the Arcadia Invitational.
That would leave her less than two months until the CIF State Track and Field Championships. Hasay is the defending state girls 3,200 meter champion.
“I heard a lot of the (eligible) Open Division runners won't go,” to Mombasa, said Hasay. “You have to get a shot before you go, and I heard security's really tight. Besides, I'll probably be going to,” the Junior Worlds Track and Field Championships in the Czech Republic later this year.
“I have to decide by Thursday,” whether or not she'll run in Kenya in March.
Hasay surged through the first mile Saturday in 5:26. “I went out too fast for that altitude,” she said. “At the finish, I was hardly able to breathe. The altitude caught up with me. I was just happy to finish.”
Hasay laughed. “I thought ‘why are they going so slow?' Then I heard my time at the mile. I thought ‘they're not going slow.' I was expecting them to come after me, but they never did.
“I was glad because if they had, I wouldn't have had much of a kick.” The course consisted of three laps of two kilometers each and, “The altitude started to get to me on the second lap.”
Hasay went into the Junior Nationals with a lot of confidence. Not only had she been feeling stronger in training, but she had clocked a recent 10:02 - though it's unofficial, that's her fastest time ever at the distance - 3,200 in a time trial at the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo track, Mission Prep's practice track.
“That helped get my confidence level back up,” said Hasay.
She gapped quite a field Saturday. Her competition was to include the entire 2005 FootLocker top five (Reno High School senior Marie Lawrence was battling bronchitis at race time). Among others, Hasay defeated Jones, who was the Nike Outdoor Nationals 2006 girls 10,000 meter champion and Aislynn Ryan.
Ryan won the 2004 FootLocker Nationals race as a high school junior and finished third there in 2005. Ryan runs for the University of Colorado now, and the course Saturday is her home one. DyeStat.com tabbed Ryan as the pre-race favorite and picked Hasay third, behind Jones.
“I think (Ryan) just had a bad day,” said Hasay.
Hasay also beat Aurora Scott, the 2006 FootLocker Nationals runner-up. Scott made the team, placing fourth in 22:06. Arizona State freshman Kari Hardt (third, 22:04), and University of Iowa freshman Jaclyn Burke (fifth, 22:16) rounded out the top six. Ryan ran a 22:19.
Franklin, Tenn. high school sophomore Kathy Kroeger won the girls 2006 FootLocker Nationals. She did not race Saturday.
“It hasn't really sunk in yet,” Hasay said afterward of her big win. “I'm really happy.
“It's nice to come back.”
Her sleep the night before the race? “I got 11 hours,” Hasay said, laughing.