Another year, another great meet at the Portland Track Festival. We look forward to seeing the middle school and high school races but the meet also gives elite athletes a tune up before USA Nationals. Lewis and Clark College was the venue for the former Adidas Track Classic, an IAAF Grand Prix meet. Top track athletes in the world would come through Portland and some would also compete at the Prefontaine Classic. There was a whole lot of cow bell in those days and the PTF brought back some memories. In 1998 Noureddine Morceli was here, his world record mile time coming in was 3:44.39. We were in the infield and I remember how relaxed he was before and after the race. Miler Paul McMullen was also at this meet, he had sliced off two toes the summer before while mowing the lawn but came back determined. This is the weekend we met Suzy Favor Hamilton who appeared on a cover of Youth Runner with some local kids. The greatest part of the Track Classic was that kids could meet the best in world right down on the track and get some autographs. Now, thanks to Craig Rice the PTF is on it's way to creating some new traditions for all of us. Plus as an added bonus there was some world class entertainment with bucket drummer Phil Bondy. (Look him up on You Tube to see more of his work)
First the big dogs, in the women's open 5000 it was an all star line up with Amy Yoder-Begley, Sara Slattery, Kellyn Johnson, Kim Conley, Amy Hastings, and Desiree Davila....who recently was the runner up at the Boston Marathon. Desiree led a good part of the race but Amy Hastings came up strong and won that race in 15:19.61. High school star Sara Baxter from Simi Valley, California ran a tough race with the big girls in 16:45.87. She is a HS Freshman and beat several of the elite runners. Erin Bergmann ran her last race as a high schooler in the same 1500 as Lauren Fleshman and did well.
Other highlights from the elite racers were Ian Dobson and Tony Okello in the men's 5000. The bonus for this race was that California HS Senior Lane Werley came up to give the 5000 a try and went 14:31.57. Lane is going to UCLA and did pretty well in the CIF State Meet with an 8:53.21 in the 3200.
Ok now for the good stuff! Starting with the middle school boys mile. Tristan Peloquin took it out early and strong for the win in 4:39.47 with Aaron Roe from the Cascade Striders next in 4:41.19. Andrew Vandine and Hayden Scott both ran gutsy races for 3rd and 4th. The rest of the boys crew include some tough kids who you will be sure to see through high school and some in the Junior Olympics through the summer. Competitors like Mark Sussman, Logan Phillips, Jackson Frank, Daniel Thompson, Alex Harbert, Wilder Boyden. The North Central kids from Spokane will likely be back with Ryan Frostad and Hank Knight.
For the middle school girls 1500 meter run it was Hazel Carr of Rain City and Brooke Starn of Oak Hill Racing in California. Brooke made a move and won the race in 4:49.65 with Hazel coming in at 4:51.25. Other racers included Nicole Griffiths, Brenna Peloquin, Kennedy Allen, Isabella Frey, and McKenna Martin.
In the high school boys mile Marcus Dickson from White River HS won with a 4:13.60 time and Twin Falls HS Erik Harris was close behind with a 4:15.77, Keither Williams from North Central in Spokane was 4:18.51. We hadn't seen Wolfgang Beck since the Oregon Twilight meet last year, he came in 4th.
High school girls ran a two miler. Emily Nist from Bishop Kelly HS won this one in 10:57.30 Bunched together for the finish were Kodiak's Jaymi Bethea, Sheldon's Gracie Todd, Christine Bayliss from Oak Hill Racing and then Kayla Freeman, Paige Rice and Rebecca Lassere. What a line up.
Check out the results and great photos from Curt Hawkinson.