4/25/2013 2:43:00 PM Reay sets new record in race of the year Justin Reay breaks 15-year-old record by 2-seconds, veterans ready for state while young runners show promising future
Ryan Talbot (left) and Justin Reay (right) hug after completing the 800-meter race in record time. Both runners set new school records and Justin set the new mark for all of Division-III. VVN/Travis Guy
Justin Reay, Ryan Talbot and Travis Okie are arguably the three best runners in Division-III track and field, but had never raced each other because Travis runs the 800-meter and above, and Justin and Ryan have been running in the 400-meter and below (save a few occasions Justin has run the 800 this season).
On April 23, that all changed when the three athletes stole the show at the Sedona Invitational and put on one of the most thrilling races of the season.
Justin and Ryan paced themselves behind the experienced 800 runner, until the final stretch when the sprinters gave it one final kick and passed Sedona Red Rock's Travis to deal him his first defeat by a D-III runner this season in the 800.
"We definitely were working together," Justin said. "Me and Ryan, we're 400 runners and we've raced each other so many times. We didn't know how to run the 800 ... [we decided] to stay right behind Travis, because he knows what he's doing, we didn't know. We decided to pace off of him the first lap and that last stretch, if we were even close to him, being 400 runners, being sprinters, we'll have this speed left to beat him. We pretty much stayed behind him that first lap and that last stretch, just gave it all we got and won."
The Camp Verde Cowboy set a new standard in D-III with the race, finishing in 1:55.52, barely edging out the previous mark, which was held by Travis. Ryan was just a beat behind Justin, finishing .34 seconds after him and Travis finished with a time of 1:56.26.
"I'm not going to lie, I was not expecting a win," Justin said. "I was pretty nervous, with him being No. 1, but getting out there, winning and then realizing that Ryan beat him too. That was awesome, because we're pretty good friends. That felt awesome. That was probably my best race this year, my most fun [race]."
On top of Justin setting the new D-III standard in the 800, he also broke a school record that was set by Chris Duncan about 15 years ago.
"He executed it perfectly, exactly what I asked him to do," said head coach Lori Showers. "I was so focused on Justin, I had no idea what the other two were doing. I had no idea Ryan was in second. I was so excited about his race, to me, that was the race of the year. The best competition he could ask for, good running conditions, just a perfect storm for a good race."
Even though the boys might have been the talk of the meet after the race, there was plenty of action leading up that moment and after.
Katie Wilson was coming an impressive shot put performance four days earlier at the Mingus Invitational, where she PRed by over two feet. Despite the strong showing, she had said that she was not happy with her discus because she had only broken 100-feet once this season. At Sedona she remedied that by flinging her disc 111 feet even, 12-feet over her mark from Mingus and nine inches shy of her PR.
"It felt so good," Katie said. "It was nice. Usually when I'm at Sedona meets, I get second or third, so it was really nice to actually, for once, get first. I was 9.5 inches away from my PR, its good that I'm starting to peak at the right time."
Despite the slow start to her season, Katie tossed her way to second in D-III in the discus and is holding steady in the shot put, and the Cowboy feels that she is beginning to peak at the right time.
"I was kind of hoping that I would hit 33 feet, but I was only three inches from my new PR, so I'm happy I'm finally staying in the 32's," Katie said. "I'm also peaking in shot, which is the perfect time to start peaking for state."
Also in the throwing pit, sophomore Viola Logston has been moving up the ranks of the division in the shot. She set a new PR at Sedona with a shot put throw of 34 feet 2.5 inches, to land in first in the frosh/soph division and third overall. Viola also garnered top frosh/soph honors in the discus by throwing 89 feet 3 inches, her second best throw of the season, but 8 feet shy of her PR.
"I felt really relaxed and everything went together, and I got off my toes, which I don't usually do," Viola said. "That was my goal for this year, to get past 33 feet 11 inches, which is the automatic qualifier, so I was really excited."
Senior Amanda Showers garnered one first place finish along with three second place finishes at Sedona. Her first place was in the 100-meter hurdles, where she ran it in 17.04 and came in second in the 300-meter hurdles (49.64), triple jump (31 feet 10.5 inches) and 4X400 relay (4:31.80). Amanda has kept her times and distances consistent for the most part this season, her 100 hurdles time was .01 off her season best, but her 300 hurdles time was almost 1.5 seconds off her season best and her triple jump was 9.5 inches from her top mark of the season, but she is staying in the general area of her results.
Fellow senior Donnie Buss also had a few top finishes of her own. She claimed her first top finish of the season when she jumped 4 feet 10 inches in the high jump. It is the same height she has been jumping all year, but it was enough to earn the Cowboy her first medal for 2013. The senior also finished fifth in the 200-meter race with a time of 29.54, third in the 300-meter hurdles (51.54) and was part of the 4X400 relay team.
Justin only competed in one other race at the invitational, running in the 100-meter race. The senior came in second, running the stretch in 11.58, just a heartbeat behind first place. This was actually Justin's slowest 100 of the season, .6 seconds behind his season best and .32 seconds above his average.
The boys' team will be losing Justin after this season, he is the lone senior, but from the performances and progression of the freshmen and sophomores, the Camp Verde boys' track and field team will have a bright future.
Leading the way will be sophomore Michael Malloy and freshman Luis Valdez. Luis has been running times that are comparable to Justin's times when he was a freshman and Michael has set three PR's this season, steadily increasing his times and distance.
"That was the best I've seen them run. They're also doing the same workouts and the same things that these older kids are doing," Showers said. "I don't think they've plateaued, but even if they don't make it to state, hopefully they peak in the next two meets and their times drop."
Luis competed for the first time in the 300-meter hurdles and despite not knowing the race and being afraid of tripping, the first year Cowboy finished the race in 47.24, good enough to earn him third in the frosh/soph division. He did grab top honors in the 100-meter race sprinting to the finish line in 12.34.
"Everyone kept on saying that if I concentrate on jumping over the hurdle, I could do it, but every time I kept thinking about it, I kept thinking that I was going to trip, every time, I was nervous," Luis confessed. "I'm happy I got third in that. It was scary too."
One of the highlights for four of the freshmen and sophomores was the 4X400 race. Since there were only a few relay teams between frosh/soph and varsity, the two divisions were lumped together. The team, consisting of Luis, Michael, Brent Miller and Rick King, left the tournament with a fifth place finish, but went up against the likes of Mingus Union's 4X4 squad and the No. 2 4X4 relay team in Division-IV form Canyon State Academy.
"It was really nerve racking and cold," Luis said. "Going against bigger competitors is like, going up against Olympic times and stuff like that. We had courage, we had power, we had everything we could do to come back and we were happy we got that far."
Michael secured two top-2 finishes at the meet. He won the 200 in the frosh/soph division with a time of 24.44, .01 seconds off his PR, and finished second in the discus with a distance of 111 feet 8 inches, 3 feet from first place.
"Michael was amazing in the 200. I just think, 'sophomore, boy he's ready to take off next year,'" Showers said.
The Cowboys have two more meets before state, The Yavapai County Track and Field Championships at Bradshaw Mountain on April 26, at 2 p.m., and the Snowflake Invitational on May 1. Those will be the last two chances for any Camp Verde athlete that has not already earned an automatic qualifier to earn one for the state tournament.
"I feel like the older kids, they're more seasoned and they understand what we're getting into in the next couple weeks," Showers said. "They're times are dropping, they're starting to peak, hopefully not too early, but their times are continuing to drop. We haven't seen a plateau or anything; they continue to go down, that's exciting. Obviously, Justin's race was an amazing race; I hope he can continue that. I believe he can drop both his 400 and 800 times. He's a strong kid, he works hard."