Regional and State Middle Distances
If you haven't heard/read about it, last weekend's boys 1600 was a barn burner. The paper's depiction makes it sound like Kyle Hanson would be and was the annointed regional champion and new meet record holder. Well, that wasn't decided until three fourth's through the final lap.
West Valley's Peter Noon had the state's fastest time with a 4:27 the week before and within two strides spectators could see that he wanted to control this race. Noon immediately strung out the field and blazed through the first 200 in 30 seconds and 400 in 62, with the fast kicking Hanson a good two seconds back. There were seven or eight runners under 67 seconds.
Noon led at 800 with a 2:08 and he had about three seconds on Hanson with a 3:16+ at 1200 meters. But on that homestretch Noon slowed slightly while his Lathrop rival was inching up. Maybe two seconds separated them with a lap to go. Not until the homestretch with about 120 meters to go did Hanson pass Noon. 4:24 and 4:25 respectively, both under the 20 year old region meet record, set by Eielson's David Dyer. The top seven runners in this race PR'd and six of them qualified for state.
A couple hours later it was Hanson again as the heavy favorite in the 800. This time he was forced to be the front runner, followed by teammate Ryan Kornkven and West Valley's Brandon Kowalkski, all three coming through 400 meters in under 60. Hanson looked in control the entire way, although a fast closing Kowalkski had a breakthrough race with 1:59.7, about 1 second behind Hanson, with Kornkven a solid 3rd in 2:01.8.
The state 1600 will be almost as intruiging as the 3200, with all the same players in the mix. Noon and Hanson will headline, but Kodiak's Christianson and Thomet who ran a tactical race in Palmer last weekend will no doubt be big factors. It's going to take a 4:20-4:22 to win it.
800 should come down to Hanson, Palmer's Day (1:59 this year), and Kowalksi, with Kornknven right in there for a possible top 3 finish.
The boys 4X800 should be very exciting with Palmer, Kodiak, and Lathrop all posting times in the 8:14-15 range. Look for sub 8:10 and maybe 8:05. The result of that race on Saturday morning could affect the 1600--that will be the story.
For girls, Morgan Dampier of Wassilla has the state's fastest times from every distance from 100 to 1600! An 800 m specialist she should dominate any race she enters.