“April is a promise that May is bound to keep” – Hal Borland
Throughout the season there are many stepping stones and benchmark meets that help define the progress of our athletes and the team as a whole. One of the stepping stones is the April Showers Relays, a relay meet that offers a variety of events; some that we are very familiar with (4×100, 4x200m, 4x400m, 4x800m) and some that are unique and outside the traditional realm (Sprint Medley Relay, Distance Medley Relay, Shuttle Hurdles, etc). Relay meets like this, allows for us to place kids in unfamiliar roles, forcing 4 individuals to come together and work in unison. Not only as a coach, but even as an athlete, I’ve always viewed relays as the ultimate indicator of team strength and team trust. Running on a relay means that you have 3 other individuals who are trusting that you put them in a position to succeed and even if things aren’t going well, you compete with pride for the name across the singlet and the baton in your hand. Saturday proved to be a day that showcased that our guys have the utmost trust and pride within themselves and each other. In short, it was a pretty good day!
The morning began with picture perfect weather, which was quite the contrary to the previous 2 years ASR had (2014 had frost on the ground, 2013 rained all morning). Although a varsity meet, the morning kicks off with a JV 1600 that allows for unlimited entries, which meant that every distance boy had an opportunity to get work done under ideal conditions. 16 boys competed in the event and 10 came out with new Personal Records and 2 more were within 1-second of their PR’s! Not a bad haul by this group of boys!
Leading the way was Sam Jyawook (4:52.43, 7th) who worked from the back of the chase pack and did a nice job staying with the leaders. Although he came up just shy of his goals for the day, Sam is showing a great level of consistency and is ready for his breakthrough performance! Next we saw a trio of Eagles finish together, Caleb Spall (5:02.08), Zach Reynolds (5:02.71) and Garrett Peck (5:03.18). The three finish with similar times, but ran very different races. Caleb has shown that he likes to get out and get in the mix of what’s happening up front, Zach on the other hand stayed a few strides behind and worked a more even splitted race and Garrett once again showcased his scorching finish speed – he was possibly 50m behind Caleb with a lap to go! Behind them was Nick Angerman (5:08.88) and Liam Smith (5:09.25). It wasn’t Nick’s best day, but he did a great job in not giving up and stayed close to the pack he was competing against. For Liam, this was his first race of the year and he won his heat (!), showing much promise and potential in this event. Justin Michele (5:11.75), Cooper Klein-Kassab (5:12.70) and Kobi Eichner (5:14.88) were the next group of guys to finish. For Justin, it was another confidence booster, 2 PR’s in 2 races off of PT. Although Cooper struggled at the end of his race due to the aggressive effort early on, he still held on to a new PR and Kobi just missed his PR, but had an 8-second improvement from his previous race. We continue on with another group of 3 runners, Sabir Islam (5:19.83), Ben Shotwell (5:20.27), and Toby Valentino (5:20.58) did a great job racing together and not against each other. Ben and Toby set new PR’s and Sabir just missed his PR by just 0.08! Alejandro DeKeyser (5:53.13) was able to get under the 6:00-mark in his first race. He had one heck of a from 150m showing that there is much more left in the tank and a lot of untapped potential! Dylan Reynolds (6:01.30), Colin Van Loo (6:03.86) and Yunfei Ma (6:10.07) all just missed the 6:00-barrier, but are looking stronger and stronger each time they touch the track. This group of boys exemplify consistency and hard work and we couldn’t have been more proud of how they set the tone for the team in the first event of the day. Good work fellas!
In the Field, the day began with Hunter Goodman (106’ 11.00”) and Gabe Kardia (100’ 4.00”) setting new PR’s and both topping 100 feet in the Discus! For Hunter it was an improvement of a couple feet, but Gabe showed great improvement by throwing over 20 feet further than his previous best! Unfotunately, Sherwin Valentine (75’ 8.00”) was a bit off in the Disc, but rebounded nicely in the Shot Put, throwing 36’ 7.00”. In the Shot, there was a little bit of a role reversal as Sherwin had the better day and Hunter (35’ 6.50”) experienced a down day. Although his throw was the shortest of the 3, Gabe was still able to set a new PR at 32’ 3.25” before venturing over to the Pole Vault (yeah, he’s definitely our Mr. Field Event). In the Vault, Gabe wasn’t able to match his PR, but did show much consistency in his jumps, finishing with a clearance of 10’ 6.00”.
There were a couple of last minute changes that had to happen in the sprints relays and the 4x200m was one of them, but it seemed that a last minute substitution was no problem for these boys. The crew of Brandon Boyd (, Kyle Sowell-Peeples, Jacob Windsor and Tim Nelson-Slaton finished in 12th with a time of 1:35.01. About 1.5 seconds off of their performance from Tuesday, but again with a last minute substitution, the boys were able to manage some fairly clean hand-offs and the race was highlighted by Tim’s anchor split of 22.8 to claim a victory in their heat! His split is the fastest 200m ran in program history! Nice work
Turning right around and racing in the following event, the 900 hurdle relay, was Tim (45.14), Kyle (44.63) joined by Alec Pinson (46.16). In this race, the boys compete individually in the 300 hurdles then their times are added up to produce a relay time. This allows for runners to use their times for Regional seeding (if needed) and still promote the relay concept – a win-win scenario if you ask me! Several schools have one, maybe two guys with some fire power, but not many have 3 guys with 45.xx talent and for their collective efforts, this relay picked up some hardware, placing 6th overall with a time of 2:15.93
In the Long Jump we saw Brenden Edmunds (15’ 6.50”) and Logan Perkins (16’ 10.50”) continued to learn and improve in their new craft. Even though the two didn’t set any PR’s with the continued reps in the event, their breakthroughs are just around the corner! Keep it up fellas!
In the Varsity 1600 Abe Rycus (4:44.77, 14th) finished 3rd in his heat. Abe started his race in about 6th-8th place at the end of the first lap and patiently worked his way up the field, conserving energy and building momentum as the race progressed. With 500m left in the race, two guys made a big push and thinned out the chase pack instantly. The move may have surprised Abe (typically kids have a habit of making their move lap-by-lap) as he was caught off guard and now had a bigger deficit to make up. With 300m to go, he made for a bigger push and started to reel the 2 guys in, but unfortunately ran out of race distance. Although left feeling disappointed, Abe still had a very solid race and gain some new race experience that he definitely learned from. In the 2nd heat, Anthony Giannobile (4:20.14, 1st) had “the shot heard round the world” blowing out the competition by 6-seconds! His main competition in the race were a pair of returning All-State 800 and 1600 runners. At the cut-in (300m) it looked as if they decided to tuck-in behind Anthony to try and conserve energy, but instead of worrying about the competition, Anthony kept going on like a man on a mission (full steam-ahead). Leading the way with splits of 63.8 (at 400m) and 2:10 (at 800m), he kept the pace going and by 1,000m he had broken away from the rest of the field! Running the rest of the way solo Anthony showed much poise and determination, showing that he has the potential to be one of the premier milers in the State. When it was all said and done, he came off the track with a new school record and ranked as the #2 Freshman Miler in the Nation!
After back-to-back events where Eagles placed/medaled, the Sprint Medley Relay (400m-200m-200m-800m) of Windsor, Boyd, Jordan Tirico and Jon Russell were hyped out of their minds and determined to keep the team momentum going. Windsor ran a much more aggressive race than compared to his showing on Tuesday, resulting in a PR split of 53.50! With smooth hand off’s, the speedster dual of Brandon and Jordan gave Jon a 40m lead going into the final leg of the relay. With a cushioned lead and another race ahead, Jon raned a very controlled leg on the anchor and cruised to a heat victory and a final finish of 4th overall (3:51.79). Had they been in the other heat, there is no doubt that a challenged Jon would have came home with the overall victory, but regardless it was nice to see the boys pick up some medals and run some great splits!
In the final field event, the High Jump, Tim Nelson-Slaton and Alec Pinson unfortunately had an off day and both guys NH’ed (No Heighted). For Alec, this is a another new event this year as he was predominately a quarter-miler last season. His tremendous attitude and ability to pick up these new events is something to keep an eyes on because he’s going to be able to not just provide more depth in various events, but also transition into a complete athlete.
Next up was the 4x100m of Tirico, Logan Perkins, Brenden Edmunds and Brandon Boyd. This was another relay that had a last-minute substitution with Logan getting plugged in, but regardless of the line up the boys hand some smooth exchanges and placed 9th overall in 45.78 – just 0.56 out of placing! Jordan led off this race in spectacular fashion as if he was shot out of a cannon give Logan the baton tied for the lead. It looked like he was a little flustered through his first handful of steps, but Logan was able to refocus and dial back in nicely getting Brenden the baton maybe a step or 2 behind the leaders. Slowly becoming a master of running the curve, Brenden made up whatever lost ground (if any) there was and passed the baton a half-step in the lead. With the clean hand-off, Brandon sailed to the finish line building a bigger lead and the team picked up another heat victory! Nicely done guys!
The relay events our boys were entered in came to a final with the Distance Medley Relay (1200m-400m-800m-1600m), which on paper was the strongest assembled of all of our relays. The goal for Conor Donnelly, Tim Nelson-Slaton, Anthony Giannobile and Jon Russell was to shoot for the win and get a school record in the process. If you guessed they did it you were right, but it didn’t happen without some heavy competition from Saline and Pinckney. Conor Donnelly led off the relay running the 1200m leg, which tends to throw more kids off than you’d think. An odd race that should be treated more like the 800m than the mile, Conor executed it well and as long as he could running through the 800m at 2:10 on the nose. That aggressive nature was required to ensure the relay stays close to the leader as the chase pack was 40m behind. The hard pace did take its toll on Conor as he didn’t have his usual strong finish, but he was still able to finish with a split of 3:20. With a 6-7 second deficit, and the 3rd place team creeping up, Tim took the baton early in the exchange zone to gain back as much momentum as possible. Although he wasn’t able to reel in the Saline runner he did pull away and put some distance on the team from Pinckney. That was Tim’s 3rd running event of the day and he was still able to pull off a 54.9 split! Next up was Anthony on the 800m leg, looking much more under control compared to his first attempt on Tuesday. He flew through the 400m at 58.4 and looked to make a move on the turn going into back stretch to close the gap on Saline, but his race from earlier may have depleted him as he wasn’t able to close the race as well as he had hoped. Anthony finished with a time of 2:04.6 and managed to put a little more distance on Pinckney. With 50m between Jon and Saline’s anchor he knew that with 4 laps left, there was plenty of time to reel him in and expend his energy efficiently. Keeping that in mind he was still able to cruise through the 400m at 65.4, then the 800m at 2:15.8. Although Jon’s 3rd lap was his slowest (72.5) he was able to catch up to the leader and make his move with 450m left in the race. At each turn and straightaway it seemed as though Jon was picking up the pace more and more creating an insurmountable lead and came away with a team victory and a new school record of 10:58.12 and just missed his PR with a split of 4:35.8. All in all, it was a great day for the Eagles!