Thursday was another non-eventful day on the home front for Stanford track and field, with most of the action taking place at the NCAA West Regional in Austin, Texas. The freshmen male distance runners met early this morning for their longer run of the day as per usual. What was left of the male and female distance squads reconvened in the mid-afternoon for their shake-out runs, drills and strides, and both groups will meet early tomorrow morning at the track for their workouts.
On Saturday morning, we’ll join up for our long run and then run on our own on Sunday. The regional team and the coaching staff will arrive back on campus on Sunday, and practice will feel a little more normal on Monday. But this is the nature of track and field—even while your coaches and teammates are competing a couple of states away, the contingent back at home must continue to work hard, as most of us represent the future of the program.
Coach Milt has really encouraged us freshmen to keep on our normal routines, even though the coaches won’t be around as much. This group has been doing a great job of doing just that, and I think it has shown our discipline and commitment to the team. Hopefully, we’ll all be competing at the regional next year.
Back to the races in Texas. The highlight of the day was Kori Carter winning her heat of the 400-meter hurdles, advancing to this evening’s national quarterfinal. It was also a quite successful day for our trio of female half-milers, Justine, Amy and Claudia. All three made it through to today’s regional final, with Amy and Justine winning their respective heats. Australian 400-meter Olympic finalist Steve Solomon finished second in his heat of his signature event, moving on to the national quarterfinal this evening.
The dramatics for the day were provided courtesy of Mike Atchoo, who used a furious kick over the final 50 meters of his 1500-meter prelim to squeeze into Saturday’s regional final. Mike finished fourth in his heat, where third to seventh was separated by one-tenth of a second. Some of us gathered in the locker room to watch his race online, with most of us pulling our hair out over the final 200 meters, thinking he may not make it. But Mike’s lean at the line ensured the preservation of his season, and the guys at home breathed a collective sigh of relief when the official results were put up. C’mon Mike, you almost gave us a heart attack!
Non-advancers from their first round preliminaries included thrower Geoff Tabor, freshman sprinter Kristyn Williams, 1500-meter runners Molly MacNamara, Tate Murray, Justin Brinkley and Marco Bertolotti, and hurdler Kala Stepter.
This is last blog post in this installment. I would like to thank the powers that be at The Daily for allowing me to give the Stanford community a small glimpse at our program and what occurs on a daily basis for Stanford track and field. Thanks for reading!