Hot days expected for state track meet at Buchanan
One year after the CIF State Track and Field Championships ended wet and in 60-degree temperatures at Buchanan High’s Veterans Memorial Stadium, it will begin Friday dry and at 100.
So says the weather forecast and such is life in the Central Valley.
“It’s crazy this time of year,” says Buchanan coach Brian Weaver, the state meet director for a fourth straight year at his school.
Bears 1,600-meter runner Cody Brazeal welcomes heat crazy as opposed to cold crazy: “I think we have the advantage because we’re used to heat and changes in temperature.”
A junior and the fastest 1,600 runner in Central Section history at 4 minutes and 7.72 seconds, he’s slightly favored to become the section’s first boys gold medalist in the event since the state meet converted from yards to meters in 1980.
The last section boy to win the mile was Reedley’s Bob Seaman in 1953.
Preliminaries are Friday as the 94th edition of the nation’s most prestigious state meet begins with field events at 3 p.m. and running events at 5. Finals will follow Saturday at 4:30 p.m. and 6.
Brazeal will run the second 1,600 heat Friday at 5:56 p.m., when temperatures promise to remain near 100.
Hydration is the key, and those in the know won’t wait.
Brazeal began consuming extra fluids Wednesday: “You have to stay hydrated well in advance.”
Weaver, a nine-time Bee Coach of the Year in cross country and track and field, adds: “It doesn’t matter how much water you drink the day of the meet; the body can only absorb so much at a time. We began talking to our kids a week out what they need to do.”
Amy Weissenbach is observing with interest from afar.
It was in the Clovis chill and rain a year ago that the Harvard-Westlake of North Hollywood long-strider thrilled a crowd of more than 7,000 by clocking a National Federation High School all-time record of 2 minutes, 2.04 seconds in the 800 final.
And it was in the Cerritos wind and 50-degree temperatures a week ago that she timed 2:05.55 — No. 1 in the state this season and No. 3 nationally — to win the Southern Section Masters.
Friday, she’ll fire in an 800 heat a little past 7:30 p.m. in a 40-degree temperature increase.
“I don’t usually like heat very much,” says Weissenbach, who’s headed to run in the Northern California cool at Stanford in college. “But I actually tightened up last week, and I won’t have to worry about that happening this time. If I stay hydrated, I’ll be fine.”
Hagen Reedy, like Buchanan teammate Brazeal, applauds the weather forecast: “I love it, actually.”
And as a 3,200-meter runner, she’ll run four more laps than Brazeal.
But 3,200 runners catch a break in that the race is the only one of the 16 events for both boys and girls that does not involve preliminaries. They will go directly to one-race, 32-runner fields Saturday at 8:46 p.m. (girls) and 9:03 (boys).
Temperatures are expected to cool Saturday by 6 degrees, not that Reedy wants them to: “If it’s 95, not a problem.”
Her primary problems are Sarah Baxter and Laura Hollander.
The runners from Simi Valley and Marina-Huntington Beach arrive with the nation’s leading 3,200 times at 10:08.11 and 10:10.51.
Then there’s Anna Maxwell of San Lorenzo Valley-Felton with the nation’s No. 6 10:21.04 and Reedy with the No. 7 10:21.68.
Reedy’s time is best all time for a girl runner from within the section’s natural boundaries. Jordan Hasay ran a 9:52.13 for Mission Prep when the San Luis Obispo school was part of the section in 2008.
Reedy’s time would have also won 13 state 3,200-meter races in the past 20 years.
But to catch defending champion Baxter, a sophomore, and Hollander will require something short of a miracle, though she’s beaten Hollander before.
Reedy (17:27) and Hollander (17:32) ran 1-2 over 3.1 miles in Division I in the CIF State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park in November. Baxter (17:08), daughter of 1990 Fresno High graduate Kevin Baxter, ran away with the D-II title the same day.
“My dream goal is to win,” Reedy says, “but I’m mainly focused on getting to top three. And I know top three would get me a fantastic time.”
By Andy Boogaard