nathan Weitz & Andrew Gardner
With three returnees from last year the guys’ race may have looked a bit more open than that of the girls but that was misleading. Those three runners all had very solid seasons, although Darren Fahy was the only one of the trio to remain undefeated. He notched major victories at Bronco, Clovis, Stanford and Mt. SAC before winning his division in the California State Meet in 15:03, which was the fastest time of the day. Both Andrew Gardner & Nathan Weitz may not have been undefeated but they had scored stunning times along the way: Gardner ran 14:38 at Mountain West, while Weitz ran 14:33 at Sundodger. Gardner, of course, had placed fourth at Foot Locker Nationals in 2010. Making it even more interesting was the fact that both runners had claimed victories over Fahy in the past. Although a couple of other runners had to be strongly considered including Californians Billy Gaudreau & C J Albertson, the fellow, who appeared the most likely winner outside of the trio was Dallin Farnsworth of Idaho. Dallin was a two-time State champion, who also rewrote the record books at Cardinal & the Tiger/Grizz. Dallin also won the major northwest meet at the Bob Firman.
Once underway it was Darren Fahy, who led the field to the corral area. Once on that basically flat expanse, however, he yielded the lead to an unknown runner, who opened up a sizable gap. As often happens in a marathon the unheralded runner scorched the path, as the cameras blazed away & focused on him. His 800 meter split was definitely quite serious, however, for it was announced as a rather withering 2:19. He even continued to hold a twenty meter lead over the pack, when he headed towards the mile mark, which preceded the “switch-backs.” His mile time is a question but he was not too far ahead of Fahy, who came through the mile in a time of 4:41.
DallinFarnswrth on Poop Out
They all headed up that first hill but soon Darren went to the front and thereby showed his intent to control the race. He led a reasonably tight pack up the hill with Dallin Farnsworth just off his shoulder, as he had been for some time. The surprising thing was that the immediate pack did not include either Weitz or Gardner, although looming close early were Kyle Thompson & Travis Neuman of Oregon. They were both underclassmen (Thompson a sophomore & Neuman a junior), yet they were both State champions. Nathan went through the mile in a conservative 4:50, while Gardner was even more cautious with about a 5:00. The pace was hardly capable of dropping runners out of the pack but then again, the course had serious hills, which were capable of taking care of that issue on their own.
Fahy continued to lead after they came down the grade and made his way through the cross-over area of the “airstrip.” It was 7:52 into the race and soon the race began in earnest, as they headed up the feared “poop-out” hill. Fahy stated that he was trying to relax up the hills, yet he began to pull ahead of his challengers of whom Dallin Farnsworth was the closest at the time. Still Dallin was about ten yards back, while he was closely pursued by an unidentified runner, who had a solid fifteen meter lead over a trio, which appeared to include Nathan Weitz, who had been moving up for some time. Right behind Weitz at that point was Californian Myles Smith, who held a slight lead over yet another runner.
Old “Poop-out” actually takes a right turn where it appears from the corral area to end but the runners only get about ten meters of flat respite before it begins another moderate grade. It can be disheartening for the unprepared but Darren moved out and expanded the lead even further on the downhill. Soon after that he reached the two mile mark in 9:56, which was quite fast considering the two climbs. Idaho’s Farnsworth remained in second, as they headed for the first of “Reservoir’s” two peaks but Nathan Weitz, who had been intent upon keeping Fahy within his sights was closing in on second place. He was surprised to hear breathing, as he made the climb, and was pleasantly surprised that it was Andrew Gardner, who had been reeling in runners by the score it seemed. The two Spokane runners, who were representing Team Bloomsday proceeded to work together on “Reservoir.”
They slowly began to reel Farnsworth in despite the fact that Dallin had held something in reserve as well, but on the final downgrade, it was Weitz, who began to forge ahead. Gardner was closing in but decided the main goal was to qualify, so the team mates soon parted company. Well ahead Darren Fahy had not only opened up on the hill, but he thrown in a surge on the “airstrip.” Despite those moves Nathan Weitz was making up ground. He caught and passed Farnsworth and cut the gap over Fahy. For a time it looked like Nathan might have a real shot at the leader but Darren had left more than a bit in reserve and once again threw in a surge. The end result saw him triumph in a time recorded as 15:29, which gave him just a second to spare over Nathan Weitz. Dallin Farnsworth finished well as he held off Andrew Gardner but they both were credited with 15:41. Billy Gaudreau, the California Division 5 champion, followed one second later to take fifth. Cameron Miller & Luis Luna, both from California earned sixth & seventh, as they both were timed in 15:43. C J Albertson and Myles Smith garnered the next two spots with their marks of 15:46 & 15:47 respectively. Kevin Durham (15:50) made it six straight Californians across the finish line and Utah State champion Ben Saarel placed eleventh to become the first alternate. Saarel also was the final runner to break sixteen minutes, as he finished in 15:59.
Twelfth place went to Cody Brazeal of Clovis, California in 16:02. Joshua Collins of Deer Park by Spokane took 13th and Washington 2A champion Patrick Gibson followed in 14th. Gibson will be the fifth-highest returner next year, which is promising. Ryan Silva of Tucson came in 15th in 16:07 and topped Hunter Johnson of Spokane by two seconds. California runners John Lawson and Seamus Land earned 17th & 18th respectively and Utah junior Jake Heslington placed 19th. Erik Harris of Twin Falls, Idaho rounded out the top twenty with his time of 16:16. Troy Fraley of Kalispell led Montana’s runners with his 29th place finish. Jackson Baker of Portland headed the Oregon contingent with his time of 16:34, which was good for 46th place & Hudson Eustace of Oregon was 52nd.
There were numerous other races making this a very large event. Morgan Choate earned a medal in the Senior Boys' race with his time of 17:50. California won both the girls’ & boys’ team races. The guys topped Utah 29 to 76, while Washington had 80 points. Arizona & Oregon finished fourth & fifth. In the girls’ team event California led Utah 19 to 51, while Utah placed third with 86. The spotlight now turns to Balboa Park in San Diego, where the nation’s top runners will take the field for the thirty-third edition of the Foot Locker series. Both races are much anticipated with the national title at stake. The West will be fielding a formidable team, as well as individuals, as evidenced by the day’s fine races. It is worthy of note that Darren Fahy ’s time was only eight seconds off the West record held by Seth Watkins.