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We're So Back
For those sharp-eyed Reasonably Readers among you, this week’s cover photo may look a little familiar. I swear, I’m not just being lazy. It’s because this year’s National team results are… well… a little familiar!
Individually, however, there were a number of fantastic performances that ought to be highlighted — and I intend to! But first, some housekeeping.
I’m back! Apologies for my unannounced absence — I switched from working two part-time jobs (which is a good schedule for newsletter writing but pretty rough for everything else) to working one full-time job (I’m a reporter for real news, too… and full-time now! That’s MISTER JOURNALIST Reasonably Speedy to you!). As the same may suggest, full-time work (especially an unpredictable job like local news), can wind up fully taking up your time. Admittedly, I’m still figuring out how to make this work, and RS might undergo some changes in that time. For example…
I think switching over to a Monday release schedule will allow me the wiggle room to get these out with consistency again. I have my weekends back (at last), and that allows me to talk about things a bit more as they happen, too.
I’m also looking to expand the crew a little bit. If you haven’t noticed — I’m terrible at social media! If anybody would be interested in acting as Reasonably Speedy Social Media Intern, please please please reach out1. I’m also thinking about dabbling in some workout/race videos (of y’all, not me), and maybe even dipping my toe into some podcasting2 — let me know what y’all think.
Okay, with that out of the way…….. NATIONALS!
Death, taxes, and Illinois women crushing the sprints. On these things I know I can rely.
Staring at the slew of fantastic sprint results this year, one can’t help but notice the depth Illinois and UConn have in the short events. This is news to no one — I won’t beat this dead horse. But with powerful performances from athletes like Melissa Aninagyei-Bonsu, Ari Afolabi, Alanna & Kayla Smith, Da’Miyah Morgan, and Ninawa Odicho, the overall quality of both teams was staggering.
If there were just one name to remember from Nationals, however, it might well be Sarah MacDonald, who locked down national titles in both the 100m and the 200m in 12.93 and 26.58, respectively. She’d be rivaled closely, however, by Illinois’ Tyler Klein, who managed to do the same. Klein won the 100 in a commanding 10.98 (the only one under 11) and the 200 in 21.93 (the only one under 22) — AND THE 400 in 48.74 (the only one under 49). I mean DAMN. Tyler’s been a force to be reckoned with for several seasons now, but it was good to see him finally take home some titles.
The aforementioned Ninawa Odicho took home the W in the women’s 400, running 60-flat to take down the field. Claire Biegalski defended her title in the 100 hurdles, and VT’s Bishop Boutin won the 110 hurdles. Wisconsin had another hurdle champ over 400m — Lily Hamacher, who ran 65.22 — and Stanford’s Robert Wood snagged the win in the men’s 400h (outleaning Boutin in 55.10).
I don’t think y’all understand how bad I wish I was in Michigan for Nationals. Not to race, mind you3, but just to watch some of these races. Being a distance guy myself, I've made no bones about the fact that distance running is the area of this sport I best understand. And, understanding what I do, I can't help but call some of these races what they were: ridiculous.
First of all, Ashley Heidenrich. That’s it. That’s all that needs to be said, really. Capping off a year that included an individual XC title and several league-leading marks, MRun’s Heidenrich took home a win in the 5,000m by ALMOST 90 SECONDS. Heidenrich finished in 17:02, which would have been impressive anyway, but crossed into bonkers territory when you notice that second-placer Diane Makovic crossed the line in 18:29. Sit & kick be damned! In the men’s 5000, Purdue’s Zami Moscoso took home the the title in 15:04, just sneaking past Ben Deguire (15:05) and beating a strong squad of MRun and Virginia Tech boys.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the distance spectrum, Aidan McCarthy turned up to prove that he’s still… well, he’s still Aidan McCarthy. Now competing in an Ohio State singlet, McCarthy won the 800m for the 2nd year in a row, clocking a time of 1:55.02. Laura Vanderweyen took the women’s title by over 2 seconds, running 2:16.95 for the win.
That 800m win, however, wasn’t even Vanderweyen’s first national title of the weekend. She also crushed the 1500 the day before, running 4:43 for a solid win over a tough field.
One of the best races of the meet, though, had to be the men’s 1500 — a race that somehow managed to be both a front-running slugfest and a sit & kick, tactical race. Allow me to explain:
When the gun went off, Minnesota’s Aleksander Wormuth set a hot pace early on, splitting 62/62 through the first 800 meters. Only two runners went with him — Owen Wollenberg of UConn and Jorden Sowash of Michigan. The chase pack strung out pretty immediately, but stayed a consistent 10-or-so meters back from the leaders. With about 250 to go, Sowash starts putting on the jets, passing Wormuth and Wollenberg just before the turn. 100m later, Wormuth hits back, pulling ahead again around the turn. But Sowash isn’t finished.
With so much excitement up front, you’d be forgiven for not paying attention to the chase pack. I even had to rewind the stream a bit to understand what happens next. But suddenly, with 100 to go, there aren’t three people fighting for the win — there are six or seven. A frankly heroic last 200m from Michigan’s Lincoln Johnston has reconnected the two groups of runners, and suddenly here comes Johnston storming down the outside lanes. Wormuth tries to respond, but while he’s focused on the outside, Jorden Sowash sneaks through along the rail and snatches his national title at the line, edging past Aleksander Wormuth by just .03 seconds. Johnson was just behind, finishing in 3:59.80 to Wormuth’s 3:59.44. When the dust finally settles, the top 5 runners have all finished within a second of each other, and the top 9 finished within 2 seconds of Sowash. It was, to put it mildly, a helluva race.
You can go back and watch the (admittedly grainy) race footage here (skip to about 3:40:00 to see the final heat).
Apologies once again for the delay in getting this written and published. Life comes at you fast, and as any runner will tell you, these things are all about momentum. We’re back on the train. Club or die, baby!
This would, of course, be an unpaid “internship,” but I’d send you a t-shirt.
Just what the world’s been missing! A scruffy-haired white guy with a podcast!
I’ve crunched the numbers, fellas, and I would have gotten a cool last place in the 5000m by about a margin of about a minute