Miles rebounded for the 4 x 800. He ran the first leg and gave the baton to Luke Crossley, with a 10+ m lead. Luke passed to Mitch Johnson and Mitch to David Endicott. Luke and Mitch ran alone; there was no one near them. By the time Mitch passed to David the team had a 100 m lead. David did not run alone but only because he was close to lapping the last place team. They (the RHS team) crossed the finish line at 7:59.79, shattering their previous school record by 13 seconds. Miles was a very happy boy.
And the meet just kept getting better. Day 2 of the Region Championships was outstanding. Phenomenal. Epic. Five days later, it is still all that Miles talks about.
Roy’s 4 x 100 relay team is one of the best in the state. Anchored by Parker Kingston, RHS’s quarterback (a junior who came out for track for the first time this year and who has seen great success), the team is fast. When Parker got the baton, on the final curve and coming into the straightaway, he was behind by 4 yards. Four yards is a lot of distance to make up in 100 meters, especially when one is racing the fastest person on every team. Parker is a powerful runner and power is the word I must use to describe his sprint. He powered past the other runners and won the race by 0.1 second (43.20). Parker roared as he crossed the finish line first. He was not the only one roaring; I think the entire Roy crowd joined him.
Grandpa/Coach Hislop has been coaching Miles and his “homies” (Luke, Mitch, and David) this season. Before the 800 m, Coach Hislop grabbed Mitch’s hand, shook it, and said “I want to be the first to congratulate you on placing from the slow heat.” Mitch’s 800m time got him a seed in the slow heat and Grandpa knew he could run faster enough to earn a place and points for his team. Grandpa told him to take control of the race, to run in the front from the first, and to drive with all he had to the finish line.
And Mitch did just as he was told. He took control of the race and led the entire first lap. It was beautiful to watch him. On the back stretch of the second lap, three runners passed him. As they rounded the final turn, he passed them and re-took the lead. “I heard Lance tell me to get in position to pass so I did,” Mitch said. “It was like I had a target on my back so those three runners were gunning for me. Then as soon as they passed me they slowed down so I passed them back.” And he did. He re-took the lead and drove all the way home, crossing the finish line in 1:59.67, a time that earned him 8th place overall, and got a point for the team. He did it! He placed in the meet even though he was not in the fast heat. Oh man. OH MAN! It was so beautiful to watch. Mitch ran so smart and so strong and so courageously. When those three runners passed him, he could have very easily given up—many runners do in that situation—but not Mitch. He kept his head and his pace and ran with his heart. SO COOL!
Miles, Luke, and David were in the fast heat of the 800 m. Their goal was to run both laps sub-60-second pace. Again, it was an awe-inspiring race. Luke took the lead as they came around the first bend. This fall Luke was Roy High’s number one cross country runner then, early in 2021, complications from COVID landed him in the ICU at Primary Children’s Hospital; he struggled to run a 10-minute mile at the beginning of March. “The pace wasn’t fast enough,” he said. So he took the lead. Luke! Dude!! Fearless. Absolutely fearless. I cannot fathom the courage it took to take the lead, to trust his body, to throw caution to the wind and lay it all on the line, given his recent medical challenges.
Luke led most of the race. Miles ran in the fifth spot. David ran between the two of them. The front pack was tight, strong, and fast. Around the last bend the two runners behind Miles were gaining on him. Lance feared they would pass him. “Hold on Miles!” he yelled. And then, with about 80 meters to go, Miles changed gears. Gone were the fears that he would be passed; he took off. At this point, a Fremont High runner had passed Luke. David and a boy from Syracuse High fanned out, hoping to pass Luke as well. Seeing an opening in lane 1, Miles passed the Syracuse runner and David, his teammate, on the inside. “He is passing on the inside,” I exclaimed incredulously. “Is he? Yes, he is. He is. He is passing on the inside!” Then, just in front of the finish line, he passed Luke. And he was gaining on the Fremont runner who placed first. Miles placed second (1:58.34), Luke was third (1:58.58) and David finished 5th (1:58.89) Roy High picked up 4 places in the 800 m-- 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 8th---to earn 19 points for the team.
The team standings were unclear when the final race started. It appeared to be a contest between Roy and Syracuse for the region title. And what a race it was!
The final race was the 4 x 400 m relay. When Colby Anderson, the fourth and final runner, got the baton, he was 10 m behind the lead runner. Ten meters!! But he did it. Colby went hunting. Hunting. And he found his target, passing the Syracuse runner at the line. RHS: 3:25.93. Syracuse: 3:25.97. And the crowd went wild. WILD!!!!
The 4 x 400 m relay victory iced the win. Roy High took the Region Championship with 143.5 points to Syracuse’s 132.5 points. Davis came in third with 111 points.
RHS’s football coach, Freddie Fernandez, was at the meet. While there he overhead some other coaches discussing the probable outcome. “The winner of the region championship will be either Davis or Syracuse,” they said. Coach Fernandez asked, “What about Roy?” “No way,” they responded. “Roy does not have enough depth.”
RHS swept the relays; they won all four. And placed 4 runners in the 800 m. And won three individual events: 100 m (Parker Kingston), 300 m hurdles (Mason Thueson), and javelin (Reese Jones). Guess we had enough depth!
GO ROYALS GO!!!