Anderson wins two at state
LAKEWOOD – Whitney Anderson didn’t think she could beat her personal best 3,200-meter time in Colorado. Racing last year in Alaska, she finished in 11 minutes and 10 seconds.
But the Summit High School junior surprised herself and amazed the crowd at the 2004 Colorado High School 4A State Track and Field Meet by demolishing both her personal record, surpassing the state record by almost eight seconds and winning her second state title in two days.
“I thought I could never run under 11:10,” Anderson said of her finish in 11:03.61. “You just put your mind to it and race your guts out. You can do it, you know?”
The previous 4A state record of 11:11.47 was set by Calley Nelson of Florence High School in 1990.
On Friday, Whitney beat Heather Loseke of Pueblo East High School in the 1,600, foreshadowing her dominating victory over Loseke in the 3,200.
Coach Rob Royer said the Anderson sisters clocked personal best times in the race.
“Whitney was the underdog going in, so it was pretty cool,” Royer said. “They both went out and ran their best races.”
A few drops of rain fell from the single dark cloud above the stadium, but the rain held off, creating an ideal temperature for a new 4A state record.
Anderson battled with Loseke, the defending 3,200 state champion, from the start. It looked as though it would come down to a final sprint until Anderson pulled away during the fifth of eight laps.
“I knew I could get her, because she was going out pretty determined and strong in the first few laps,” Anderson said. “I just didn’t look back at all (after I passed her) and it really helped me run a solid pace throughout the race.”
Anderson said she tried to run each lap faster than the previous one, as opposed to another typical strategy of running consistent lap times.
“It was amazing,” she said. “I’ve never really raced a race like that before. (Loseke) helped me keep it strong at the beginning.”
Whitney’s older sister Sierra also had an exciting race, beating Ashlyn Rhule of Mountain View High School for third place in the last few feet. After Whitney and Loseke distanced themselves from the pack, Sierra settled into third place ahead of Rhule. It looked as though she would remain there for the rest of the race.
But in the fourth lap of the eight-lap contest, Rhule pulled ahead.
“I just had to think, ‘I can’t try and pass her because she’s going at a good pace,'” Sierra said. “The gap just kept widening and closing.”
Sierra stuck on Rhule’s heels through the remainder of the race, waiting until the final stretch to make her move.
“I turned it on at the last corner,” she said. “I just had to go all out, and that definitely killed me.”
Sierra collapsed after she crossed the line and stayed on the ground for several minutes. In Friday’s 1,600 final, she collapsed from dehydration after finishing in sixth place. Race officials advised against her competing in the 3,200, but Sierra shrugged it off.
“I just know I gave it my all, because I usually never collapse after a race,” Sierra said. “I had zero left in me. I don’t think I could have gone any harder, any longer.”
Sierra said the thought of placing third and standing next to her sister on the podium motivated her at the end of the race. “I’ve never stood on the podium before, so that was really exciting, to be able to do that at a state meet,” she said.
Whitney’s two state victories are the first Summit track championships since 1994, when Micaela Chestnut, Amy Mason, Mandy Moore and Kasia Wilkiewicz took the title in the girls 800-meter relay, according to Summit athletic director Gretchen Nies.
Dan Kelley can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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