Ella Hagen places sixth, resets own school record at final day of state track meet
Summit High School distance runner Ella Hagen may just be a freshman, but she has already accomplished more than the majority of high school distance runners do in their four-year high school careers.
After placing third as the sole freshman in the 3200-meter run on Saturday, May 21, Hagen returned to Jefferson County Stadium for the 4A Colorado State Track and Field Championships in Lakewood to compete in the 1600-meter run on Sunday, May 22.
“My legs were sore, but after a while, they definitely warmed up and was a matter of how much can I push them,” Hagen said about her condition leading up to the nearly mile long race.
Hagen took to the starting line with no expectations, already feeling fulfilled with her third-place finish the day before. She came into the race with a seed time of 5:05.63 and ranked ninth out of the 18 competitors.
Much like in the 3200-meter run, Hagen proved she is better than her seed time in the 1600-meter run.
From the start of the competition, Hagen raced smart, displaying a near perfect race strategy that does not reflect her true age.
The first of four 400-meter laps, Hagen got a quick start as she recorded a time of 1:11.586, well under the five-minute mile mark. Hagen quickly found her rhythm after the first lap and settled into a strong pace as the front runners continued on the quick pace up front.
Hagen stayed tucked in the chase pack clicking off similar 400-meter lap splits of 1:18.873 on lap two and 1:18.297 on lap three.
With a little over 400 meters left in the final race of her first state meet, she pulled around her competitors and led the charge for the main pack.
On her final lap, Hagen split a 1:15.949 for her second-fastest lap of the race. Hagen finished just under her season best time of 5:05.63 for a time of 5:04.71, resetting her school record and placing sixth overall.
“I felt good. It was a good race,” Hagen said. “I wasn’t expecting anything out of this race really. It was my bonus, here you go, let’s have fun with this race. I hit the track and was like I am going to go for it and see what I can do.”
The race was won Niwot High School’s Eva Klingbeil in a time of 4:49.66. Besides Niwot’s Bella Nelson, who placed third, Hagen was the second freshman to cross the finish line.
Hagen’s sixth place finish in the 1600-meter run rounds out a monumental season for the Summit freshman. She broke two school records and qualified in two state track events this year.
“It’s incredible. It’s an entirely different thing and where memories are made and friends are made,” Hagen said. “These other girls have been training just as hard as me to get here and racing against them you make lifelong friends and memories.”
Hagen will now take some time to rest and reset before gearing up for the Colorado cross-country season this summer.
“I will probably take a week off, maybe two, and then summer season starts back up. We will start building up for cross again,” Hagen said. “It’s the way I like it. I wouldn’t stop if I didn’t have to.”
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