Summit Tigers runners shine at elite Arizona meet
Remeikis places 25th and Hagen, Shriver are top freshmen at Desert Twilight Invitational
Four Summit Tigers raced to new personal records on Friday, Sept. 24, at the Desert Twilight Invitational in Chandler, Arizona.
At the elite, national-level meet, it was Tiger junior Dom Remeikis, in his second trip to the Desert Twilight, who raced to 25th place with a personal record of 15 minutes and 40 seconds in the top-level sweepstakes race. In the girls sweepstakes race, Tigers freshman Ella Hagen earned 18th place in her first time at the Desert Twilight thanks to her own personal record of 17:47.
The second-best Tigers boy on the day was another freshman, Josh Shriver, whose 81st-place time of 16:24 was the fastest freshman time of any boy in the race. Hagen’s time in the girls race was narrowly the second-fastest freshman girls time on the day, just three-tenths of a second behind her friendly rival Tessa Walter of Air Academy in Colorado Springs.
“Tessa and me, somebody described us as bulldogs,” Hagen said. “We keep going back and forth. It’s nice having the rivalry because you know you are going to go out there and, every race — whether they’re there or not — they are somewhere training to beat you, essentially. It’s motivating having that side goal. You want to do well in the race, and show them I can do well compared to them and can stay with them and fight with them.”
Friday night’s 5,000-meter race at the Desert Twilight Invitational had its share of physicality for racers like Remeikis and Hagen. Considering more than 5,000 runners compete in several different races from the middle to high school level, there isn’t much real estate in the dark out on the narrow trail to make moves — especially at the start.
“It’s just a different experience,” Ella Hagen said. “The atmosphere surrounding the race, everybody is a little bit more — there’s more energy because there are so many people. You know you are going to be out there racing with 200 other kids. You all have the same goal, the same dreams. And the start is very different, just cause there are so many people there and it’s like everybody goes out so hard because you have to get up.
“There’s a lot of pushing and shoving in the beginning,” she continued. “You’re elbowed in the side, shoved out of the way — everyone is doing what they can.”
Remeikis said his mindset going into the day centered around creating his own space to be able to run in a more comfortable position. After a hectic first mile, especially on tight corners, he found more space to grind out his high-level finish in the dark.
“This is going to be the fastest race of the year, so I think it will only get easier and won’t be as hectic and crazy from here,” he said. “And that big of an atmosphere it was good to get this one out of the way.”
Shriver’s top freshman time came despite the fact he was knocked down twice in the race. Coach Mike Hagen said he thinks Shriver could have run 20 seconds faster if not for the packed nature of the race where runners often ran side to side, six abreast.
“It was a really good race by him, and good experience for him at that level,” the coach said.
In the second-tier boys championship race, Tigers juniors Landon Cunningham and Zach McBride ran to times of 16:44 and 17:24, respectively. Hagen said Cunningham’s time was a personal record while McBride’s showing was impressive considering he’s been battling through injuries since the summer.
In the girls championship race, Tigers sophomore Adeline Avery ran to an 81st-place time of 21:32, followed by freshman Cece Miner’s 98th-place time of 22:02.
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