Summit’s Ella Hagen captures bronze, school record in state track meet debut
Summit High School freshman Ella Hagen had to wait an extra day to make her debut at the Colorado state track and field meet but once she finally set foot on Saturday, May 21, at Jefferson County Stadium’s track, Hagen made it look like she was a seasoned veteran.
Hagen lined up for the 4A girls 3200-meter run, ranked sixth among an 18-girl field with a seed time of 11 minutes, 3.84 seconds. She came into the event not overly worried about where she was seeded or where she may place, but focused on having fun and savoring her first experience at the state meet.
She took to the start line in the 3200-meter run with her signature Nordic-style sunglasses, looking calm and collected against a field where she was the sole freshman.
Getting off to a great start, Hagen put herself in the pack during the first 200 meters of the eight-lap race.
The first lap of the race went out fast, with Niwot High School senior Eva Klingbeil controlling the pace out in front. Through 400 meters, Hagen sat within the top five, splitting a 1 minute, 12.79 second, lap.
Hagen realized the first lap was a bit too fast for a time she can reasonably run, so she took her foot off the gas a little, allowing her competitors to block the slight breeze for her.
“I felt fine honestly,” Hagen said of the quick first lap. “I felt like the second and third lap I was just relaxed and was getting into the swing of it.”
Putting herself in between Maggie McCleskey of Centarus High School and Sarah Perkins of Niwot, the pace slowed to around 1:25 per lap, but once Hagen reached the halfway mark of the race she blew past McCleskey.
Recording a lap split of 1:20.685 on the fifth lap, Hagen moved into third place in dominant fashion. Over the last three laps Hagen attempted to improve her position, striding powerfully in front of a packed stadium trying to chase down Air Academy High School sophomore Bethany Michalak.
McCleskey challenged Hagen for a brief moment in the last two laps, but Hagen gritted her teeth and kicked down the home stretch for the final time to secure a bronze medal in the 3200-meter run in a time of 10:50.05.
“It was a better race than I thought I could of run,” Hagen said. “Coming into to it I thought there was no way I was going to get top five even.”
Michalak of Air Academy placed second with a time of 10:35.54 while Klingbeil placed first with a time of 10:29.62.
Hagen finished the last lap of the race in a time of 1:17.622, her second-fastest split of the race.The performance from the Summit freshman was enough for a 13-second personal best and a new Summit track and field school record in the event.
“I mean, my mindset coming in was I don’t care what place I get, I just wanted to beat the school record and get that personal best,“ Hagen said. ”I was .2 seconds off of it my last race.“
“I thought she ran a good, smart race,“ said Mike Hagen, Ella’s father and distance coach for the Summit track and field team. ”I was pretty confident she could place sixth or higher. I wasn’t really thinking third I was thinking fourth or fifth but I knew she was ready and was going to run strong.“
Ella Hagen will compete again in the 4A girls 1600-meter run on the final day of the Colorado state track and field meet on Sunday, May 22. She is scheduled to compete at 11:10 a.m.
Ella Hagen has the same expectations for the 1600-meter run as she did coming into the 3200-meter run.
“I am just going to have fun racing tomorrow, no expectations, what happens, happens,” she said. “I have already had an amazing wrap up to the season.”
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