Allen Community College’s track team has reached the halfway mark in the season. Coach Vince DeGrado is particularly happy with how his distance runners have done.
“Pedro [Montoya], Diego [Sanchez] and Trail [Spears] have been kind of a mini-distance group,” DeGrado said. “I call them the ‘5k-10k’ group. The whole idea is that the 10k is outdoors — they don’t have it indoors — and they’ve been training for that since January.”
This past weekend, the trio ran the 10,000-meter run at the KT Woodman Meet at Wichita State University. It was good news for Montoya and Spears as they were able to qualify for the national meet at the end of the season.
“You can probably run two fast ones a year. The idea was to run one, get qualified and not run another one until nationals,” DeGrado said. “That’s how I wanted it. Pedro and Trail won’t run another one until nationals. You can’t run a fast 10k three or four times a year. I felt like if you want to run a fast one, you need to pick your opportunities for when it would be perfect.”
Montoya took eighth with a time of 30 minutes, 51.41 seconds. Spears earned 16th with a 32:15.28. Sanchez finished in 33:33.28 for 26th. There were 42 runners in the field, a mix of NCAA DIvision I, II and junior college athletes.
DeGrado wanted them to go up against a deep field of runners and the weather to be great for the meet.
“For Wichita State, I had been watching the weather 10 days out to make sure it would be good,” DeGrado said. “It was perfect for the 10k at 9:30 when they ran it on Friday.”
Montoya’s time broke the ACC school record set by Kyle Schauvliege last season with a time of 31:46. Schauvliege’s mark bettered a record set in 1991 by Kyle Brogan.
“For a freshman to run that time — a lot of people were unsure he could do it because his indoor times weren’t great, but we were training for the 10k event throughout the indoor season,” DeGrado said. “It’s hard for people in this generation, who want instant results. It’s hard to say, ‘hey, we’re going to train for something in April, in January.’ But, the kids trust me and they believe in it.”
DeGrado credited Montoya and Spears for following his race plan.
“Diego didn’t and I told him that the race plan to start the race was going to feel really slow and easy, so you can protect yourself later,” DeGrado said. “I told him what was going to happen, that it would feel easier. Diego just got excited and went for it early.”
Dividing the 10k run into two 5ks, Spears was able to finish half of the race in under 16 minutes. In high school, he had never broke 17 minutes. Montoya is ranked second nationally for the 10k and Trail is ranked no. 8.
Aaron Miller competed in the 800-meter run and finished in sixth place in 1:56.52 for a new personal best. DeGrado was impressed with his performance because he had been struggling.
“He’s been kind of down on himself because he hasn’t been running as fast as we’d like him to,” DeGrado said. “It’s kind of nice to see him get one out of him. It was perfect for us.”
MeShach Adams ran the event in 1:56.35 for fifth and Markeen Cain finished in 1:56.92. Thomas Broxterman took 13th in 1:57.89.
DeGrado said Caine hadn’t been running his strongest, but expects that he will pick it up in the next few weeks. He took second at the national indoor meet in the same event.
Hunter Koike competed at a separate event — the Cowley Tiger Invitational — for the decathlon last week.
“He took first in that with a score of 5,632 points. I still think he has a lot in him with that event,” DeGrado said.
He doesn’t know Koike’s ranking, but suspects he is in the top-16 decathlon athletes in the country.
For the 5k, Ben Najman ran it in 15:28.73 for 16th.
“He’s got dual citizenship,” DeGrado said. “He’s an American citizen and he’s also got citizenship in the Bahamas — that’s where his mother is from. He was one second off from the Bahaman junior national record.”
They are hoping he will break the record this season. Salvador Medrano took 28th with a time of 15:53.55. Daniel Driskill ran it in 16:36.52 for 47th.
THIS WEEKEND, the track team is spread out over the entire country.
“Some of the runners are going to Eugene for the Oregon Relays, some are going to KU and others are going to Central Missouri Relays,” DeGrado said.
DeGrado isn’t worried about that distance.
“I’ll talk to everyone before they race,” DeGrado said. “But, with the way we practice and how disciplined they are, I’m not worried at all. If I was worried about that, I hadn’t done my job. They know what to do.”
Other individual results follow: