Nine Berries went to run at the UC Davis Aggies Invite and it ended up being a wind-blown affair which threw times and races off-kilter.
Mei-tung Chen opened up most optimistically, running a 19:52.32 5000 in the wind, wisely tucking in behind a De Anza runner for the majority of the race and somehow managing a 26-second PR, and this was the race of the day for the Canyon.
The breeze kicked up a notch for the men’s 5000, which was a bit disappointing for the athletes who put themselves out there on the line. Perhaps it was a combination of the wind, some poor coaching on my part, feeling under-the-weather, some were not in shape yet, not enough sleep or hydration, etc., whatever it was, some little things added up and four runners ran a good 40-60 seconds slower than their projected ability. (Rory Runser 16:20, Dayu Tao 16:40, Gene Burinsky 16:47, and Jonathan Nolasco 17:25).
With that out of the way the 1500 came next. Jonathan McKinley showed flashes of speed and ran a 4:11.18, his fastest time of the year. I think he will be sub-4:00 before the season is said and done. Irtaza Haider ran a 4:21.15, almost five full seconds off his PR, but probably a stronger performance than his actual PR given the wind.
The 800s came later in the day and both Niko Conner and Brandon Reyes were buffeted by the wind, pulling 2:06 marks. It was Niko’s first track race in many seasons, so he was blowing off the rust, but Brandon got boxed in by a pesky orange-singleted runner and was thrown off his game somewhat. It was a learning experience to be sure as middle-distance races can be characterized by some annoying pushing and shoving tactics.
Anyhow, thank you all for going to that meet and giving it the old college try. We may reconsider this venue next year, as both Davis and Sacramento have proven to be risky in terms of the windy weather for us. And if that many of us were flat, I will certainly need to consider backing some of you off on the workouts a bit between now and the end of the season.