Douglas duo eye state run
May 20, 2016
To the best of his recollection, Kaleb Morris only had one thought cross his mind last Saturday when he headed into the final turn of the boys 800-meter final at the Northern Division I Track and Field Championships in Carson City.
"Honestly, by that point, I was just trying to hold on to my momentum," he said. "I could hear footsteps behind me, but I didn't know how close the other guys were. I felt that wind hit me … my only focus was to finish and qualify."
Morris was able to hold on to second-place in the 800, and in the process, extend his senior season one more week by qualifying to run at the NIAA State Championships at Carson High's Jim Frank Track and Field Complex.
He will be joined at the two-day state meet by fellow Douglas distance runner John Munyan, a junior who placed second in the 1,600.
Munyan is scheduled to run his state 1,600 race today at 5:50 p.m. and Morris his 800 race at 12:35 p.m. Saturday.
Even though both Tigers logged personal record times — Morris ran 1:58.06 and Munyan 4:24.97 — their primary goals were simply to qualify for state. Both placed second behind the state leaders in their respective events, as Reed junior Anthony Ocegueda won the 1,600 in 4:21.35 and Bishop Manogue senior Logan Spodobalski won the 800 in 1:57.44.
Recommended Stories For You
Wade Meddles, who coaches the Douglas distance runners, explained that Morris came in with a race plan to key off Spodobalski.
"I think he came through the first 200 in 29 seconds, so he didn't blaze it. He just made sure he wasn't in traffic, which was perfect," Meddles said. "And then he just reacted when he needed to. I think mentally, he's ready to do something big. He's putting it all together at the right time."
Morris expects to see a faster race Saturday. One of his goals is to surpass the school record of 1:57.6 set by Derrik Jenkins in 2008.
"I know everybody is going to get out faster, but I think the level of competition will pull me through," said Morris, who is graduating as Douglas valedictorian and plans to attend Stanford University to focus on academics. "I just want to leave it all out there and finish on a high note."
The last boy to win a state championship over the two-lap distance was Jim Croushore (2A 880) in 1974.
Munyan enters the state final with the fourth fastest time overall in the 1,600 and Morris as seventh fastest in the 800.
Munyan, who has lowered his personal best by nearly eight seconds since the Big George Invitational on April 30, trails the school 1,600 record of 4:18.6 set by Bryan Carroll in 1980. The last Douglas boy to win a state 1,600 title was Dean Miller in 1984.
"He got a two-second p.r. (from 4:26.54 in the region prelims), which is great because it shows we're progressing forward," said Meddles, whose 4:08.76 for Sierra Lutheran High in 2010 is Nevada's all-time best. "Hopefully we can keep the snowball effect going on to next week."