Saturday, June 21, 2008

Reina Vs. Lowe.....

I remember going to the Texas State Meet in 1986 with my friend Frank Arriola (El Paso Bel Air) who was competing in the 1600. I went to support Frank and also as a Track fan to watch the great Reuben Reina (San Antonio Jay) go for his 3rd straight 3200/1600 Championship. I watched Reina run an 8:58 to beat Eric Henry (McCullough/The Woodlands) and a 4:09 to beat John Holmes (South Houston). I thought it was the most amazing double. I was in awe. So to see German Fernandez double a 4:00/8:34 1600/3200 a couple weeks back just leaves me at a loss for words. He beat an 8:58 by almost 200 meters!!!!! Think about it.
Speaking of Texas runners we need to give our due to Colby Lowe. He ran an 8:47 for the All-time Texas #1. Nobody has stood out from Texas to the extent of Lowe since Reina. Lowe has left his mark all over the state.
Let the debate begin. Reina or Lowe? This old-timer will go with Reuben. Colby ran slightly faster times but Reuben had a kick for the ages. He didn't always have to run from the front. Reina faced great competition in Texas from the likes of Tim Gargiulo, John Holmes, and Eric Henry. He also dominated on a National level against guys like John Trautmann (NY) and the Mastalir Twins (CA). Reuben also won the Footlocker XC Nationals (then known as Kinney) in a Course Record time that stands to this day. That's right. This years crop (Fout, Derrick, Fernandez, Lowe, Puskedra, Cabral, etc) fell short as have many great XC runners over the years at San Diego's Balboa Park.
What will the future bring for Lowe? A memorable career I'm sure. Will he attain the same success as Reuben Reina/Alan Culpepper (both NCAA Champions, USATF National XC Champs and both Olympians)? I'm not sure. I do know watching him and German at the same school as Freshman should provide much discussion. Just wait for the discussion of Lowe Vs. Reina Vs Bobby Aguirre (El Paso Riverside) in XC. Never heard of Aguirre? You will soon.
I dug up an old picture I took at the 1986 State Meet of Reina sitting comfortably behind Eric Henry with Augie Flores (San Antonio Burbank) before making his move.

German Fernandez 8:34.4!!!!!

The Nike Outdoor National 2 Mile more than lived up to the hype. Jeff Nelson's 29 year old record fell when German crossed the line in 8:34.4, easily pulling away from a superb field. En route he also topped the National Record for 3000 meters. (7:59.83). Quality runners like Luke Puskedra (UT), Colby Lowe (TX) and Rob Finnerty (MN) had no answer when he dropped them one by one after the 1st mile.
The question is, "Is Fernandez the best High School Track Distance Runner ever?" In my opinion, Yes. I still believe he has not been pushed to his limit. He simply leaves everyone behind as he hammers away at the most even pacing I have ever seen. He's a human metronome. I think under the right circumstances he can go Sub 4 and run an even faster 2 Mile.
It puts his mark into perspective when you see the names of some of the runners now behind him on the All-time HS 2 Mile list (Lindgren, Nelson, Virgin, Prefontaine, etc). His same day double (4:00/8:34 1600/3200) will set the standard for distance doubles for years to come. I look forward to watching him compete for years to come.
Tx fans take note. Today at Nike Outdoor Southlake Carroll won the Distance Medley (Lowe, 4:05 anchor) and The Woodlands won the 4 x Mile.
Also tonight at USATF Juniors Elijah Greer of Oregon (a HS Junior!) clocked a US #1 1:47.68. The stars keep shining.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Nike Outdoor 2 Mile!

So tonight is THE big night for HS Distance fans. The Nike Outdoor National's 2 Mile. It seems the only question is ,Will German Fernandez beat Jeff Nelson's longstanding 2 Mile Record (8:36)? His 8:34 3200 at the Ca. State Meet converts to 8:37 and he ran it solo after a 4:00 1600 effort. Here he'll have stiff competition from Rob Finnerty(MN, 4:01 last week) and Nike Indoor 2 Mile Champ Luke Puskedra (UT). Colby Lowe (TX) should factor in there as well. TX fans note that Southlake Carroll has entered a Distance Medley and The Woodlands have entered a 4 x Mile. 

I think German's main competition would have come from Chris Derrick (IL). Chris, it turns out, is quite a writer. Please read his attached preview of the race from

Monday, June 16, 2008

No 2008 Olympics for Alan Culpepper

So I planned on starting this Blog with plans of discussing the amazing High School performances we have seen in the past couple months. Last night Christine Babcock (CA) ran a 4:16.42 in the 1500 for #1 all-time. Saturday night at the Midwest Distance Gala ( just a few miles away from me) Rob Finnerty (MN) ran a 4:01.09 Mile for #7 all-time. 
We can't forget the CA State Meet with the greatest High School same day double ever by German Fernandez (4:00.29 1600/8:34.23 3200), the Girls 3200 with Jordan Hasay (9:52.13) edging out Laurynne Chetelat (9:52.51) for #'s 2 & 3 all-time. Christine Babcock destroyed the field that day in the Girls 1600 with the #2 all-time performance (4:33.82).
Earlier in the year our local star Chris Derrick ran the #6 all-time,(#1 HS only) 5000 in 13:55.96.

I will come back to all these amazing performances later as we get ready for Nike Outdoor Nationals. No doubt some more great times will be recorded.

What I want to discuss is the announcement that Alan Culpepper will not be competing in the upcoming Olympic Trials where he was slated to run the 10,000. Alan, if successful, would have made his 3rd Olympic Team. Culpepper was one of a very select few individuals to have run both a Sub 4 Mile and a Sub 2:10 Marathon. I grew up in the same city as Alan (El Paso, TX) and have long followed his career very closely, always rooting for the guy. The sport is losing a class act as it appears he is retiring. Please read the article from the Rocky Mountain News.