March 27, 2013

Oliver Dips Below Four Minutes As Broncos Run Well At Johnny Mathis Invitational

With final week behind them, the Santa Clara track team competed in its first big weekend of the outdoor track season running at the Johnny Mathis Invitational at San Francisco State last weekend.  
Senior Kevin Oliver, racing in his first metric mile of the year, took advantage of the great conditions and competition to dip under 4 minutes for the first time in his career.  Sitting in the middle of the pack, Oliver came through the first quarter in just under 63 seconds. Sitting 2 seconds off the lead, Oliver stayed in the same position through 800 before making a subtle move in the field.  Reaching the bell lap he became one of four athletes still in contention for the win.    Oliver managed to hang on to third place with a personal best of 3:58.26.  

"I was disappointed a lot of my career because I didn't think i'd ever get the chance to break four, mostly because my career had always been geared toward 10k prep," said Oliver.  "But the training had been going well, and finally had the good opportunity to get under that barrier and took advantage of it. But the most important thing is we're continuing to knock Mike Delaurenti further down the top 10 lists."

Junior Luca Signore, running in his first 1500 of the season, followed a similar strategy to Oliver but was able to use a big last 400 meter kick to win his heat in a personal best of 4:02.96. Freshman Adrian Hinojosa ran a season best of 4:04.56,  good enough for 8th place in the second section.  

"The plan was to race down in distance for most of our student-athletes as we prepare for our first big weekend next week at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival," said Bronco head coach Felipe Montoro.  "The timing was right to switch gears a bit and sharpen our speed up a bit before everyone takes on their focus events next week."  

Senior Hayley Ney ran 4:38.00 to place 7th in her heat.  

Sophomore Audrey Hiatt, making her 1500 meter season debut, chopped over 15 seconds off her previous best running 4:44.49.  

"This was another test for Audrey leading into her 3k steeple debut for next Friday, and as she has been doing all year, she continues to excel at a very high level, because she's fit, consistent, and most importantly, she's very competitive," said Montoro.  "We are really excited to see her in her element next week.  We think she can do some great things in the steeple over the span of her career."  

Freshman Alexi Taylor, making his collegiate track debut, closed a big gap over the last 200 meters of the 800 meter event and managed to out-lean Saint Mary's runner Gilbert Mundo at the line to win section two in 1:57.14.  

"It was a great debut for Alexi." said Montoro.  "He's very talented, and has good race instincts, and we are very excited to see him race more this spring."   

The Broncos return to action on March 29 at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival.  The large event will include conference foes University of San Francisco, Gonzaga University, Loyola Marymount and Saint Mary's College among many other schools from across the country.