Bronco Express

April 8, 2001

Johnny Mathis Invitational

The Mission Harriers ventured to San Francisco State University and the Johnny Mathis Invitational. They came back with unexpected results which were big PR's and sunburn. The weather forecast was to be rainy and the Broncos sat through a rain delay the night before at the Santa Clara baseball game. Windshield wipers were needed on the drive north and a spectacularly sunny day greeted the Broncos. The gusting winds were the only concern. Warming up outside the sheltered track was taxing, but the wind was only felt during the 1500 heats despite blowing all afternoon. Taking advantage were five women racing for the first time in a track meet wearing Bronco colors and a corp of 5000 meter runners for the men.

The day began for the Broncos with Jenny Smokey lining up in the second heat of the 1500 meters. Jenny stayed with lead pack through 700 meters when it whittled down to three. She lost contact when the leader surged, but held the gap constant. She battled for second over the last 500 meters and in doing so, reeled in the leader, but could not better her finish despite being within one second of taking her heat. Ashley Weger and Katie Malinak toed the line for the third heat of the 1500 meters. Katie went to the front and Ashley tucked into a trailing pack. Katie battled in the lead spot for 1000 meters before relinquishing it, but kept pace and came back with a good finish to hold off others for second. Ashley got out fast and came back to goal pace and held it consistently over the last 1000 meters.

Heath Packard and Michael Wall battled in the second heat of 1500 meters and came through at their goal pace of 66 for the first 400 while being gapped by three seconds from the entire field. Heath struggled to hold pace as the effects of the flu took over his stamina. Michael Wall kept contact with Heath by a second over 1200 meters but could not cover Heath's last kick and slipped off.

The surprise of the day came in the Women's 5000 meters as Annie Gastelum did the labor for the lead pack for the first 4400 meters of the race. The pace work held steady and dropped a few pretenders early, but ultimately Annie led two others over the last half of the race as the rest of the field fell back. Milena Basile was holding form in the field as she charged out also. Milena was aiming for sub 20 minutes and was 20 seconds under target pace at 3000 meters. Buoyed by the passing of fading competitors, Milena held pace and hit stride confidently over the last 500 meters. Annie clicked a 92 pace after her opening 800, only wavering once more than a second off 92 on her last lap when she hit a 90. Annie crossed under 19 for her first time in contending for a victory in her first track race at Santa Clara.

The Bronco herd for the 5000 was split into two heats. The first heat saw Mike Helms, Thomas Chapman, and Ben Gauen in it. Mike Helms charged hard in holding onto the trail end of the lead pack for half the race. Mike crossed 3000 meters at 9:04 before crashing with a side ache. Thomas got out aggressively in 4:48 and clicked off a 5:02 and 5:00 last 1600 meters to lead the Broncos. Ben Gauen held pace as he immediately hit no man's land for the first 1000 meters before encountering some companions. Ben clocked 5:01, 5:05, and 5:02 along the way as he fed off the dying runners the last half of the race and ended in a spirited kick.

Ricky Brackett led the Broncos in the second heat as Dominic Ricci, Mike Richmond, and Michael Neumann competed. Ricky followed the example of his predecessors with a fast opening and strong finish with 5:03, 5:12, 5:06 splits and 30 second last 200 meters. Dominic Ricci hooked up in battle with a competitor from Santa Rosa JC as they ran stride for stride for the last 2000 meters. In the process, they kept each other going and reeled in two separate 30 meter gaps over groups they caught. Dominic showing no love caught a USF foe and then blasted down the stretch to leave his Santa Rosa companion in the dust. Mike Richmond ran despite returning from Spring Break with the flu. Holding solid pace for two miles, Mike's efforts could not overcome the fatigue. But, he rebounded over the last 600 meters in a hunt that propelled him to a PR. Michael Neumann also has been hampered in his training this winter with bronchitis came out solid for 2000 meters and began a fade to 3000 meters where he held his pace to the finish.

The Mission Harriers head to Cal State Stanislaus for a Holy Saturday meet as some of the squad will be missing as they travel home for Easter. Also, the Broncos will be altering their destination on May 5 from UC Santa Barbara to Sacramento State to conclude their non-traditional season.

1500 meters
Jenny Smokey 5:03.39
Katie Malinak 5:27.69
Ashley Weger 5:54.72
Heath Packard 4:20.6*
Michael Wall 4:24.8*

5000 meters
Annie Gastelum 18:56.8*
Milena Basile 19:38.0*
Thomas Chapman 15:23.0*
Mike Helms 15:37.0*
Ben Gauen 15:38.3*
Ricky Brackett 15:51.6*
Dominic Ricci 16:39.6*
Mike Richmond 17:20.2*
Michael Neumann 17:59.0*
*unofficial times