Based on their school record time of 12:37.97 run last year at the St. Francis Invitational the Warriors were selected to compete in the Invitational Night session at the Arcadia Invitational in the Distance Medley Relay Saturday. In a race that that featured the top ranked teams in the nation the girls had a tall task ahead of them and would need to rise to the level of the competition. They did exactly that.
Emily Blaha was the team's lead off leg for the 1200 meters segment. A member of last year's school record team she knew it was important to run a strategic start to the race with such a talented field that was bound to start fast. "I kept saying to myself, 'stick to the plan, run your own race,'" Blaha said after the race.
She did just that as the pack took off from the gun crossing the first 200 in a blazing 29 seconds. Knowing what she had to do to put the team in contention she crossed the 200 already down by five seconds with a quick 35 split. The main pack slowed and Blaha began reeling in runners one by one. Running splits of 76 for 400 and 2:34 for 800 she rallied the last lap and maintained contact with the pack handing off in 3:49 for the 400 leg. A crowded hand off and fatigued runners getting in the way, Smallwood Dodged one runner after another putting on a juke move that would make the best football players proud. Already having an amazing day finishing 3rd in the Girls Seeded 100 meter final, Smallwood made up huge ground splitting a 25-26 second split for the half way mark and held on to hand off in 59-60 seconds at another exciting and crowded exchange.
Isabel Garcia was next up for the Warriors and despite fighting a tender hamstring since cross country season she accepted the task of keeping the team in contention for the final 1600 meter leg. Starting quick Garcia took out her first 200 in 33 seconds, passing through the first lap in 70 seconds. She pulled through for the team and did exactly what she had to keeping the Warriors in contact with the pack.
Fresh off of her 3200 meter PR the night before Morgan Lira was set to anchor the relay for the 1600 meter run. With adrenalin pumping Lira passed the 200 a little fast but settled down to split a 70 first lap. Moving up throughout the race and closing in on the chase pack she crossed the 800 in 2:28, well under 5 minute pace! The fast start took its toll with a tough 3rd lap of 81 but with a gutsy move Lira put on one last push with 200 to go and finished with a new personal best of 5:09.5 for the 1600 meters.
The team time of 12:37.69 is a new school record by a slim 0.28!
Girls DMR Invitational Results: CLICK HERE