The Spartan Running Club took several of their runners to the Great Northwest to take on some good mid distance competition. Spartan Running is made up of the back to back SPC boys track and field state champions from Austin St. Stephens.
This weekend, they traded in the hot, humid, and dry conditions of Austin, Texas for the cool and wet conditions of Portland, Oregon.
Several of the Spartans fared well against a very high level of competition the competitors they have never seen before.
St. Stephens junior Crayton Carrozza, who is the SPC state champ in the 800, 1600, and the 3200m was entered in both the Men's High Performance 1500m and the High Performance 800m, but elected to run just the 800m. He has the 2018 seasson Texas leaderboard top 800m mark with his 1:50.38 and perhaps had an opportunity to go sub 1:50.
The High Performance 800m heats had athletes entered who are post collegiate runners and even olympic medalists.
Like many of the middle distance - distance Texans who participated at the Brooks PR meet over the weekend in Seattle, Washington, Carrozza was in a race with a few rare elements to him. In the race, he was surrounded by a pack of runners every step of the way and that was something he may not be as accustomed to.
Nevertheless, Carrozza was still able to compete functionally and find himself in position to make a move and push for the lead.
The pace went out at 55.x, which is pretty casual for a group of guys who all had 1:51 type PRs. Carrozza took his opportunity to run to the lead at the 500m mark and led pretty much until the 700m mark. His push led the pace to an honest 55 second lap. He would be passed with about 100m remaining in the race, but he maintained his position for the second place finish in the heat with 1:51.02.
In the high school boys 1 mile run, other Spartans were also putting in some work. Travis Dowd, Luke Hippensteel, Cameron Kleiman, Yaseen Abdalla, Philip Chang, Jayan Nitzsche, and Julian Baeza all competed in the high school 1 mile.
Dowd, Hippensteel, Kleinman, and Chang were all in heat 2. Dowd, a junior at St. Stephens is the 2018 SPC 1600m runner-up and he came into the weekend with a 4:22.27 PR. As with Carrozza in the 800m, he competed well in his 1 mile race and even had the lead late into the race.
Dowd pushed the pace in the race on the bell lap as he rounded the final turn to head into the finish line when he was passed by the eventual heat winner. He did continue with a strong finish and even though he didn't run faster than his 1600m PR, he did run a respectable 4:23.58 1 mile to finish second in the heat and ninth overall.
In the end, there were some good performances from the Spartan Running Club in Portland on the stage. They tuned out the weather to represent Austin, Texas let the good people of Oregon know that the Spartan Running Club is the real deal!