Reese Vannerson, Nathanael Berhane Go 1-2 In TAMU Distances

Reese Vannerson (2) and Nathanael Berhane (9) in a close finish in the 3,200m at the Texas A&M Bluebonnet High School Inv.

Photo Courtesy: Roderick Pernetter

The boys distance races at the Texas A&M Bluebonnet High School Invitational were absolutely loaded with talent. There were a few 2021 UIL 6A and UIL 5A state meet qualifiers from the 1600m and 3200m events and they were running like this was the state meet this weekend.

To make it clearer on how high the competition level was, there were four of the top five finishers from the 2021 UIL 6A state cross country meet and two of the top 10 in the 5A classification from. That includes the UIL 6A state champion and members of the UIL 5A team runners-up, Denton High.

Reese Vannerson (Houston Strake Jesuit) is one of last year's state meet qualifiers who competed and he looked comfortable going up against the other high level runners. In the 3,200m he kept pace with the lead pack over the first couple of laps as the lead pack of six runners came through the halfway mark in 4:38.

It was with two laps to go when he took control and the lead. The junior finished in approximately 2:13 for the final half-mile of the race to pull away with a pretty decisive win.

In the 1,600m, it was again Vannerson as one of the leaders, but this time he completely led things from the beginning. He entered the meet as the state leader in the event, but the field was perhaps even deeper than the 3,200m. Vannerson took the pace out at 30 seconds for the first 200m and came through the first quarter-mile just under 62 seconds.

PLACE	ATHLETE		              TEAM	        RESULT	                H#
1	Reese Vannerson	11	Houston Strake Jesuit	4:15.95 		5
2	Nathanael Berhane 12	Wylie High	        4:17.22 		5
3	Kevin Sanchez	11	Austin Vandegrift	4:17.92 		5
4	Ruben Rojas Betanzos 12	Katy Seven Lakes	4:20.40 		5
5	Wyatt Athey 11	        Denton High	        4:22.06 		5

- - -

Unlike the 3,200m, most of the 1,600m was a two-man race as he and Kevin Sanchez pushed ahead of the field, but Vannerson would soon make it a one-man race as he would pull away to get a comfortable win.

Nevertheless, Vannerson wasn't the only distance runner to have a quality weekend. Wylie senior Nathanael Berhane was also competitive in the two races. He was in the group of six runners and kept pace with Vannerson when the pack dissipated to just three runners with Denton junior Wyatt Athey staying with them. Berhane kept contact on the last lap when Vannerson would pull away and over the last 150m, as he was still just a stride behind when they continued to the finish line.

Berhane was just 0.50 seconds behind Vannerson in the 3,200m (9:13.19 - 9:13.69) and in the 1,600m, he finished in 4:17.22 behind by the 4:15.95 win. On the last laps of both races, Berhane displayed his ability to finish strong. In the 1,600m, he closed the deficit from four seconds to just just 1.27 as he moved up from fifth place to second over the last
400m, which cemented a solid weekend of running.

PLACE	ATHLETE		              TEAM	        RESULT		H#
1	Reese Vannerson	11	Houston Strake Jesuit	9:13.19		1
2	Nathanael Berhane 12	Wylie High	        9:13.69		1
3	Wyatt Athey	11	Denton High	        9:16.10		1
4	Hudson Heikkinen 12	Plano West	        9:24.26		1
5	Adrian Hahn Vadstein 11	Katy Cinco Ranch	9:30.57		1

- - -