Northcutt is new record holder in 1,600-meter run

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Mar. 19, 2007 - ARLINGTON - Records are meant to be broken, and Graham Northcutt made it happen on Saturday.

Northcutt, a Sulphur Springs senior, brought down one of the oldest SSHS track records when he ran the 1,600-meters in a time of four minutes, 19.63 seconds to win the Grace Prep Invitational meet at UT-Arlington's Maverick Stadium.

Northcutt's record-breaking time eclipsed the long-standing previous mark of 4:20.90 set by Greg Adair in 1980.

Northcutt ran his four laps in splits of 62, 67, 68 and 62 seconds. Teammate Tate Ramirez finished second in a time of 4:36.46, and Kasie Carrell won the slower heat and finished fourth overall in 4:42.84.

Northcutt had ran a 4:22 last week, and SSHS head track coach Steve Hale thought there would be at least one other sub-4:30 miler in the race, but it didn't materialize.

"We knew it was going to happen, it was just a matter of time," Hale said of the record. "We were kind of worried about having someone push him because the competition wasn't as stout as we thought it was going to be. He ran his race - that's what Graham does. He doesn't worry about his competition. He focuses on what he needs to do.

"He went out and got that thing."

Northcutt and Carrell, who finished second in the 800-meter run with a season-best time of 2:01.29, have been invited to take part in the prestigious Dallas Jesuit relays on Saturday. The record could get even lower, weather permitting.

"That's a big step because this program is rich in tradition with a lot of great milers and two-milers coming through here," Hale said. "It was unbelievable.

"Graham's got some unbelievable teammates with Kasie and Tate. I enjoy watching those kids prepare to compete. Every kid, no matter what the sport, can learn something from watching those guys warm up and mentally prepare themselves and cool down. They're the total package."

Sulphur Springs took just six boys to the Grace Prep meet because of spring break and other activities, and all six scored points, finishing no worse than fifth place in any event.

Sulphur Springs scored 51 1/2 points even with the small contingent, good enough for fifth place in the 16-team field.

SSHS senior Daymon Nash ran a time of 15.47 in the 110-meter hurdles to place second. He had the fastest preliminary time and was leading in the finals until the final two hurdles.

In the high jump, junior Kaylon Page cleared 6-0 to tie for fourth.

Sulphur Springs' two shot putters continue to do well. Senior Demarcus Johnson threw 44-11 3/4 to place second, while junior Rodney Evans, a regional qualifier last year, was fifth with a toss of 39-1 1/2.

A small girls team from SSHS also competed. Though none of them placed in the top six, several ran their best times of the year, including 800-meter runners Kelsey Evans (2:32) and Amy Highfield (2:53), 400-meter runner Ashanti Ivery (1:04) and 1,600-meter runner Cecily Adams (6:15).

Notes: Northcutt's time was registered with Fully Automated Timing. ... Greg Adair, the previous record-holder in the 1,600 and state champion in cross country, was inducted into the SSHS Hall of Fame in 2006.

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