Austin Calling: Northcutt going to state in 1,600

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

April 30, 2007 - DENTON - Graham Northcutt ran one of his fastest times in the metric mile on Saturday. Because he did, he'll have a chance to run again this season.

Northcutt, an SSHS senior, and Mesquite Poteet senior Ryan Lusk hooked up in a gutsy 1,600-meter race at the Class 4A, Region II Track and Field Meet at UNT's Fouts Field that was decided by the blink of an eye.

In a duel down the final home stretch, Lusk outleaned Northcutt at the tape as the pair were separated by only 4/100ths of a second. Lusk won in 4:21.09, and Northcutt was right beside him in 4:21.13 as they both qualified for state.

The UIL State Track and Field Meet is set for May 11-12 at Michael Myers Stadium in Austin.

It will be the second state meet for Northcutt, who finished fifth last year in the 800-meter dash.

On Saturday, Northcutt started the race in the middle of the pack, coming through the first lap in about ninth place in 69 seconds. By the second lap, which he ran in 64 seconds, he had moved up into third behind Lusk and Pinskton's Pinya Issa.

Lusk and Northcutt then started separating themselves from the others on the third lap, running it in about 67 seconds and opening up a 3-4 second lead over third place.

With 300 meters to go, Northcutt surged past Lusk and took the lead, but Lusk followed close to his heels. Then, on the home stretch, Lusk moved up shoulder to shoulder with Northcutt as the crowd had to watch the scoreboard to see who the winner was.

Northcutt flew down the final lap in 61 seconds, the fastest of his four laps.

It was exactly the type of race he was trying to run. His time was the second-best of his career, about 1.5 seconds off his school-record mark of 4:19.63.

"I was going to try to stay with Lusk, stay behind him and try to beat him in the last lap," Northcutt said. "I thought I had him, but I guess he got me at the end.

"I felt pretty good, so I thought I'd go ahead now," he said of his surge at the 300-meter mark. "He's fast, so I tried to get away."

They easily out-distanced Frisco Centennial's Cole Reveal in third, who was nine second behind.

Lusk had beaten Reveal in another close duel the day before in the 3,200-meter run.

Sulphur Springs' Kasie Carrell, running in his second hard race of the day, came in 19th in a time of 4:57.26.

Carrell ran the 800-meter dash about two hours before, finishing sixth in a time of 2:00.78.

He ran about a 57-second first lap, but was in eighth place because the leaders sprinted out to a 53-54 first circuit.

Carrell had to start kicking down the home stretch of the first lap to get back in touch with the leaders.

"I couldn't finish as strong as I wanted," Carrell said. "I had more speed than most of them, but I got too far behind. I think I spent it all trying to catch them. I didn't pass anyone until that last curve."

With 100 meters to go, Carrell started moving up, passing two runners to get sixth.

The winner, Patrick Todd of Highland Park, came in with a fine time of 1:55.62 and three others ran under 1:57.

"I don't think I went out fast enough and used up too much energy trying to catch them," Carrell said.

Overall, the meet was outstanding with eight meet records set. No one was more outstanding than Copperas Cove junior Robert Griffin, who set two meet records in both hurdle events and ran the third-fastest time in state history in the 300-meter hurdles with a clocking of 35.86 seconds.

Notes: The SSHS 4x200-meter relay team set a school record in Friday's preliminaries with a time of 1:30.09. The quartet of Chris Thompson, Clayton Vaughn, Dequalin Evans and Jeff Pitts erased the old school record of 1:30.4 set in 2003. ... Northcutt was the only boy from District 11-4A to qualify for state. The only girl was Lindale shot putter Mariah Walker. ... SSHS junior Rodney Evans threw 47-8.5 in the shot put on Friday to finish 12th.

Class 4A, Region II

at UNT's Fouts Field

1,600-meter run - 1. Ryan Lusk, Mesquite Poteet, 4:21.09; 2. Graham Northcutt, Sulphur Springs, 4:21.13; 3. Cole Reveal, Frisco Centennial, 4:30.32; 4. Dennis Yeats, Forney, 4:31.09; 5. Jeff Sadler, Midway, 4:32.79; 6. Pinya Issa, Dallas Pinkston, 4:32.61; 19. Kasie Carrell, Sulphur Springs, 4:57.26.

800 - 1. Patrick Todd, Highland Park, 1:55.62; 2. Carson Penepacker, McKinney North, 1:56.46; 3. Zack Curtis, McKinney North, 1:56.77; 4. Matt Bercier, Mesquite Poteet, 1:56.80; 5. Matt Wallace, Nacogdoches, 1:59.51; 6. Kasie Carrell, Sulphur Springs, 2:00.78.

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