State Medal Stand: Northcutt finishes second in 1,600-meter run

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

May 12, 2007 - AUSTIN - Graham Northcutt went out Friday night with the intention to use the same strategy he had when he set the school record in the mile.

He very nearly duplicated the effort at the UIL State Track and Field Meet.

Running in a field stacked with talented runners, Northcutt took the lead early in the 1,600-meter run and finished second to earn the first SSHS medal at the state meet in three years.

Northcutt and Boerne runner Lorin Wilson broke from the field during the second of the four-lap race as Wilson won the event in a time of 4 minutes, 17.54 seconds. Northcutt ran a 4:20.89, about one second off

his school record mark.

He was able to hold off a hard-charging Zack Dawson of Big Spring, who was third, about one-half second back. The winning time this year was more than two seconds faster than last year’s time.

"When I ran a 4:19, I was able to go out fast and run

by myself. I knew if I ran out of front, I'd be by myself with maybe one other person," Northcutt said.

"I just tried to run faster each lap and make my body go a little faster. That's what I did when I ran a 4:19, and I was trying the same strategy as I did then."

The strategy worked well.

Northcutt took the immediate lead, taking the field through the first lap in 65, which is the time he averaged for the entire four laps. With Wilson running side-by-side with him, they turned the second lap in 66 and started separating themselves from the rest of the field.

The third lap was a 63 as Wilson and Norhcutt opened a 30-meter lead over third. In the final lap, Northcutt was about three strides behind Wilson going into the homestretch, but couldn’t gain any ground.

Northcutt and Wilson were able to take the starch out of fourth-place finisher Drew Bean of Little Cypress-Mauriceville who won the 3,200-meter race, and sixth-place finisher Brandon Chiuminetta of Dripping Springs who won the 800, by setting such a fast pace.

�My strategy was to go out hard. I knew most of them had to run the two-mile or something else,� Northcutt said. �The Boerne kid that won had dropped out of the two-mile, so he was fresh like I was.

�We stayed together until the last lap. He was a little bit ahead of me, and I tried to catch him the last 100 meters, but my arms and legs started locking up. I couldn't go any faster, but I was trying to hold off third place and get second.�

For Northcutt, the race capped off an accomplishment-filled week. At the sports banquet on Monday, he won the Forrest Gregg MVP Award and was named the top performer in three sports, includuing track.

SSHS head track coach Steve Hale said Northcutt’s performance shows why he deserved those awards.

�He left everything out there. He ran his race and left everything out there,� Hale said. �The kid that won it ran a great race and so did Graham. I'm real proud of him. Once again, it goes back to preparation and mental toughness, and I'm just real proud of him.�

Notes: Northcutt beat Ryan Lusk of Mesquite Poteet, who edged Northcutt out for the Region II title, by 13 seconds. Lusk finished eighth. Lusk also ran the 3,200 and was fourth. ... The silver medal was hung around

Northcutt’s neck by Adrian Johnson, who was Coach Hale’s high school principal. ... Results can be viewed at the UIL website. It is ww.uil.utexas.edu.

1,600-Meter Run

Boys 4A

1. Lorin Wilson, Boerne, 4:17.54; 2. Graham Northcutt, Sulphur Springs, 4:20.89; 3. Zack Dawson, Big Spring, 4:21.47; 4. Drew Bean, Orange Little

Cypress-Mauriceville, 4:22.20; 5. Chase Rathke, Katy Seven Lakes, 4:24.68; 6. Brandon Chiuminetta, Dripping Springs, 4:25.25; 7. Gerzain Valenzuela, Hereford, 4:28.11; 8. Ryan Lusk, Mesquite Poteet, 4:33.02.

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