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Distance runners stand out at Meet of Champs

By: Matt Long
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Windy conditions kept most athletes from personal-best performances at Saturday’s Meet of Champions, but Oak Ridge High had a few standout athletes. Distance runners turned in the best efforts, starting with Benji Xie, who placed third in the 3,200-meter run in 9 minutes 19 seconds. The time was six-seconds off his school record, but considering the conditions, it was a solid performance. “Benji ran a strategically sound race,” Oak Ridge coach Rob Fairley said. “Because of the wind no one wanted to lead and it was a game of cat and mouse. He showed some confidence by taking the lead with about 600 meters to go, but he couldn’t hold a couple guys off.” Clay McNamee also ran well, one of the few to post a personal-best time. McNamee finished the race in 9:40, three seconds faster than his previous best. Teammate Jackie Mansoor, who competed in the varsity girls’ 3,200, also finished with her personal-best time of 11:20, her best by one second. Two other impressive performances came in the morning freshman-sophomore 3,200. Oak Ridge’s Dusty Armstrong won the race in 9:50, six seconds off his personal-best. “We had a couple of kids in that race who ran well,” Fairley said. “The wind was really blowing, but they did a good job of tucking behind bigger runners on the home stretch. Dusty really let it go in the last 300 meters, pulled away with the throttle down with a 65-second last lap to win by about four seconds.” Freshman Ryan Prestegard also ran well, posting his personal-best time by four seconds of 10:21. Jessica Emde led the varsity girls, as she placed third in the high jump with a leap of 5’2”. Fairley is looking forward to better weather this week, as well as a home meet today against Folsom and Sheldon. The Delta River League championship meet is slated for May 12. “We want to be sure we’re rested up for the league meet,” Fairley said. “The top-four placers at the league meet will advance to sections.”