Going into last night’s (April 24) boys’ 3200 meters at the 2014 Drake Relays, there was one number on everyone’s mind: nine.
No high school boy from Iowa had ever run the race in less than nine minutes, but with a supremely talented field headed to the line at Drake Stadium—home of the prestigious annual meet—fans and coaches alike had a feeling that this might be the year.
"I'm looking at it if the weather cooperates; I'm not surprised [if] four or five guys break nine [minutes]," Kyle Hoffman, distance coach at Linn-Mar High School, told the Des Moines Register.
Hoffman was slightly off in his prediction, but his optimism was well founded, as Albert Meier, a senior from Boone High School, took first place with a time of 8:58.46, breaking the state record by nearly six seconds.
Behind him was Linn-Mar senior Josh Evans, who narrowly missed the nine-minute mark with a time of 9:01.55, and Thomas Pollard, whose 9:04.85 was more than six seconds faster than the 9:10.97 he won with at last year’s Drake Relays.
"No matter who wins, they're going to run fast," Pollard had rightfully prognosticated before the race.
Afterward, Meier was thrilled to have broken nine minutes and bested the previous high school state record of 9:04.33, set by Jon Thomas of Des Moines Roosevelt in 2005.
“I feel great,” Meier said, according to LetsRun.com. “My coach just said, ‘Give it time.’ We started off the year, I was kind of sick. He said, ‘Always stay calm. Always stay relaxed.’ Then at the end of the race…I got a chance and I kicked it in, in the last 400.”
“There was a lot of good runners in that race,” Meier added. “Everyone did a great job. It was fast-paced. We were always pushing it.”
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg