By Dublin HS distance coach, Patrick Kleinow
The storms are over, the sky is clearing, and distance athletes from all over California are lacing up their racing spikes, because it is time for the Dublin Distance Fiesta 2016! This year's meet has already set records. With 20 more schools, over 300 more runners, and a whopping 356 more event entries, the Dublin Distance Fiesta is proving it is once again THE destination for exciting distance racing. You've seen the shirts being worn up and down California, and with the top three in EVERY race getting their choice of a t-shirt or a bag, the now iconic DDF shirts will be up for grabs once again. But, all true track runners know that the REAL victory resides in the times, and DDF is set up to help push EVERY athlete to a Personal Best. Where else can you find a combined 21 heats of the 3200m? That is dizzying 168 laps around the track of JUST 3200m races! And once again, the Dublin Distance Fiesta is teaming up with the most prestigious track meet in the nation, The Arcadia Invitational, and Arcadia Invite qualifying spots are up for grabs. Bring sunscreen, bring some fresh spikes, and bring your best, to the 2016 Dublin Distance Fiesta. Now let's meet the people and races to watch!
Meet Record - Cassi Land - Sonora - 2015 - 5:06.01
The first event of the day also has the biggest chance of crushing a Dublin Distance Fiesta Meet Record. With 7 girls that have run faster than the current meet record, and with two of those girls being Olivia O'Keeffe and Abigail Fisk (who both broke 5 minutes in a TIME TRIAL this year!) the meet record is likely going to be crushed. Elena Kamas (4:57) rounds out the top three seeded girls in the 1600m, but looking to defend her record, Cassi Land of Sonora is also entered and is someone to watch out for. Could this be the first year DDF has a female under 5 minutes in the 1600? Make sure you pay attention to this race, it's going to have some blistering times.
Meet Record - Erik Olson - Novato - 2009 - 4:17.28
The boys' 1600m is shaping up to be a very close race, with top 6 runners coming in with seed times within 4 seconds of one another. Both Heritage's Benry Sheehan and Davis High's Nick Borowsky come into the meet with matching seed times (4:18.90), and Nick's teammate Kellen Browning (Davis) is right behind them with a seed time of 4:19.60. But the depth of the field is impressive, and even Bellarmine's Benjamin Micallef (4:25) can run a great race and earn himself a DDF shirt.
Meet Record - Kendall Derry - Bella Vista - 2015 - 2:12.84
The girls' 800m could see some team racing tactics coming out of the Redwood girls. There are 5 Redwood girls in this heat, with Gillian Wagner coming in with the fastest seed time (2:13.70). Her teammates Glennis Murphy and Lucie Semone (2:18.10 and 2:19.30) are hoping to complete the Redwood sweep. Keeley Murphy of Carondelet is hoping to interrupt Redwood's plans, and her seed time of 2:17.80 ensures that she has the speed to do so. And maybe freshman Cassie Haskell who already ran a blazing 5:03 this season in the 1600 can use her newcomer status to earn herself a famous DDF Pinata shirt.
Meet Record - Sebastian Sam - Oak Grove - 2008 - 1:54.21
The 800m is going to have some fast times, and a large group of guys aiming to go well under 2 minutes. Willie Hall (1:53) is hoping to represent his very strong Davis High School with a win and break the oldest DDF record. Niki Moore (Campolindo) and Braeden Kraft (Del Campo) are going to be in the mix, and will likely be seeing a lot of one another since their seed times are so close (1:56.10 and 1:56.90). The rest of the heat has a great chance to dip under the 2:00.00 800m milestone.
Meet Record - Brighie Leach - Campolindo- 2015 - 10:41.59
The women's records at DDF seem to be in serious trouble this year, and that continues with the girls' 3200m. Last year, Brighie Leach (Campolindo) set the current 3200m record, but with two seniors coming into this event with a seed time faster, could Leach's record stand for only a year? Also on the line, the winner of this race gets automatically qualified for the Arcadia Invitational 3200m, the Big Show for track meets! Top NCS returner Megan McCandless has the time (10:38:00) and the competitive history (2nd at XC State Meet this past season) to pull off a win and a DDF record. Right behind Megan is NXN qualifier Brooke Starn, with a seed time that is one second below the current record (10:40) and intimate knowledge of this DDF 3200m race (she was second here last year behind Leach). Meredith Corda (Monte Vista) is also no stranger to the premier 3200m race, since she got 3rd place last year. Cassi Land is the current DDF record holder in the 1600m, can she have a breakout race and set ANOTHER DDF record? 16 ladies are entered at 11:00 or faster this year, and the race will likely turn out to be the fastest girls' 3200m in DDF history.
Meet Record - Steve Sum - Saratoga- 2015 - 9:08.56
The boys' race has more than just pride and a t-shirt on the line, as the top 3 finishers of this race qualify on to the prestigious Arcadia Invitational in Southern California. With 9 boys entered at 9:20 or faster, another DDF record is in jeopardy. Footlocker All-American Michael Vernau comes in with a PR that is just one second slower (9:09.8) than the current DDF record. Having already run 9:11.0 in the rain this season, he will likely be a sombrero contender. Division 5 cross country state champion Cooper Teare (9:14) of St. Joseph ND is the top NCS returner and was 4th here last year. The top 3 is up for grabs for a large group of boys including the top SF section runner Salem Bouhassoun (Mission), top OAL runner Zach Katzman (Skyline), the top CCS returner Justin Robison (Lynbrook), Bishop O'Dowd's Nick Downs, El Molino's Brian Schulz, and Armijo's Luis Grijalva, whose PRs are all within a few seconds of each other.
Girls Distance Medley Relay
Meet Record - Bella Vista - 2015 - 12:14.03
The Distance Medley Relay is the event that really shows the depth of a distance team. A squad needs to have their goals all aligned, and there must be a perfect balance between speed and stamina. As NXN qualifiers Davis has to be in the running for top team this year, given the number of superb performers they have throughout the day's races. Also looking to show their depth, Monte Vista has a strong distribution of talent that may see them in the running for a DDF shirt. Other teams that will be in the mix are Homestead, St. Joseph Notre Dame and Redwood. With more DMR entries than ever before, this event is becoming increasingly competitive and will likely show some impressive team times.
Boys Distance Medley Relay
Meet Record - Bellarmine - 2011 - 10:29.89
Like in the girls DMR, the DDF favorites on the boys' side look to be Davis. It is hard to underestimate the depth of talent this team is bringing to the Festival this year. But will there be a heroic performance from a 3200m runner doubling back only a few minutes later? The boys from Heritage also have a strong representation in the fastest heats of the day, will they be in the running for a DDF shirt? Likewise, Bellarmine is looking to try and make the podium, and they are throwing everything they have at the race, running an "A", "B", and "C" squad in the fastest DMR heat of the night. For the first time in DDF history there will be two heats of the boys DMR due to the large number of entries, making the event more competitive than ever. Look forward to a wild finish, and then a traditional dance party once the racing is over.