Redwood senior Liam Anderson swept the distances at the CIF-NCS Meet of Champions. (File photo)
PLEASANT HILL -- In his final romp before next week's CIF-State Track and Field Championships, Redwood senior Liam Anderson battled the elements to put on a vintage performance at the NCS Meet of Champions on Saturday at Diablo Valley College.
Building on last week's solid effort at the NCS Redwood Empire Area Championships, Anderson again swept both the 1600m and 3200m.
In a very tactical -- and wet -- 1600m race, Anderson waited until the final 150m to lay down the hammer en route to a 4:16.79 and the win. An exceptional time for most athletes, but for Anderson, he wasn't "trying to run any faster" than he needed to. And he didn't, just edging out his opponent by .30 seconds. When you're a nationally-ranked runner, you can say and do things like that.
"Just go in, go out quick," Anderson said. "Today was really just a dress rehearsal for next week."
Anderson then doubled back in the 3200m, which he won in 8:57.35 -- just two seconds off the meet record of 8:55.06, set by Novato's Erik Olson in 2009. One of the best distance runners in the state, and the nation, Anderson has put his talent on full display the past two weeks heading into the State Meet.
And he's itching to get down to Clovis, where he'll look to defend his title in the 1600m.
"Pretty high," Anderson said about his confidence level going into state. "I think if today was indicative of anything, I'm in the best shape I've ever been in and I'm really excited to get out there next week. I feel ready. We've been working all year for this, and I absolutely feel ready."
No amount of rain, cold or wind was stopping Anderson, who is No. 10 in the state for the 1600m and No. 3 for the 3200m. The Stanford-bound runner, who was the Gatorade National Boys Runner of the Year in cross country, said he is aiming to win both events next week, where he'll be one of the heavy favorites.
Elsewhere, in the sprints, Clayton Valley senior Cameron Reynolds booked his return trip to Clovis in the 200m and 400m. Reynolds, one of the best 400m runners in California, was dealing with some knee irritation after running the 4x100m relay earlier in the day.
"It wasn't something to keep me out of the race, just a little bit of a nagging feeling," Reynolds said after his 400m race. "I just wanted to come out and qualify, and not have to overextend it too much. And so I felt like I did that. Down that last 200m, I got a lil' tight. But I had to push hard. I got the job done."
Reynolds, No. 5 in the state for the 400m, placed second in 48.64. He rebounded in the 200m, which he won in 21.61. It's Reynolds' second consecutive 200m section title. As well as excelling individually, Reynolds did it all for his team -- he anchored both the 4x100m relay and 4x400m relay squads to first-place finishes.
He'll run both the 200m and 400m at the state championships, with the goal of making podium and running in the 46-second range for the 400m as well as dropping into the 20-second range for the 200m.
Next week are the CIF State Track and Field Championships, which take place from May 24 to May 25 at Buchanan High School in Clovis.