Montgomery freshman Hanne Thomsen pulls away from Albany senior Sophia Nordenholz toward the end of the record-setting 3,200-meter race on Saturday at the Dublin Distance Fiesta. (Jeffrey Parenti photo)
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DUBLIN -- Hanne Thomsen couldn't figure out what to do with her sombrero. The Santa Rosa Montgomery (NC) High School freshman had just won the girls 3,200 meters at the Dublin Distance Fiesta on Saturday and was trying to decide whether to wear her prize -- winners get a sombrero -- while she was interviewed.
This "being one of the best runners in Northern California" is still kind of new for her.
Eventually, she settled for holding the sombrero while talking.
Thomsen ran two personal bests on the day, both top-three times in CA this year. She won the 3,200 in 10 minutes, 14.46 seconds after taking second place in the 1,600-meter race in 4:49.02.
The performance was especially impressive as she ran both races against two of the top senior athletes in Northern California: Riley Chamberlain of Del Oro (SJ) and Sophia Nordenholz of Albany (NC). The meet was a coming-out party for Thomsen -- at least on the track for the CIF-State Division III cross country champion.
In the 1,600, Chamberlain won in 4:46.34 with Thomsen second and Nordenholz third (4:51.44). Eleven runners broke 5-minutes in the fastest of the 23 heats. There were 14 girls who went under 5:01. How fast was that race? Nordenholz went nearly two seconds under the previous meet record she set in 2021 ... and finished third.
Chamberlain's time is the second-fastest in the state this season.
In the 3,200, the three went out to the front again, with Nordenholz leading the first half of the race. But Thomsen made her move and took control. Nordenholz finished second in 10:19.12 with Chamberlain third in 10:30.72.
Thomsen and Nordenholz both broke the old meet record of 10:24.33 -- set by Nordenholz last spring.
"I started out and felt really good," Thomsen said of the 3,200. "I was sticking with Sophia until I thought it was time to go. I wasn't really expecting anything because I ran a PR for the (1,600)."
She added that she's, "surprised with my times so far. This is the race of having competition so that definitely helped."
Thomsen said she joined a local running club in fourth grade. For a while, she was running by herself and didn't really enjoy it. Now that she's on a team, "it's just really fun."
She said she met all her time goals for the season at Dublin and isn't sure what goals to set. With two months to go until the California Interscholastic Federation championships at the end of May, the rest of us are wondering how much Thomsen will improve.
"The first lap I just wanted to keep it nice and smooth and stay with the top three," Peters said. "I knew that it was going to be a really fast heat. Around 300 meters, I realized I had a little more. The last 300 meters, I knew I had a lot left to give."
Peters is a 200-400 runner. She played soccer for 10 years but has focused on track for the past two years. The Dublin 800 was just her third open race at that distance.
"I was really happy with my time," she said. "I've just been focused on trying to figure out what my race is."
In the distance medley relay, Mill Valley Tamalpais (NC) beat out Moraga Campolindo (NC) for the title, 12:34.83-12:38.12.
On the boys side, Albany St. Mary's (NC) junior Mateo Malko-Allen won the 1,600 and then took second in the 800. In the former, he beat out a stellar field, finishing in 4:14.55. Reno's Kyle Ortega-Gammill was second in 4:15.16.
"That race went great," Malko-Allen said after the 1,600. "We had a good race plan. Stay a little bit conservative for the first lap, then just try to move up, move up, and be in position to strike and then kick that last 100. There's some great guys out there. It was a blast running with them."
"That was a blast," he said. "That was a super-awesome race. All the good runners, great competition."
Ortega-Gammill, a senior, noted that it was a chance to run at sea level for him as well. The weather -- it was cool, rainy and a little windy during the race -- was a small concern.
South San Francisco El Camino (CC) senior Yutaka Roberts was able to beat Malko-Allen to the line in the 800, winning in 1:52.34. Malko-Allen was second in 1:54.49 with Stockton Lincoln (SJ) senior Noah Pagaran next in 1:54.92.
Roberts finished sixth in the 1,600 and said he was still tired from that race.
"I decided to stick behind the person in first so I wouldn't use so much energy trying to lead the whole race," Roberts said. "I started dying out starting with the last 300. Then I just used whatever energy I had left in the last 200."
Jesuit (SJ) senior Braden King used a furious final lap to win the 3,200 at the wire, in 9:01.95. Stockton St. Mary's junior Daniel Winter had seemingly taken control of the race but was not able to hold off King's late charge, placing second in 9:02.03.
San Jose Bellarmine (CC) won the distance medley relay in 10:33.27. College Park was second in 10:38.06.
There were 147 races over 14 hours on Saturday and Dublin coach/meet director Chris Williams welcomed record numbers to the annual distance showcase to the point where he needed to had 13 spillover 3,200-meter race on Friday night. The meet had 149 teams and nearly 3,000 athletes competing on the Dublan oval.
Damin Esper is a freelance writer and regular contributor to MileSplit.