Dimond's Sarah Freistone had already caught her breath after winning the 3,200-meter race at the Cook Inlet Conference track and field championships and was talking with some of the other top finishers Friday afternoon when her attention was diverted back to the Bartlett High track.
"Way to go, Maddie! One more lap!" she yelled to teammate Maddie Bee as Bee ran past the finish line and Freistone, still one lap away from finishing the eight-lap race.
The lead pack lapped a couple of runners during the race -- it got Bee in the sixth lap -- and the same thing happened in the boys 3,200 meters, won by Service's Max Romey.
Someone almost always gets lapped in track's longer races, and while it might be deflating, it isn't necessarily devastating.
In a sport that can be as much about self-improvement as it about winning, a lapped runner can nonetheless finish a race triumphantly. Even though Bee, who was racing her first 3,200 of the season, finished more than four minutes behind Freistone, she lowered her personal best by a minute, Dimond distance coach Nate Normandin said.
"If they can persevere through it, it makes them tough mentally," he said of getting lapped. "Runners and skiers are little more introverted, independent, so you have to be mentally tough."
A mentally tough runner learns to run her own race regardless of how others are doing. And all runners, from the record-setters to the back-of-the-packers, find motivation in chasing personal bests and satisfaction in setting them.
South freshman Jackson Evans got lapped in the boys 3,200 meters but had no complaints afterward. His time of 12:11.50 was more than 80 seconds behind Romey's winning time of 9 minutes, 49.68 seconds, but it shaved 18 seconds off his previous personal best.
Evans said he was surprised his coaches put him in the region championships, but South distance coach Tom Grenier said Evans deserved the opportunity for a season's worth of effort and improvement.
"He's a come-every-day guy," Grenier said, praising Evans for his work ethic. "We've been watching his times fall. It's nice to be able to reward that."
And even though Romey and the other leaders lapped Jackson in the second half of the race, Jackson was OK with it.
"It's not very fun, but I mean, those guys are pretty hard-core," he said. "The competition was a lot greater (than a regular meet), a lot more difficult."
That's a healthy way to respond to getting lapped, said Normandin, who was a top runner at UAA, and in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, a few years ago when he was lapped in a 10,000-meter race in an Oregon meet.
"It's a little humbling," Normandin said. "At first I was like, oh my gosh! But I was still running well for myself, so I thought, why worry about them? You learn from it."
Freistone, a senior who owns the state's fastest 3,200 time and won in 11:24.27 Friday, is proof that getting lapped isn't the end of the world.
"I've been lapped," she said. "In my freshman year."
That's why she made a point to cheer for Bee, who finished in 14:32.71.
"It really brings you down when you get lapped," Freistone said. "It's nice when other people cheer for you. As one of the faster people, I try to help (others), because it was real motivating to me to have people encourage me."
While Bee got a PR on a breezy, chilly afternoon, Freistone did not -- she was eight seconds off her personal-record time of 11:16.49. Still, she forged a five-second victory over Eagle River's Kaitlyn Mondl.
Freistone said she held back a little because she's running in three races Saturday when the CIC meet continues at Bartlett.
"I'm saving it for state," Freistone said of next week's state meet in Fairbanks.
Other girls winners Friday included Bartlett's Morgan Kueter in high jump, Service's Dajanae Harris in the long jump and Chugiak's Malia McVee in the discus, where West's Pauline Tufi, the region's leading discus thrower with the second-best toss in the state this season, was disqualified.
Other boys winners were Lamarr Brown of West in the high jump, Richard Predmore of Bartlett in the long jump and Terry Holtman of West in the discus.
Reach Beth Bragg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4335.
Cook Inlet Conference track and field championships
Bartlett High School
3,200 -- 1, Freistone, Sarah, Dimond, 11:24.27. 2, Mondl, Kaitlyn, Eagle River, 11:29.51. 3, Northey, Jenette, Service, 11:38.29. 4, Blanchet, Lydia, West, 11:49.97. 5, Culver, Katherine, South, 11:54.25. 6, Stevens, Hannah, Eagle River, 11:59.36.
High jump -- 1, Kueter, Morgan, Bartlett, 5-2. 2, Warners, Scout, Eagle River, 5-1. 3, Simpson, Samantha, West, 4-10. 4, (tie) Walker, Brea, Dimond; Cantrell, Kelli, West; Gregg, Rachel, Chugiak; Kueter, Taylir, Bartlett; Evern, Sylvia, Dimond, 4-8.
Long jump -- 1, Harris, Dajanae, Service, 16-8.25. 2, Collins, Alexandria, Chugiak, 15-8.75. 3, Gregg, Rachel, Chugiak, 15-5.75. 4, Nelson, Paige, Chugiak, 14-11.75. 5, Treder, Kathryn, West Anchora, 14-11. 6, Warners, Scout, Eagle River, 14-9.50.
Discus -- 1, McVee, Malia, Chugiak, 99-11. 2, Dunbar, Tina-Louise, East, 97-9. 3, French, Kelly, West Anchora, 97-1. 4, Manu, Li, East, 93-11. 5, Yi, Amy, South, 88-11. 6, Walters, Dakayla, Dimond, 87-8.
3200 -- 1, Romey, Max, Service, 9:49.68. 2, Farr, John, East, 10:05.96. 3, Schlemme, Lucas, Service, 10:13.35. 4, Huffman, Mason, South, 10:18.29. 5, Turney, Taylor, Service, 10:19.81. 6, Peterson, Konnor, West, 10:54.03.
High jump -- 1, Brown, Lamarr, West, 6-0. 2, Elliott, Leroy, West, 5-10. 3, Rasmussen, Ethan-John, Service, 5-8. 4, (tie) Roylance, Kristopher, West; Parker, C.J., Dimond; Jorgensen, Roger, Chugiak, 5-6.
Long jump -- 1, Predmore, Richard, Bartlett, 20-8.25. 2, Bullard, Kade, Dimond, 19-8.75. 3, Rasmussen, Ethan-John, Service, 19-2.75. 4, Keith, Duncan, Chugiak, 18-10.75. 5, Pace, Ricco, West, 18-10.25. 6, Pearce, Alex, Service, 18-3.25.
Discus -- 1, Holtman, Terry, West, 152-3. 2, Corpuz, Brandon, Dimond, 136-5. 3, Charoonsophonsak, Victor, Dimond, 128-6. 4, Reno, Alexander, Bartlett, 126-3. 5, Deldonno, Matthew, Dimond, 125-2. 6, Tosi, Tarini, East, 124-9.
By BETH BRAGG
Anchorage Daily News