Long has another strong performance at Stanford

Parker Long (2048) competes in the 800 meter race

Parker Long ran well against top competition on April 1, taking third place in the 800 meters at the Stanford Invitational.

Long followed up his surprising victory at the Dublin Distance Fiesta in March by showing he belongs among the top 800 runners in the area. This time, he had a difficult trip on the first lap, then rallied at the end to take third in one minute, 53.77 seconds. Joe Lighthall of Hughson won the race in 1:52.64, with Menlo School-Atherton’s Justin Pretre second in 1:52.98.

“That race was a mess,” Long said. “There was a lot of back-and-forth. We were all in a big clump, but we were all fighting for Lane 1. I think I lost a lot of my battles to get into Lane 1 and I was stuck on Lane 2 for a lot of the curves. I think we went by in 57 or high-56 and I was already gassed at that point. I was so tired because I was just fighting for my spot.

“I saw Justin make a big move with 300 to go and I was like, ‘That looks like a good move!’”

Long is putting together what you might call a Cinderella season. He wasn’t scheduled to run in the “A”  heat at Dublin, but got in thanks to a couple of scratches. He then won the race in 1:53.25, which qualified him for the race at Stanford.

Christian Taylor (center)

“At Dublin, I dropped my PR by 10 seconds,” Long said. “I think that moved me up. Today, it was nice to show that wasn’t just a fluke, that I feel like I do belong up there now.”

Long will be at the Arcadia Invitational on the weekend of April 7-8, the top high school meet in the nation. He’ll be in the Open 800 (the Invitational is the top race) and will run the Distance Medley Relay with his Highlander teammates. He wants the school record (1:51.10) by the end of the year, and is now in the conversation to make the California Interscholastic Federation championships, something that might have seemed out of reach just a month ago.

“I’m looking towards state,” he said. “Doing as well as I can in each race. If I do get to state, I’m going to just go for it. I think (the school record) is a possibility.”

Piedmont’s Christian Taylor finished eighth in the boys 1,600 in a personal-best of 4:15.07.  That’s second all-time in school history. Palo Alto’s Grant Morgenfeld won the race in 4:11.88.

“Christian had yet another impressive performance, PR’ing for the fourth straight time where he started the season at 4:30 and he’s now down to 4:15,” Highlander coach Pouyan Assadi said.

Spencer Sorenson-Wald (center)

Spencer Sorensen-Wald ran his first 400 hurdles, taking 11th in 59.85 on March 31. High schoolers normally run the 300 hurdles. Independence-San Jose’s Kin Ho Tsang won the event in 53.91.

The boys 1,600 relay team of Sorensen-Wald, Long, Sam Shelby, and Jack Zirkelbach-Ngai ran 3:32.54 to finish 18th. Los Gatos ran 3:21.08 to win the event on April 1.

Piedmont’s girls 400 relay team of Miranda Liu, Ella Yasar, Darcy McKee, and Breah Bell ran in the preliminary heats on March 31 and finished in a season-best 51.24, 20th overall. Polytechnic-Long Beach won the finals in 47.67.

Darcy McKee and Ella Yasar prepare for the handoff

“The girls 4×100 continue to show signs of cohesiveness, so we’re going to take the next step in our handoff evolution to see if we can shed some time there,” Assadi said. “These girls are already competing against the best, and we’ve only gotten a small glimpse of what they’re truly capable of.”

On March 23, Piedmont competed in its first West Alameda County Conference meet, defeating Encinal in both boys and girls. The boys won, 80-39, while the girls prevailed, 63-36. Athletes from several WACC schools took part, but the Highlanders were only scored against Encinal.

Sorensen-Wald won the boys pole vault, 110 hurdles and long jump. Charles White won the discus (eighth overall), took second in the shot put (10th) and second in the triple jump.

On the girls’ side, Bell won the 100, took second in the 200, and anchored the winning 400 relay team. Jamie Schwarz was first in the 400 and 800, and her 1:05.68 time in the former was a personal-best.

Photos by Pouyan Assadi and Steve Zirklebach

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