On the eve of the KU Relays 3200, Chris Auckley of Missouri Track Fanatic brings the story of Drew White's pursuit of the record book.
Drew White joins elite company, runs 9:04 3200 at Arcadia Invitational
Missouri Track Fanatic & Running Junkie April 19, 2012
Festus High School senior distance running star Drew White put himself in some elite company Saturday, April 7, 2012. White ran a 9:04.08 3200 meters at the Arcadia Invitational track meet in Arcadia, California. The Arcadia Invitational is one of the biggest and best regular season high school meets in the country, attracting some of the best athletes from all over the country. With a knowledgeable announcer guiding a supportive crowd, White and 25 other high school boys broke 9:10 in the 3200 Invitational race. White placed 23rd in the 30-man field, which was won by Nike Cross National champion and Foot Locker Cross Country National runner-up Futsum Zienasellassie in 8:47.
The son of Ed White and Laura (Byrne) White, both of whom ran collegiately at Southeast Missouri State University, White has already had a standout career. His resume includes a 2010 Missouri Class 3 Cross Country runner-up finish with a sub 16:00 clocking, a 2011 Missouri Class 3 3200 State Track title running 9:16. Last fall he added another state title, winning the 2011 Class 3 Cross Country state title. White earned All- Region honors at the Nike Cross Country Midwest Regional last November and has signed to run at the University of Missouri next fall. White has established himself as one of the top runners in the state and may be on his way one to of the best all-time in Missouri history.
White had planned on making the trip west in search of a fast race, but after a disappointing 1600 race at the Festus Tiger Town Invitational Tuesday, April 3, White wasn’t so sure. After debating making the trip with his coach Bryant Wright and father, the trio decided to make the trip out west.
In a phone interview the day after the race, White said, “I didn’t really have a good race on Tuesday and I didn’t feel very good. I didn’t want to go into this race not feeling very good and waste the trip and the money... so we kind of contemplated for a while but then ultimately we ...decided I was probably going to run fast and try and get in with those (fast) guys. Tuesday and Saturday were a long ways away from each other, we went for the risk and it was good. We were really excited and it was a lot of fun.”
It wasn’t just a track trip for the men who flew to California Thursday, April 5. They hit the beach and went hiking in the Los Angeles metro area.
Lee’s Summit native Matt Tegenkamp may be the most prolific male distance runner from Missouri. The Lee’s Summit High Schooler was a Missouri State Champion and record setter before going on to a 2008 US Olympian. Tegenkamp is one of just five U.S. born Americans to break the 13-minute barrier for 5k on the track. Tegenkamp missed a 2007 World Championships 5k bronze medal by 3/100ths of a second, placing 4th. Tegenkamp’s 8:57 3200 time at the 2000 Missouri Class 4 State Meet broke Christian Brothers College High School’s Chris Zinn’s Missouri State Track and Field Meet record of 9:00.95 set in 1984.
When asked if breaking the 9-minute barrier and Tegenkamp’s mark were on his mind while at Arcadia White said, “Yeah, definitely. I figured for right now in the season this was the best opportunity to break nine minutes, but the pace got out real slow and no one wanted to take the lead. I think my first mile was 4:33 and that was too slow. We came back really fast and so we had to negative split to get our times fast. I was a little disappointed we went out slower. I think it could have helped me out a lot more if we would have went out in 4:30 or below, I think I could have negative split that or came back again. It was a little disappointing cause I didn’t break 9 and I was pretty close.
Like top track and field meets, the atmosphere and announcing at Arcadia were outstanding, helping the athletes to great performances. White said the atmosphere and crowd were electric. “It was pretty crazy there. The stands were completely packed and the announcer was really great, he was trying to get the crowd into (cheering for) so many guys breaking nine. So it was a pretty crazy night, a pretty crazy atmosphere...the fans yelling, it helped out so much. It was a great atmosphere and I’d never seen anything like it.”
After coming so close, the question is: Will White will get another good chance to break the 9-minute barrier. The opportunities for great weather conditions, great crowd support, and a field with a few talented runners to set and hold a sub 9 minute pace are rare. Trying to run sub 9 minutes by oneself is extremely hard and rarely done. Asked if he was upset that he didn’t break the barrier White said, “It was a little disappointing ... but I didn’t really care though, at the same time it was a big pr. I have KU in two weeks so hopefully we can break nine, if not then another set time. I’ll be doing that and then the mile to go for the (Adidas Grand Prix Jim Ryun High School) dream mile and then also the 4 by 8, so that’s the big one in the next few weeks. I have to keep focusing on my mile and my 800 to try and get the 3200 time down.”
Despite the benefits of a great field, running with that many other talented athletes can cause problems and hinder one’s chances of running fast. .” White said, “It was tough but at the same time it was really easy to run a fast time. It’s physically tough on your body because of so many momentum changes and (there’s) tripping and shoving, being so close to contact.” Despite the downsides, White added, “It was a lot easier to run such a fast time with such great competition.”
After the successful trip, White was asked what he would take away from the experience. He answered: “I think the thing I could have done better was be a lot more aggressive on those guys in the pack. I kind of let the chase pack go a little bit, and I think if I would have made a stronger move on the chase pack I could have had a better chance at breaking nine.”
“That’s probably the only thing I could take away from this race, I should have been more aggressive, but I was a little timid just because of such a deep field. I didn’t want to be too aggressive and then get eaten up in the end. I was a little conservative, but hopefully I’ll have a few more chances (at breaking nine minutes): KU, State Meet... and then afterwards at some out of state races, the Midwest Distance Gala and a few others (where) hopefully I can try and set that mark and break nine and yeah of course I can get to break the state record.”
White hopes to have a busy and successful Kansas Relays and State Track Meet for himself and the Festus Tigers team. White will plan to run the 3200 on Friday, April 20, 2012 at the Kansas Relays, then the 4x800 and 1600 on Saturday the 21st. The Tigers have already run an 8:03 4x800 without White who has an open best of 1:59. They’ll try to improve on their 5th place finish at last year’s Class 3 State Meet where they finished in 8:07.
About the Kansas Relays White said “...we’re going to load that up (4x800 relay team) at KU and see how low we can go and hopefully break 8:00.” White also hopes to do what fellow Class 3 star Daniel Everett of Westminster Christian pulled off last year in winning the Kansas Relays 1600 and breaking 4:11 to qualify for the Adidas Grand Prix Jim Ryun Dream Mile in New York City in June.
But before the 1600 on Saturday White says, “obviously I’m doing the 3200 so I can race (Zach) Herriott and (Caleb) Wilfong and a few others guys. I hope they’re all doing the 3200. I think the record is 9:01 by Tegenkamp. If I can break that record, then I have a better shot of breaking the state record. I’ll definitely be going hard on the 3200, and the 4 by 800 and 16. It should be a good weekend.”
White’s future is bright; hopefully he can stay healthy and make the most of his opportunities. The California trip and race at Arcadia was just one big step on the journey he is on, and he is glad he went. ““It was a great experience and you know, I think you got to take racing one step at a time. It’s kind of hard to go from
9:16 or 9:20 to 8:50 or 8:55, in a sudden jump. A lot of guys can’t do that and I haven’t been able to do that either so, I think I just have to take those steps, the steps to a fast time and along the way I got a pretty fast time. I think it will help me down the road, just to know how that feels to run that fast and to be able to improve on that,” said White.
Although White is glad he made the California trip, he didn’t necessarily have to go so far for a quick race. Edwardsville, Illiniois high school senior Garrett Sweatt ran a 9:06.97 3200 at the Belleville West Norm Armstrong Invitational on Friday April 6, in Belleville, Ill., just across the Mississippi River. Sweatt, who has signed to compete at Stanford University next year, broke US distance running legend Craig Virgin’s meet record from 1972 with his time. St. Louis Post-Dispatch story: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/high- school/boys-track/sweatt-sets-record-cahokia-wins-invitational-for-third-straight-year/article_15b6a884-8008- 11e1-b7d5-0019bb30f31a.html
Drew White’s time puts him in a group of a handful of Missouri boys to break the 9:10 mark for 3200 meters or the two-mile. It appears that White is the ninth Missouri boy to run a sub 9:10 in the last 12 years, and the all-time Missouri list is probably includes around 20. Only 10 have run sub 9:10 at the Missouri State Track and Field Meet.
Missouri Boys Sub 9:10 3200 2000-present
A rain delay on Friday of the 2000 Missouri Class 3-4 State State Track meet meant the 3200 was held in cool conditions that night under the lights at Lincoln University’s Dwight T. Reed Stadium in Jefferson City. Lee’s Summit’s senior Matt Tegenkamp was looking for the Missouri State track meet record, held by CBC’s Chris Borsa with his 9:00.95 in 1984.
Tegenkamp was able to pull away from another Missouri distance superstar, West Plains junior Jason Sandfort, halfway through the race and scorch the track, clocking a 8:57.23 for the record. Sandfort finished not far behind in 9:06.43. A year later, many wondered if Tegenkamp’s record was in jeopardy from Sandfort.
Sandfort was at a disadvantage in his attempt to break Tegenkamp’s mark with the 1600 held on day one of the 2001 State meet and the 3200 held on Saturday afternoon. Sandfort wasn’t able to set the record but ran another impressive race with a 9:05.01 to pass former Zizzer star Chris Zinn’s 1983 time by a 1⁄2 second to put himself 3rd on the Missouri State Meet performance list.
In 2006, Lee’ Summit North senior Jacob Boone made the first trip west for the Arcadia Invitational for a Missourian. Boone ran a 9:07.43 3200 to place 11th. Boone went on to a great Missouri Class 4 Meet in 2006 presumably helping the Broncos to a runner-up finish in the 4x800 before winning the 3200 in 9:16 on day one and taking the 1600 in 4:17. Boone’s efforts helped Lee’s Summit North to 72.5 points for a 3rd place finish behind SLUH’s 75 and Raytown South’s 73.5 in what may have been one of the highest scoring meets for title contenders.
In 2007, at what was probably the greatest regular season 3200/2 mile race in Missouri high school history, CBC senior Dan Quigley won the Missouri Relays 3200 on Friday night, March 30, in Columbia. A day before the start of April, five Missouri boys went sub 9:23. Potosi senior Josh Mathis took the pace out quick but Quigley was able to come through late for the meet record in 9:08.91. Potosi’s Josh Thebeau and Josh Mathis followed behind finishing in the 9:teens while Hickman junior Sam Masters edged Rock Bridge senior Phillip King for fourth, both bettering 9:23.
Quigley and King were eventually sidelined with injury for the 2007 season while Masters went on to a runner-up finish in the Class 4 3200 behind Eric Fernandez and his 9:20, in 9:27. In Class 3, Josh Thebau and Josh Mathis went 1-2 in the 1600 in 4:11 and 4:12, and Thebeau won the 800 in 1:53 on day one. Then on
Saturday, with Potosi sending four runners to the 3200 start line for the second straight year, the Joshes went 1- 2. Mathis clocked a 9:08.74 while Thebeau crossed the line in 9:19. Mathis followed up the state meet performance with a 9:06.06 full two-mile at the Midwest Distance Gala.
In 2008, Parkway West senior Eric Fernandez set out eyeing Tegenkamp’s state meet mark. Fernandez blazed an early pace in the 3200 Friday, but locked up with 600 to go. A year later, in 2009, good friends and occasional training partners; Chaminade senior Matt Estlund and Francis Howell North senior Nick Happe pushed each other near the 9:00 barrier at the Marion Freeman Clayton Invitational on April 29. Happe ran a 9:02.03 while Estlund was just behind in 9:06.30, both smashing the 9:14 meet record. The pair couldn’t improve on those times at the hot 2009 state track meet, but both went to North Carolina for the Nike Outdoor National meet for the 2 mile race. Happe improved to a 9:02.47 full 2-mile 9th place finish while Estlund placed 19th in 9:22. The pair headed west for college to compete at Arizona State.
In 2010, Harrisonville senior star Maksim Korolev ran a 9:08.72 3200 at the Rockhurst High School Al Davis/Mike Lillis Relays. Korolev followed up with a sub 9:00 clocking at the Midwest Distance Classic. Korolev blasted an 8:58.85 full 2-mile to place third, which converts to an 8:55.73 3200 meters. Korolev now competes for Harvard University. Lee's Summit West senior Kevin Colon, the runner-up to Korolev in the Rockhurst race, won the Class 4 State title in 9:12.09.
In 2011 College Heights Christian senior Caleb Hoover won the Kansas Relays 3200 in 9:11.98, but didn’t face another fast field in the 3200 the rest of the season. After a blistering 1600 that saw nine boys run sub 4:17 in the Class 4 race, and 15 total in the Class 3 and Class 4 races run sub 4:20 on day one of the 2011 State Meet, Liberty senior Cody Troy Smith won the Class 4 State track 3200 title in 9:12.71.
Missouri Boys Sub 9:10 3200 State Meet Performances
According to Dean Hays, Hardin-Central High School track coach and the Missouri Track and Cross Country Coaches Association Secretary, only 10 boys have run sub 9:10 for 3200 meters or two-miles at the Missouri State Track and Field Championships. It appears to have been accomplished 13 times by 10 boys, three of which have done it twice.
*Indicates set Meet Record
1983 Chris Zinn
1984 Chris Borsa
1985 Joe Kirby
1986 Jason Pyrah
1987 Jason Pyrah
1989 Michael Cox 2000 Matt Tegenkamp
2000 Jason Sandfort
2001 Jason Sandfort
2007 Josh Mathis
West Plains Poplar Bluff CBC Hannibal West Plains Jefferson City Willard Willard Hannibal Lee’s Summit West Plains West Plains Potosi
9:05.50* 9:07.02 9:00.95* 9:05.94 9:07.23 9:08.88 9:09.59 9:07.48 9:07.16 8:57.23* 9:06.43 9:05.01 9:08.74
Aracdia 3200 invitational video:
Drew Whte interview last Tuesday at Festus Tiger Town invitational
Chris Auckley Missouri Track Fanatic