Eason Invite Recap: Comebacks Galore on Boy's Side Make for Exciting Finishes

Snohomish, WA - The 2019 Nike Eason Invite proved once again that Washington's top high school distance runners are able to put together some great races this last Saturday at Snohomish High School.


The Distance Medley Relay came down to the last exchange for the 1,600 meter leg between Lakeside's Sanjay Raman and Shorecrest's Erik Luu.

Lakeside's DMR Team. From Left to Right: Sanjay Raman, Fred Liu, Elian Joseph, Sebastian Alfonso. (Keenan Gray/The Runner)

Luu led for three of the fours laps until with less than 400 meters to go when Raman made a quick move around Luu to put himself out front on the final stretch.


"With 250 meters to go, I am coming here to win," said Ramen on his final effort on the 1,600 leg. "I was in the right position to do so and I felt like I had a bit more left in the tank to give."


Lakeside was sitting in third place in the first exchange from Fred Lie to Elian Joseph.


Joseph, running the hardest leg of them all in the 400 meter, did all he could to put his team back into position for a chance to potentially win and knock off a deep-team in Shorecrest.


"I got the stick and I closed the gap on the Shorecrest and Edmonds Woodway teams and I was feeling really good about my leg," said Joseph about his 400.


"As soon as I finished, the first thing I thought is we have to spread out and cheer on our guys. We went to different parts of the track to send encouragement out to Sanjay for each lap on his 1,600, and I can only assume it was a big help because we won."


Lakeside's DMR team, who came in as the fourth seed, ran a combine time of 10:30.65 beating the first seeded team, Shorecrest. They ran a second place time of 10:32.47.


Edmonds-Woodway finished in third with a combined time of 10:51.42.


Glacier Peak's Riley McDowell won the 1,600 meter race in a season best time of 4:16.02 after settling behind Monroe's Tyler Rihn.


McDowell cruised through the first half of the race in two minutes and ten seconds running back-to-back 65 second splits trailing behind the top pack as he was patiently waiting to make a move towards the end.


"I wanted to wait for the first 800 meters," said McDowell. "I knew other people would push the pace on the third lap so I just tried to work with them."


Recently McDowell has been running with 1,600 meter relay team, which he believes has been helping him out with increasing his speed and being able to close out a race without being outkicked.


"I knew the 4x4 has been helping me a lot with the last lap," said McDowell on his recent speed training. "We have been putting in a lot of 400 and 200 work lately so running that last lap was like running a 400 leg."


With his winning efforts, McDowell and the Glacier Peak boy's were able to capture the team crown scoring 36 points.


Woodway's Lucas Lacambra ran a new personal best in the 1,600 running 4:17.09 for a second place finish. Sequim's Murray Bigham ran a personal best time of 4:20.34 to finish in third.


Various state track runners from different classifications were invited to partake in the elite 800 meter race in the evening session ranging from state champions to high podium placers.

Woodinville's Luke Houser wins the boy's elite 800 meter race at the Nike Eason Invite. (Keenan Gray/The Runner)

University of Washington bound and Woodinville's own Luke Houser took home the elite 800 meter crown winning in a personal best time of 1:55.34.


Known as a predominant long distance runner, Houser used his racing experience and strategy to take full control of the first 600 meters.


"I wanted to take it out fast that first 400," said Houser. "I was leading the whole race and just wanted to control it. Usually I run further distances, so this was pretty quick for me."


Houser wouldn't lead the entire race as he would fall behind with 200 meters to go behind Black Hills Pearse Popchock, a third place finisher in the 800 at the 2A state track meet last spring.


On the final 100 meters, Houser didn't back down from a challenge passing Popchock and some other runners along the way.


The rest of the field would respond with Houser as the first through fourth place finishers were within a second of each other.


Bainbridge's Carlo Ruggiero was second in a season best time of 1:55.51 and Bonney Lake's Cayan Dibble was third in a personal best time of 1:55.76.


Northwest Christian of Lacey's Garrett McSheffrey won the open meet in the morning session in a personal best time of 1:58.8 to advance to the elite race.


In just a few short hours, McSheffrey put together one of the best performances of the day running another personal best time in the elite race running 1:56.82.


To conclude the chaotic, but fun day, Woodway's Dylan Hartono and Deyago Peraza finished first and second in the 3,200 meter race running new personal best times of 9:20.04 and 9:21.99.


Hartono was thrilled to have such great competitors in the field, which he believed helped him in the long run taking the win in a very close race to the end.


"I think everyone else around the field really helped pushed me," said Hartono on his efforts. "I just happened to be lucky to be first one to cross the tape."


Hartono's teammate Peraza led the entire time up until the final 300 meters when Hartono passed him, but Peraza would much rather see his teammate win than somebody else from a different school.


"Honestly I never knew if I was going to win or not," said Peraza. "Running with Dylan, he has a chance to always win a race, and I was just glad that he was there and really happy for him to take the win today."


With top two finishes from Hartono and Peraza, Woodway came away with a second place team finish scoring 35.5 points.


Rounding up the top three in the 3,200, Lakeside's Raman was third in a new personal best time of 9:22.63.


For more results from this invite, visit: https://www.athletic.net/TrackAndField/meet/351693/results


For more photos from this invite, visit: https://www.facebook.com/pg/therunnerwa/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1282525691898004

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