EUGENE, ORE. - When Jack Gladfelter crossed the finish line at the 2A state meet a few weeks ago in the boys 3,200-meter final, he had just run a lifetime best time of 9 minutes, 20.46. It good enough to best a school record for Port Angeles and earn himself a spot on the podium finishing in fifth.
All that pushed aside, one thing bothered him in the end: he wasn't able to push himself mentally on the final 400 to get a better result.
From the time he had raced at Mt. Tahoma, Gladfelter challenged himself mentally these last two weeks, and it proved to work in his favor as he brought a different approach into Hayward Field on Friday at Nike Outdoor Nationals.
Coming away with a new personal best time of 9:14.43 in the Emerging Elite boys two-mile, Gladfelter ran the race of his life to place third overall in the field.
“It just kind of felt like state all over again,” Gladfelter said. “Just that last lap and hearing the bell, I just went for it.”
Looking back at his 3,200 state race, Gladfelter knew what he should have done when he began clawing his way back up to eventual champion in Sehome's Zack Munson, but just didn't have it there for his taking. At Hayward, he was able to push through the pain.
“I learned to not to listen to my body when it wants to go slow, and keep with the pace,” Gladfelter said.
The final 400 meters for Gladfelter came down to running a 62 second last lap to hold off South County's (Virginia) Isaac Garcia in heat two for the win after averaging 71 seconds for the middle four laps resulting in a much different outcome than at state.
“I had a bunch of friends say I was slowly making my way up to (Zack) Munson, and just that last 400 I didn’t have a kick," he said. "This race definitely proved to show even though I was tired that I still had a little bit left in the tank to just push it.”
Tumwater's John Hoffer won heat one in a personal best time of 9:18.84 and placed eighth overall between the heats. Enumclaw's McCoy Brooks finished sixth in Gladfelter's heat, but placed 13th overall in a personal best 9:26.32.
Gladfelter, Hoffer, and Brooks were all podium finishers at the 2A state meet in the 3,200 and 1,600.
In the girls Emerging Elite race, Seattle Prep's Lily O'Donoghue-McDonald, fifth at the 3A state meet in the 3,200, took fifth in heat two of two, running a personal best 10:58.23 to place seventh overall.
Also in heat two, Rogers' (Puyallup) Eleanor Jepsen placed 10th in a personal best 11:10.01 and Peninsula's Hannah Lee was 11th in a personal best 11:11.44. Jepson and Lee finished 13th and 15th overall respectfully.
South Kitsap's Ella Hopper, 4A state champion in the 300 hurdles, ran a lifetime best in the girls 400 hurdles championship race, running a time of 63.30 to place ninth.
Enumclaw's Ellie DeGroot, 2A state champion in the 100 and 300 hurdles, finished 11th overall in the girls Emerging Elite field in a personal best time of 65.81. Evergreen's Grace Twiss, third in 3A 300 hurdles, was 13th in a personal best 67.52.
Three relay teams earned all-American honors in the championship races led by the Curtis girls 4x200 team, made up of Lenice Walston, Hazel Gaspaire, Azariah Miller, and Ava Simms, finishing fifth in a time of 1:43.90.
Tumwater, which included Mariah Jett, Annabelle Clapp, Reese Heyford, and Ava Jones, were sixth in 1:44.72.
Arlington took sixth in the boys DMR race, running 10:08.33. Brandon Moore, Ryan Rushton, Kellen Langford, and Aiden Emerson made up the Eagles' squad.