Here’s something to think about.
Maryville High School senior Clint McKelvey won the 3200 meters at the Blount County Track and Field Championships on Tuesday at William Blount in a time of 10 minutes, 4 seconds, finishing more than a minute faster than the next best runner.
Just think if he’d been going full speed.
At last week’s Arcadia (Calif.) Invitational, considered by many the nation’s most prestigious for high school track and field, the Duke signee McKelvey was part of a history-making field in which 16 runners broke 9 minutes. Seven others were within 10 seconds of getting under nine.
“It was cool to be a part of that,” said McKelvey, the defending state champion in the event. “We came through the mile in 4:29, and 28 people were in the pack. It was incredible.”
North Carolina’s Jake Hurysz won the Arcadia in 8:49.76, with McKelvey finishing in 8:59.06. Tuesday, the Rebel speed racer added wins in the 800 and 1600, along with running the anchor on a winning 4x800 relay.
“Clint is just at a different place in running,” Maryville distance coach Tim Carnes said. “He’s been focused for so long, and it’s paying off.”
McKelvey’s afternoon was part of a big day for the Rebels, whose 150 points overwhelmed the host Governors (60), Alcoa (50) and Heritage (6) to take the boys’ team crown.
As dominant as McKelvey proved in the boys’ field, Lady Rebel junior Julia Petree all but matched him in an impressive sweep of the sprints on the girls’ side. The reigning state 400 meter champion took care of business in her signature race, blasting clear of the field to take out wins in the 100 and 200 as well.
A year ago, Petree did the unprecedented, also adding the 800 title.
With the Volunteer Classic scheduled for Saturday at Tennessee’s Tom Black Track, Tuesday the Lady Rebel ace and her coaches decided to call it a day at three.
Petree’s winning times - 12.42 in the 100, 25.44 in the 200 and 57.85 at 400 - are quicker than a season ago, but Maryville’s jet-quick star would like to see them get a little bit faster before sectionals next month.
She was an unknown at state a year ago, she said. This season, she’s the one the rest of the field is chasing.
“It’s kind of nerve wracking because last year I was the underdog,” she said.
The pressure of defending her title has led Petree to post the fastest times in the state in both the 200 and 400 this season. Where she won last year largely on pure speed and race tactics, this season his charge has added weight lifting to her training regimen, Maryville track coach Nick White said.
“Last year, it was just all speed,” he said.
It’s hoped the added strength will give Petree even more of a finishing kick, and not just in the 400 meters.
“She’s a hard worker,” White said. “She’s being recruited (by Tennessee, Kentucky and Louisville) as a sprinter, but she would probably be an even better quarter miler.
“It comes with a whole lot of effort and a whole lot of work she’s put in.”
Petree’s performance paced the Lady Rebels to as emphatic a win in the girls’ team race as McKelvey had done with the Rebels. Maryville’s 141.5 points outdistanced the Lady Governors (75.5), Lady Mountaineers (45) and Lady Tornadoes (3) by a comfortable margin. The decisive gap would prove a theme for several winners throughout the day.
Among the day’s most convincing victories was an overpowering effort from Heritage’s Lauren Barnes in the 1600 meters. The Lady Mountaineer sophomore lapped all but a handful of runners to win in a time of 5:40, 22 seconds better than her closest pursuer.
Heritage teammate Alisha Lewis was almost as dominant in the long jump, soaring 15 feet, 11 inches into the sand to win by nearly a foot.
McKelvey’s time in the 3200 at the Arcadia meet is the fifth fastest time ever recorded for the event for a high school runner in Tennessee.
“It was unreal,” Carnes said.
There’s little chance McKelvey will put it on cruise from here to the state meet, though. The third and fourth fastest times for a Tennessee prep in the 3200 was run at the same Arcadia Invitational, with Baylor’s Brandon Lord (8:55.42) and Rossview’s Jake Rainey (8:57.19) finishing third and seventh, respectively, to McKelvey’s 14th place finish.
The way McKelvey ran Tuesday was indicative a runner with much still to prove, Carnes said.
“He just went out there and did his work,” he said. “I’m just so proud of him for so many reasons. Clint knows a lot of the things he’s accomplished aren’t accomplished by a lot of folks, but he doesn’t wear it on his chest. Just his willingness to continue to discipline himself, season after season, is remarkable.”
There’s the added motivation of missing out on last fall’s state cross country championships with a foot injury. McKelvey had finished runner up in the 2008 race and looked to be the favorite last fall before his senior season as a harrier was cut short.
“I really want to make up for that,” McKelvey said. “I keep reminding myself I need to appreciate every race.
“It (the cross country meet) was tough to handle at first, but it provided a good perspective on things.”
Like McKelvey, Petree wasn’t operating at full burner on Tuesday. The key is for her to hit sectionals and the state meet at peak fitness, White said. If that happens, he said, look out.
“If not this year, next year the state record in the 400 might be in big trouble,” he said.
2010 Blount County track and field champions
•100 - Julia Petree, Maryville, 12.42
•200 - Petree, 25.44
• 400 - Petree, 57.85
• 800 - Abby Davis, Maryville, 2:36.72
• 1600 - Lauren Barnes, Heritage, 5:40
• 3200 - Nina Laughlin, Maryville, 13:04
• 4x100 - Maryville, 50.66
• 4x200 - Maryville, 1:48.99
• 4x400 - William Blount, 4:23.59
• 4x800 - Maryville, 10:38
• 100 hurdles - Morgan McCord, Maryville, 17.15
• 300 hurdles - Cassie Riegel, Maryville, 49.9
• Discus - Mandy Marshall, William Blount, 73-3
• High jump - Brooke Butterworth, William Blount, 5-0
• Long jump - Alisha Lewis, Heritage, 15-11
• Pole vault - Emily Koski, William Blount, 8-0
• Shot put - Beth Blackstock, Maryville, 28-2½
• Triple jump - Claire Blackstock, Maryville, 32-1
• 100 - Daniel Rockymore, Alcoa, 11.26
• 200 - Preston Burnett, Maryville, 22.83
• 400 - Caleb Latham, William Blount, 52.22
• 800 - Clint McKelvey, Maryville, 2:09.2
• 1600 - McKelvey, 4:59
• 3200 - McKelvey, 10:04
• 4x100 - Maryville, 43.50
• 4x200 - Maryville, 1:31.66
• 4x400 - Maryville, 3:39.86
• 4x800 - Maryville, 9:54
• 110 hurdles - Adam Brown, Maryville, 15.37
• 300 hurdles - Brown, 41.34
• Discus - Randall Davis, William Blount, 125-8
• High jump - Patton Robinette, Maryville, 5-8
• Long jump - Preston Burnett, Maryville, 20-9½
• Pole vault - Caleb Smith, Maryville, 10-0
• Shot put - Davis, William Blount, 46-7 ½
• Triple jump - Shaun Wyatt, Maryville, 41-9¾