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4×800 meter relay team competes at Dogwood Track Classic

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Meet officials clear the track for the boys' 4x800 meter relay.

Track and Field teams from across the nation converged on UVA’s Lannigan Field Saturday to compete in the 54th annual Dogwood Track Classic. Harrisonburg High School’s team competed against some of the finest high school athletes of the moment, some of whom broke national records for their age group.

At nearly 1,000 registrees, the invitational presented a unique environment for Harrisonburg contenders, used to substantially smaller, local meets. National media outlets reported on top-performing runners, a marked improvement in prestige from the DSLR-toting teenage journalists who usually cover high school track and field events. A commentator gave second-by-second updates on the action happening on and in the track, through a state-of-the-art PA system. And, if these features weren’t evidence enough of Dogwood’s big dog status, spectators could enjoy a series of concession stands located a conveniently short distance away from the bleachers, where one could purchase a hot dog, a slice of pizza, or a cup of neon-colored slush.  

The HHS 4×800 meter relay team placed 11th out of 21 schools, with a time of 8:32.

“I don’t feel like I ran as well as I could have,” Senior Jack O’Brien said. “This was my first race on the A team, so the competition was a little bit stiffer than I’m used to.”

O’Brien’s 4×8 teammates, seniors Evan Jost and Isaiah King, and breakout freshman David Beck, also expressed dissatisfaction with their performance. They’ve run an 8:23 at a meet earlier in the season, which might not seem significantly faster to the layman, but in track events, one or two seconds can spell the difference between a triumphant victory and a crushing defeat.

“There’s not much we can do to improve at this point,” Beck said. “We’ve put in the work that we need to, and we’re fast enough to run better than we did at Dogwood. We just all need to be on top of our game on the same day.”

Harrisonburg’s Track and Field team gets another opportunity to compete this Friday, at the third home meet of the season.

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4×800 meter relay team competes at Dogwood Track Classic