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It’s about giving enough, not their all

Posted: May 29, 2009 9:28 p.m.
Updated: May 30, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Saugus High runners Stephanie Bulder (8), Anne Randall (10), Karis Frankian (6) and Kaylin Mahoney (11) run with the pack in the 3,200-meter run Friday night at Cerritos College in the CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet. All four qualified for the state finals.

NORWALK - At this stage of the track and field season, most would figure that the athletes are going all-out to get the best times.

At the CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet, it’s a different story.

Athletes from all divisions flocked to Cerritos College Friday evening with one goal in mind: qualify for the state meet.

“We take it as a qualifying meet,” said Saugus distance coach Rene Paragas. “We’re not out there trying to win, we’re just trying to run a qualifying time.”

At the Masters Meet, track athletes will run smart races to meet the qualifying time instead of pushing as hard as they can to get a personal best. Field athletes will often pass on their turn if they know they have already hit the qualifying mark for the state meet.

“You put yourself above where qualifying would be, not the max,” said Valencia head coach Pat Connelly. “Now the state meet is a different emphasis.”

The game plan of the Masters Meet is different from the CIF-SS Divisional championships, and sometimes the adjustment can catch the athletes off-guard.

“I was hoping for placing,” said Valencia senior Aly Drake, who finished second in the 800-meter run Friday at her first Masters Meet. “(Sprints coach Darryl De La Vega) told me it was more for time.”

But that doesn’t mean the athletes lose their competitive fire.

“I just want to approach every meet like I want to do my best,” Drake said.

The Masters Meet also differs from the state meet in that the primary focus is on the individual instead of the team.

“We don’t expect big personal records,” Paragas said. “Last week, it was about the team. This week, we just tell them to run the best they can.”

Then again, some athletes prefer the team events.

“I like the team aspect, because if I don’t do well then I have the team to help me,” said Saugus freshman Karis Frankian. “These last few meets I’ve had no pressure on me. I just do the best that I can.”

Athletes with just one event can narrow their focus at the Masters Meet, but it’s a different experience for athletes like Saugus’ Anne Randall, who ran the 1,600 and 3,200.

“I prefer the (1,600), so I give all my effort in that, and then I do the best I can in the (3,200),” she said. “Masters is just qualifying to me. State is when I’m going to really go all out.”

 Most track and field athletes wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Being the Masters Meet champion doesn’t mean anything if you don’t back it up at state,” Paragas said.


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