Before Friday’s Hillcrest Invitational at JFK Stadium, Glendale junior Spencer Haik had no idea what the meet record was in the 1,600 meters.
But by day’s end, the long-distance specialist knew the record better than anyone else.
Haik’s time of 4:14.91 in the mile set a meet record at the invitational, a meet that featured 29 teams from across the state, and it was an improvement on his time that won him a state title in the event last season.
“I didn’t even know the record until I got here today and my coach told me to go for it,” Haik said. “I went out a little fast, and I was kind of worried at first, but I was able to hold on.”
Haik started fast, then held off teammate and training partner Chris Mooneyham to win by nearly five seconds (4:19.21).
“The mile has been my strong point for a few years now and that’s my main goal,” Haik said. “I’ve really been striving to keep bringing it down, so to run a time like that this early in the season is good for me and I’m really happy about it.”
Haik took home a second first-place medal in the 800 meters, with a time of 1:57.11, and was one of six area competitors to earn a first-place medal.
“I was still a little tired from running the mile, but I was pretty pleased with how it turned out,” Haik said. “I need to push a little more in the beginning and move a little sooner, but my legs were tired and I didn’t want to kill it on the first lap tonight.”
Mooneyham took home top honors in the 3,200, finishing in a time of 9:29.58.
In the 100 meters, Parkview senior Chris Hargrove collected the gold, with a time of 11.08.
“I concentrated today on getting my hips open so I could stride out a little better,” Hargrove said. “I wanted to work on my form and my stride to maintain my speed.
“I’m a little shorter and against taller guys a longer stride will help me cover more ground.”
Hargrove saw that he could be competitive in the finals of the 100 from how dominant he was in the preliminary races.
“The prelims were a confidence-booster for me, because after I ran I watched everyone else and I took mental notes on what I could do to improve my form,” Hargrove said.
“And I focused on running my race and getting a quick start.”
Hargrove’s success in Friday’s 41st annual invitational impressed assistant track coach Anthony Hayes.
“He’s a competitor and you saw that from him today,” Hayes said. “This is our biggest meet against our biggest competition until we get to districts, sectionals and state.
“And for him to win today is a big deal and it tells me that he’s going to go a long way this year.”
Like Haik, Aren Martin of Lebanon took home a pair of first-place medals.
Martin finished first in the 200 meters with a time of 22.47, edging out Z Barr of Willard (23.24) for second place and Hargrove (23.25) for third.
In the 400 meters, Martin took first with a time of 50.11, narrowly beating Haryl Starkey of Bolivar (50.21) and Jeff Plake of Lebanon (50.84).
Strafford’s Blake Alexander won the 110 hurdles with a time of 14.68, easily besting second-place Alex McCormack of Rolla (15.20) and third-place Logan Williams of Webb City (15.24).