MOLINE -- Fully healthy during the outdoor season for the first time in two years, Alleman senior runner Zach Hird elevated his goals this spring.|
"Definitely," Hird said, "big things."
Two races prove Hird is off to a strong start.
Dominant performances in the A-Flight 1600- and 3200-meter events at the Shipley Invitational on Saturday afternoon illustrated Hird's renewed focus and determination. The two victories at Browning Field reaffirm his belief something special could happen this season.
"I knew I'd have big things to come if I stayed healthy," Hird said. "But I wasn't exactly sure on the times. From what I've done so far, the sky is the limit. ... I just have to stay healthy."
A torn left hamstring muscle suffered two summers ago lingered into his junior outdoor season. Hird was able to compete, but only in the 3200. Each time he ran, though, the injury was remembered.
"I was in doubt every race last year. I didn't know how I would feel or if I would re-injure it," Hird said. "Being 100 percent healthy is the key."
The results show what he can do with no injury concerns. Hird finished the 3200 in 9:20.7, winning the race by nearly 37 seconds and coming four seconds off his personal record set two weeks ago.
Unable to establish a consistent pace in the 1600, he still ran a 4:25.93. The win was by more than six seconds.
"It wasn't the result I was looking for," Hird said.
Despite two impressive finishes, Hird still pointed at flaws in each and times that were not reached. He wants a personal best every time he crosses the finish line, a goal that keeps Hird motivated.
"I make myself live up to my own high standards," Hird said. "I'm putting a lot of pressure on myself."
From an outside perspective, he is off to a strong start.
"Lots to come," Hird said.
UT wins meet: United Township used depth to win the eight-team meet with 235 points. Rock Island (227 points) was third, Moline (186.5) took fifth and Alleman (158.5) placed sixth. Dalton Oakes was the Panthers' lone individual A-Flight winner, taking the 110 hurdles title in a personal-best time of 15.65.
"I know my confidence is up high, but I'm trying to stay humble," Oakes said. "I have to go into each meet and try to succeed."
Tyler Rasso, Sean Dopler, Bruce Taylor and Nicholar Mends gave UT its other A-Flight win, taking the 4x800 relay in 8:31.45.
Rocky had four individual and two relays earn A-Flight victories. Tyler Shewell won the pole vault by clearing 12-feet, 6-inches and Chris Ehimwenman took the triple jump by soaring 45-1.5.
"That felt good," Ehimwenman said. "The last (jump) got me there. I'm happy with the jump. That's perfect for me."
Marcus Jackson (43.12 seconds) and Isaiah Ellis (51.93) won the 110 hurdles and 400, respectively.
"I know I can do a lot better than that," Ellis said.
Ellis, Ehimwenman, Brandon Richardson and Doug Wilson won the 4x100 in 43.47. Ellis, Wilson, Travon Aldredge and Casey Comodore ran a 3:31.24 to capture the 4x400.
Moline's Marquez Ryan cleared 6-4 to win the A-Flight high jump.
"It was acceptable," Ryan said. "If I would've held my arch a second longer, then I probably would have made 6-6."
Also winning for the Maroons was Zach Gray, who took the 800 in 1:59.83.
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