The humble state champions
By Jarann Johnson
Kaylene Klein, senior, and Grace Zimmerman, sophomore, aren’t the type of athletes to indulge in self-praise. But both Hazen tracksters importance to Hazen’s 2016 state track and field championship should be recognized.
Both runners earned state championships and scored 20 plus points in the state meet. Grace Zimmerman won the 200 meter dash in 25.80 seconds and scored 23 points at the state meet.
Klein won the 300-hurdles in 44.44 seconds and scored 20.5 points at the state meet. Zimmerman and Klein combined for about 52 percent of Hazen’s state track and field meet points.
Placing in multiple events at the state meet isn’t easy and requires a busy schedule. Both athletes said maintaining their bodies and intensity at the state meet focused on staying hydrated.
“It was definitely really mental,” Zimmerman said.“We’d make sure to get some fluid, get our legs up and get something to eat. We actually have to take good care our bodies to do well in the first place.”
Klein agreed saying she just kept hydrated and elevated her legs.
Both girls had their sights set on grabbing a state title at the state meet, which meant taking a focused approach to prelims. The girls advanced to finals in all of the events they competed in a state.
Klein approached prelims as if it was finals.
“I just wanted to go in the first day and obviously make it to finals,” Klein said.“You are definitely still trying to get a good time and I just treated it like finals.”
Zimmerman agreed saying prelims has the same level of intensity as the finals.
“It almost doesn’t feel like it’s not the actual race because there it still a race. We go out there and do the best we can. It’s still definitely intense,” Zimmerman said.
Overall prelims went well. Klein was happy with her times and the fact that she made finals. Zimmerman came away from prelims with a spot in the finals of all her events but was disheartened by her prelim 400 (60.34). Zimmerman’s prelim 400 time gave her the eighth best time out of nine runners.
Zimmerman recovered by running a fast finals time (59.80) and taking sixth in the 400. But the true highlight of her day was winning the 200.
Zimmerman’s race strategy is simple in the 200 and she talked about how she attacks the race.
“The 200 is a sprint and it’s a long sprint so you have to attack it right away and push through when it starts to hurt,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman came into finals with the fastest time in the 200 which put her in the middle of the track. The middle lane is where track fans believe runners are best positioned to win a race in the 200. Zimmerman talked about her perspective of the 200 meter finals from the middle lane.