Laef Barnes 4:09.61 is fastest HS mile of year
by Dennis Bromka
Mead (Spokane) High School junior Laef Barnes today ran the fastest indoor
prep mile of the 2004 season, 4:09.61. Racing on the oversized 307 meter
flat track at the University of Washington in Seattle, Barnes stunned
onlookers with his last lap kick.
Before the event, the second of two heats featuring some of the best
collegiate teams on the West Coast, most eyes were on Stanford freshman
Lauren Jesperson. But at the gun Barnes broke well and led briefly until
Jesperson pushed past. Barnes generally prefers tp stay loose for as long as
he can and then kick, so he didn't mind drifting back into last place as the
race progressed. "At the head of the straightaway coming into the bell lap I
knew it was time to go. I felt strong, hardly tired, so I opened it up. I
saw no one was going with me, so I just started passing guys." Lots of guys.
Barnes absolutely blazed past 9 of the collegiate runners ahead of him,
pulling into 4th place by the final straightaway. "As we were finishing I
asked myself if I could get one more Stanford guy. I'm not afraid of Lane 2,
so I moved over and went past." Barnes took 3rd behind Jesperson's 4:08.28
and Jon Rankin's (UCLA) 4:09.16.
What now? "I might come back here for the Last Chance Meet in early March,
or I could go down to Arkansas for their big indoor meet. But I also might
not race again. We've had a lot of snow in Spokane and training can be hard.
Like, the only speedwork I get is in the Mead hallways in the morning before
school." Speedwork on linoleum? "Yeah. Have to do it somewhere. You