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April 27, 2000 - Philadelphia - Penn Relays DMR
San Lorenzo Valley girls set
national record, just as coach predicted

Come from behind anchor by Alejandra Barrientos is the difference.

by John Dye

Early in April 2000 I met San Lorenzo Valley CA coach Rob Collins at Arcadia. He pulled out a slip of paper with four times on it -- his prediction of splits for his girls in the distance medley 3 weeks hence in Philadelphia at the Penn Relays.

"That would be a national record," I said.

"I know," Collins said.

It happened almost exactly as coach predicted.

Here is what I wrote after the race:

They travelled east from the Pacific coast with the record in mind. Coach Rob Collins assigned the target times. They carried out their assignments to perfection:

1200m: Raquel Barrientos 3:42.1
400m: Lyndsay Scharborough 57.7
800m: Shiloh Whiting 2:17.0
1600m: Alejandra Barrientos 4:44.28 (
Penn Relays secondary schools chairman Bob Burdette had a hand in the record -- by getting good competition. Conestoga PA, on Ann Hansgate's 2:13.8 800m split, took the lead into the anchor leg.

But Ale Barrientos (above), the leading miler in the US and a good part of the world, was not to be denied. She captured the lead after one lap and then "ran as hard as I could" the rest of the way. The lead kept stretching, and with a lap to go she only needed to break 70 seconds to get the record. The old record (Irvine CA University 11:43.53 in 1982) fell by 2 seconds.

Barrientos burst into tears of joy and kissed the old Franklin Field track after the finish, and then her teammates rushed her for a team hug and a victory lap. "I am so happy, I am just totally overwhelmed," Ale said when she collected herself. "It's what we have been working for."

Preview of the Race
by John Dye

The highlight of the girls events, and perhaps the entire meet, is the distance medley at 5:40 pm Thursday. The San Lorenzo Valley CA Cougars (Felton CA, not San Lorenzo) are on the prowl for one of the longest standing US records (11:43.53 by the great Irvine CA University team in 1982). They could get this and not get the Penn Relays record, which is 3 seconds better (11:40.51, Vere Tech, Jamaica, 1992).

Cougar coach Rob Collins has done wonders in 2 years at San Lorenzo Valley. In 1999, jr Alejandra Barrientos burst on the scene with a startling stretch-kicking win at the Arcadia Invitational 1600 meters, which she validated by winning the California state 1600 championship and the US Junior National 1500 meter championship. This year she is the leading 1600m (4:46.6) and 800m (2:09.35) female runner in the US.

Now, Collins has developed depth with a bevy of talented girls to go with Barrientos. SLV currently has 8 girls running the 800 meters under 2:30 and five under 2:20. The four that run the distance medley (1600m anchor Ale Barrientos, freshman sister Raquel Barrientos at 1200 meters, Lindsay Scharborough at 400m, and Shiloh Whiting at 800m) have the US#1 time of 11:55.68, and that included a 1600-meter time for Ale Barrientos that is 10 seconds slower than her best (she ran the DMR at the Arcadia Invitational April 8 two hours after winning the open 1600 in US#1 time). SLV's Arcadia time is 15-25 seconds better than the next best teams in this race: Conestoga PA, Middletown MD (with another sister act, Randy and Emily Buzzell), Villa Maria PA, and Haddonfield NJ (with 1999 US outdoor mile champion Erin Donohue), . Other teams who could get an announcer's call are perennial power Manchester Central NH, Warwick Valley NY, and Lake Braddock VA.


DyeStat Coverage of DMR http://www.dyestat.com/rivals/193803.html

NEXT: "Fantastic Francena" McCorory smashes the 400 meter indoor record -- on a flat track!

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