Stockdale's Blake Haney, already a double CIF state champion in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters this year, has a chance to add some serious international hardware to his collection this weekend in Donetsk, Ukraine.
Haney, a rising senior, became the first American to win a qualifying heat of the 1,500 meters Thursday at the IAAF World Youth Championships, taking the second heat in 3:51.95 by about a half-second over Spain's Jesus Ramos (3:52.49). Another American, Michigan prep Grant Fisher, followed by winning the third heat in 3:50.30.
But Haney will go down as the first.
"It was a lot of relief. I felt good with about 400m to go, so I decided to go," Haney said in a USA Track & Field release. "I was fealing good, and I had a few gears left if I needed them, but fortunately I didn't need them."
That's good news, because Haney will have some serious competition in Sunday's final (6:45 a.m. Bakersfield time, with a live stream available on PrepCalTrack.com): Besides Fisher, whose time was a personal best, five finalists have clocked a time faster than 3:50 this season, including two Kenyans, Titus Kipruto Kibiego and Robert Kiptoo Biwott, who have gone faster than 3:40 (whoa). In any case, it's a chance for Haney to run the fastest race of his life at this distance and get Bakersfield back on the international medal stand — another Stockdale standout, Alex Collatz, won silver in the discus in 2009.