Fast friends, even faster on the track
There was a time when Lakes High’s Izaic Yorks and White River High’s Marcus Dickson thought running 1,600 meters in 4 minutes, 18 seconds – which they both did in a head-to-head race at the 2011 Tacoma City Invitational – was a gut-busting achievement.
“We really did think,” Dickson said, “we were on top of the world.”
Fourteen months later, they both are on top of the prep running world.
In an SPSL 2A dual meet in April, Dickson ran a 4:05.83 to not only post the fastest time among Washington high schoolers for the season, but the best mark in the country for a prep runner. That mark held up for 31/2 weeks.
In front of a big crowd at the Class 3A West Central District championships Saturday, Yorks blistered the field in the 1,600 finals – and crossed the finish line in 4:04.00 to make him No. 1 in the nation.
“A pretty weird coincidence,” Yorks said. “Like Coach (Curt Corvin) said, something is in the air in Pierce County.”
The two standouts will have another chance to showcase their talent and post elite times at this weekend’s Star Track meets – the Class 4A, 3A and 2A state championships – at Mount Tahoma Stadium.
While they won’t race each other – Yorks competes in 3A, and Dickson in 2A – the two face serious tests.
In Dickson’s case, he is taking on four events – 800, 1,600, 3,200 and 4x400 relay. In the 800, Dickson has the second-best time in the country at 1:49.45.
“Trying to go low in the mile
it will be hard to do with four events. But I have big races after the season to do that,” Dickson said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for us to win state.”
Yorks will have plenty of competition in the 1,600. The 3A 1,600 field is loaded with the likes of Shadle Park’s Nathan Weitz (4:08.30, No. 7 in the nation), Seattle Prep’s Joe Hardy (4:09.29, No. 10) and Kamiakin’s Anthony Armstrong (4:10.72).
It could be a race reminiscent of the classic 1983 state boys 1,600 at Lincoln Bowl when three runners – Renton’s Matt Donnelly (4:05.58), Issaquah’s Tom Bohannon (4:05.61) and Lakes High’s Corvin (4:06.29) – ran side-by-side to the finish line.
Corvin, a former University of Washington All-American who is now the Lakes boys distance coach, said Yorks and Dickson lead a class of runners who have shown an incredible range of speed and endurance.
“At this level, it is really, really rare,” Corvin said.
Yorks and Dickson act like brothers around each other. And rightfully so, because they have a lot in common. Both have progressed at roughly the same rate. And both have gone largely unnoticed until this season.
There are some differences, especially in regards to their style.
Yorks, a University of Portland signee, projects as a 5-kilometer runner in college. He is the one with the graceful form, picture-perfect stride and the perfectionist-type training habits to match.
Dickson, who is headed to Brigham Young, is all about speed. He has a determination that has yet to be denied.
“He has some beautiful running form,” Dickson said of Yorks. “My running form, it doesn’t look as pretty. My arms look a little ugly. Izaic makes it look easy.”
Whereas Yorks has the best 1,600 time, it is Dickson who has the head-to-head bragging rights. Dickson won in their only matchup this season at the Pasco Invitational.
And that is exactly what was on Dickson’s mind when he phoned Yorks on Sunday morning to congratulate him.
“Once I brought up the 4:04, I said, ‘So what about Pasco, huh?’ ” Dickson said. “He then said he did not know who this was (on the phone). I said, ‘You took down my time, how could you?’ We were laughing.”
On Monday, Yorks was added to the field at the prestigious “Dream Mile” race June 9 in New York where the 16 fastest high-school runners will square off. Dickson also is in that field.
“I respect Marcus so much. I really do,” Yorks said. “And that is where he gets his crack at me.”
FASTEST FOUR LAPS
Lakes’ Izaic Yorks and White River’s Marcus Dickson are the fastest high school 1,600-meter runners in the nation this season. Here are the top five prep times in the 1,600 in 2012:
senior, Lakes: 4:04.00
Marcus Dickson, senior, White River: 4:05.83
freshman, Palatine (Ill.): 4:06.60
junior, Cibola (Ariz.): 4:07.72
junior, Buchanan (Calif.): 4:07.72
STAR TRACK XXX
Where: Mount Tahoma Stadium
Schedule: Today – evening session, 4:30 p.m. Friday – morning session, 9:30 a.m.; evening session, 2:30 p.m. Saturday – morning session, 9:30 a.m.
WHAT TO WATCH
Class 4A: Heritage’s Sean Keller owns the top javelin mark in the country this season with a throw of 244 feet, 1 inch – the all-time state record.
Wenatchee sophomore Isaiah Brandt-Sims, who’s expected to be a top football recruit in a couple years, is the reigning state champ in the 100 and 200 meters. Brandt-Sims’ seed time in the 200 is 21.24 seconds, slightly faster than the meet record of 21.26 set in 1982 by Darrell Robinson.
Curtis junior Kennadi Bouyer is the state leader in the girls 100 and 200.
All eyes will be on Lakes’ Izaic Yorks in the boys 1,600. At the bi-district meet last week, Yorks posted an all-time state record and the fastest time in the country this season when he ran 4:04.
Bonney Lake’s Adara Winder is going for a third consecutive state crown in the shot put.
Foss junior Marcus Chambers, the state leader in the 400, will try to record a sub-47-second time.
Glacier Peak junior Amy-Eloise Neale won’t sweep the 1,600 and 3,200 runs for the third year in a row because she will compete in the 800 and 1,600 and run on the Grizzlies’ 4x400 relay this weekend.
. O’Dea sprinter Tatum Taylor owns the fastest boys 100 time in the state after running 10.50 seconds at the Metro League championships.
Class 2A: White River’s Marcus Dickson will go for individual titles in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 races and the 4x400 relay and try to lead the Hornets to their first track and field team title. Dickson is the state leader in the 800 (1:49.45) and has the second-fastest time in the country in the 1,600 (4:05.83).
Blaine’s Cherish Morrison will try to add to the 10 track state titles already in her collection. Morrison is the top 2A runner in the 100 and 400 and second in the 200. She also anchor’s the Borderites’ 4x400 relay.
Steilacoom’s Daniel Zmuda, state leader in the 300 hurdles, is a contender to win the 110 and 300 hurdles.
CLASS 1A, 2B, 1B STATE MEETS
Where: Eastern Washington University
Schedule: Friday – 10 a.m. Saturday – 9:15 a.m.
WHAT TO WATCH
Northwest School senior Maddie Meyers has never lost an individual race at the state meet. Meyers has won three titles each in the 1,600 and 3,200 meter races and added 800 crowns the past two seasons. Meyers will run in all three events this weekend.
King’s boys are going for a sixth consecutive team title.
Newport’s Jake Wiley, Hoquiam’s Nolan Hoiness and Charles Wright’s Alexander Moore should engage in a heated 100-meter sprint – the three are separated by four-hundredths of a second.
Orting’s Savannah Burr is the top seed in the girls triple jump.
Tacoma Baptist’s Walker Williams is the top seed in the boys discus and will try to defend his state title.
Northwest Christian senior Lucas Graham is the state leader in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200. The Navigators are the defending boys team champions.
Tacoma Baptist sprinters McKenna Neufeld and Rebecca McDonald rank 1-2 in the 100 among 2B sprinters. McDonald is also the top-rated 200 sprinter.
Northwest Christian’s Elizabeth Weber is a threat to sweep the 800, 1,600 and 3,200.
Valerie Vogt of Trout Lake/Glenwood has the top time in the girls 800 and 1,600 and second-best time in the 3,200.
Mount Rainier Lutheran’s girls 4x100 relay team has the top mark in 1B with a time of 53.79 seconds and 4x400 in 4:19.83.
Rachel Siltman of the Hawks is the state leader in the triple jump, second in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles.
With athletes in only three events, Mount Rainier Lutheran’s streak of team titles will end at three.