James Mwaura didn’t get the triple crown he was shooting for, but did get a dominating victory in the 3,200 meters on Saturday to win the state 3A title at Mount Tahoma Stadium.
Mwaura’s time of nine minutes, 11.10 seconds was nearly 15 seconds faster than his closest competitor.
“Coming out and winning this, it felt like I needed to redeem myself from that 1,600,” Mwaura said.
About that 1,600. On Thursday, Mwaura was overtaken in the last lap on the final straightaway by Mt. Spokane’s Hayden Dressel after leading for three and a half laps.
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Dressel and Mwaura have a bit of a rivalry with Mwaura having beaten Dressel for the state cross country title in the fall. Mwaura was looking to get the distance running triple crown – victories in cross country, 1,600 and 3,200 state titles in the same year.
Being overtaken by Dressel made Mwauara think about his strategy a little differently this race by remaining in the pack early without getting burned out by going too far out front.
However, eventually he just took the lead anyway because he knew he could set a faster pace than the pack.
“The first lap I was like I’m gonna stay behind the group and see what they come in at,” Mwaura said. “But at the very beginning it was pretty slow so I just took the lead.”
Dressel would end up finishing second. He couldn’t keep up with Mwaura this time as he was almost consistently 100 yards ahead in the last few laps.
Only one other Lincoln competitor has ever won a state 3,200 and that was 17 years ago in 2000. That was won by Brandon Fuller who flew out to see Mwaura compete.
“It’s crazy to be honest,” Mwaura said.
Mwaura is now coached by Brandon’s younger brother, Andrew, who Mwaura valued being there to train him and support him up to this big moment.
“It’s awesome knowing that he’s right there with me, pushing me, telling me that I can get anywhere,” Mwaura said.
There’s still another shot at that triple crown. Mwaura is a junior and he said he’s definitely going to go for it again.
“It makes me even more hungry,” Mwaura said about just missing out on the triple crown this year. “I’ll come out and try that and see how it goes again.”
Chase Hutchinson: 253-597-8680