Winona's Garrett Heath answered some questions for us about his hugely successful NCAA Indoor Championship last weekend. Heath (pictured) ran the lead-off leg on Stanford's title-winning DMR that edged arch-rivals California and finished 4th in the mile individually.
DtB: Can you describe how the DMR played out? Splits, the lead, and what the relay title means to you and the team.
Heath: The DMR is really the race that we have been focusing on all season. Winning that really meant a lot and gave us some redemption from last year when I was a bit sick and we knew that we could’ve have run better. The race this year started out pretty tactical in my 1200m leg until David Torrence from Cal made a move to the lead and got a little bit bigger gap on the rest of us than I would have liked. I was a little boxed in at that point and finally made my move somewhere around 350 to go, but my legs were still a bit tired from the mile prelims and I couldn’t quite chase him down.
Anyway, I ended up handing off at 2:56 to our 400 guy, Zach Chandy, who moved us up a little bit and split 47. Both he and our 800m leg really stepped up and ran PRs for us on a day when both Russell [Brown], our 1600m leg, and I split a little slower than usual after the mile prelims. Mike Garcia ran 1:48 for the 800 leg and handed off in 2nd, a stride back from first. From there Russell led most of the 1600m leg and held off two strong surges from the Cal team in the last 500m to run a 4:01 and win it for us.
It really came down to the last straightaway between us and Cal. It was the most exhilarating thing to be a part of and really just made whatever happened in the mile the next day icing on the cake.
DtB: Just how did the mile set-up and play out? Were you pleased with the place/time?
Heath: The prelims for the mile were probably the most nerve-wracking thing for me at the meet because it was my first race in a while and anything can happen there. They went perfectly though. I was able to sit back and felt relaxed for most of the race, and ended up winning after having a pretty strong kick. It was fun having Jake Watson in my same heat to work with and then go 1-2.
The next day I was sore from the night before and not being able to cool down like we had wanted to because of drug testing after the DMR. I ended up being a little farther back in the pack for most of the race than I had planned on, but the race went out at an honest pace so it wasn’t as big of a deal as if it had gone out slowly. From there I just tried to stay in contact with the pack and kick in the last 200. As it happens I probably should have gone a little sooner, but I was still extremely happy with how it turned out.
The time doesn’t really mean anything at a meet like that, but getting fourth was great. All in all it was just an added bonus to go with the DMR as that is really what made the weekend.
Photo courtesy of Stanford University.