With his latest running performance at the state level, Waverly senior Mitch Green is one step closer to a distance running trifecta.
Green was an All-Ohioan at the Division II state cross country meet in the fall after finishing 27th in a time of 16:37.5. He followed that up by qualifying for the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches (OATCCC) D2/3 Indoor State Meet on March 3 at the Spire Institute, in Geneva. There Green raced to a podium spot in the 1,600-meter run in a personal best of 4:28.75, shaving three seconds off his previous top time. In a few short months, Green is looking to qualify for the outdoor state meet and achieve a podium spot there to cap his high school career.
Green felt that his finish at the state cross country meet in November propelled him into an outstanding indoor season.
“It rolled off of that. In cross (country), I realized what you put in is what you get out,” Green said. “So I just trained really hard and I got out what I wanted, which was eighth in the state. That was my main goal all season to get on the podium in something — whether it was the 800 (meter), mile (1,600 meter) or two-mile (3,200 meter). I ran indoor track all four years, but I never really focused on it like I did this year.”
Linda McAllister, who coached Green in cross country and indoor track, said, “I’ve never had a distance runner get on the podium before in indoor track. It is rough. With indoor track, I don’t really train them (the athletes) for indoor meets. I train them to get ready for the outdoor season. It is a real added plus that he made it (to state and got on the podium). In the last three (indoor) meets, he started bringing his mile time down, and they take the top 24 (as state qualifiers). You can register to compete if you are in the top 40. He just made it in at 24th.”
From 24th in the rankings, Green climbed 16 spots to finish eighth and secured that final podium spot by a tenth of a second with his time of 4:28.75. Mt. Gilead sophomore Will Baker was right behind him in ninth at 4:28.85.
“Mitch was in the slower (first) heat at state,” McAllister said. “He kicked it in with about 150 yards left and finished in first place in his heat, so he knew he would probably have a podium spot.”
The indoor state champion in the 1,600-meter run was Marlington junior Colin Cernansky, who finished 4:17.60. Runner-up was Tinora senior Jaxen Durfey in 4:18.22. The rest of the podium runners finished in the 4:20 to 4:28 range.
McAllister felt Green could have qualified for the indoor state meet in the 3,200-meter run as well, but said he started training too late in the season for that.
“I think the two-mile (3,200 meter) is going to be a good race for him too. But it was better to focus on the mile (during the indoor season). We did the Jay Johnson track training, which was the same thing we did in cross country. It is a program that I bought this past fall. Mitch responds really well to that,” McAllister said. “Mitch ran so full of confidence (at state). Last year, he wouldn’t have done that.”
“I probably would have died off after the first lap,” Green said, who explained how his mentality has changed in his senior year. “I’m realizing that you don’t have to go so hard on yourself. You have to pace it out during the season. You can’t go hard and then peak at the wrong moment. You have to progressively bring your times down.”
According to McAllister, Green is within three seconds of the Waverly High School record for the outdoor 1,600-meter run. McAllister says Green should knock the school mile record out early and then work on the two-mile.
“My ultimate goal would be to use some speed to get the 800 (record) as well,” Green said.
McAllister has set a bunch of goals for Green this season, and Green hopes to achieve them all. Among those are winning at least one Southern Ohio Conference race championship during the league meet, an outdoor state track meet qualification, and getting on the podium at state.
“It was a great (indoor track) season,” McAllister said. “Mitch was a good role model for the younger ones and does everything you tell him to do.”
Green feels his best race is the mile, which is also his favorite and the one he plans to focus on the most.
“It is the golden nugget in track and field in my opinion,” Green said of the 1,600-meter run.
Post a comment as anonymous
Watch this discussion.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.