LONGMONT — Monarch’s Isaac Green is fast. He knows it. Everyone who knows him knows it.
There are a lot of fast runners in Colorado, however, so Green has been working on a new weapon that will prevent him from having to rely purely on overpowering everyone when he faces the state’s top runners. The Monarch sophomore is becoming crafty, which is bad news for the competition.
On Tuesday at the Boulder County Track Championships, Green utilized his speed and a bit of strategy to win a wind-blown 1,600-meter race that features several of Colorado’s best distance runners — Lyons’ Paul Roberts and Broomfield’s Jake Mitchem.
“I knew it was going to be tough running with Paul and Jake, and the wind was a huge player,” Green said. “It ended up helping a lot because I was able to draft off of Paul and Jake for the first couple laps. It got really tight and we almost fell a couple times. I’ve been working a lot on being more strategic and it worked pretty well today, which was nice.”
Tuesday’s 1,600-meter race wasn’t billed as a showcase but it felt like one.
Green placed third in the 800-meter race at last year’s Class 5A state championships and entered Tuesday’s race with the second-fastest 1,600 time in Colorado. Roberts, a junior, has won three consecutive 2A cross country titles and recently returned from China, where he placed 59th at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships. Also a junior, Mitchem placed sixth at the 5A cross country meet in the fall.
With the familiar trio grouped up to start the race, the wind began to blow and Green began to hatch his plan. As a light rain began to fall, Roberts led after two laps with Mitchem in second and Green in third. With plenty of energy left midway through the race, Green passed Mitchem on the third lap and stormed past Roberts in the final 200 meters to finish in 4 minutes, 26.51 seconds.
“I knew Isaac was coming and that he was going to make it tough,” said Roberts, who generally likes to be the pace-setter. “I raced him a couple times last year and I think we were one and one. I knew he’d be there with the kick at the end so I tried to get away from him. The wind just killed me on the back stretch of the final lap.”
Roberts finished in 4:27.57. Doing a similarly good job of breaking the wind for Green, Mitchem finished in 4:34.27 and had a difficult time negotiating the weather, which rolled in almost immediately after the starting gun went off.
“I tried to pick it up and get around Paul but the wind just killed me,” Mitchem said. “It’s hard to react to because I wasn’t really prepared for that.”
Boulder’s David Rieder (4:36.38) placed fourth, Monarch’s Tyger Roch (4:38.73) placed fifth and Erie’s Shane Mathis (4:42.05) placed sixth.
Green also won the 800-meter race in 1:56.68. Roberts won the 3,200 in 9:38.28.
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