North Central Sectional Distance Recap and Futsum Zienasellassie Interview
Futsum Takes Convincing Win, Looks to Gain Confidence
Futsum Zienasellassie took home the victory in the 3200 meter run Thursday night at the North Central Sectional in Indianapolis. He led from the gun and only Spencer Clapp of Indianapolis Cathedral attempted to go with him. His efforts were in vein however as Futsum was on another level as Indiana has seen time and time again throughout his career.
He looked smooth in his first 8 lapper in some time and as he seemed to admit even the best runners need a confidence boost every now and again. Pacing did seem to be an issue, though it’s hard to be critical of a 9:02 victory and Sectional Record. His humility and humble nature are always a pleasure to be around and he seemed quite candid about his health and training over the last few months. He also even took the time to give some praise towards the regular dudes/gals here at Indiana Runner which always brings a smile to my face.
After setting the sectional record I had a chance to briefly speak with him regarding his race and why he decided to scratch the 1600 this post season.
Indiana Runner: Was it your plan all along to scratch the 1600 today and just run the 32 fresh?
Futsum Zienasellassie: I mean yeah, I guess it was. I have been sore this last month or so. I haven’t been able to train at 100 percent, you know? We were planning to double up mile/2mile but right after Arcadia I was sore and not able to run a lot of races. County (Marion Co. Meet) was my first race back and after that we just planned to focus on the 2 mile.
IR: You took out the 2 mile a little fast and then seemed to settle in to a little more relaxed pace. Were you just running to win today? I saw you look back over your shoulder at Spencer (Clapp) a few times.
FZ: He was hitting my foot a couple times. I don’t know how to pace this thing; I got out too fast, about a minute for the first lap. I need to get around a 65/66 and hopefully I can run in the low 8:50s at state. Today was good to see where I’m at though because the last time I ran the 2 mile was at Arcadia. Next week I just want to relax so I can go into state with some confidence.
IR: Good luck next week!
FZ: Thanks a lot man.
North Central Boys Distance Recap
The boy’s 4×800 meter relay teams took to the track as they jogged down the front straightaway. The first leg’s all took their position in the start line and the post season was underway in Indianapolis with four spots up for grabs. Lawrence North got out to the early lead and took the pack through in 28 seconds and 58 through 400 meters. Brebeuf took the lead at 600 and opened a sizeable gap with Lawrence central following and LN struggling to hold on down the backstretch. Brebeuf handed off in 1:59 at the 800m.
It was obvious early that Brebeuf and L.C were the class of this field; it would just be a matter of who would take the next two spots. L.C took the lead at 600m (2nd leg) as they battled neck and neck with Brebeuf as they handed off side by side.
3rd leg kept the status quo with LC taking the initiative.
It was no surprise not to see Matt Dorsey take the baton for LC as they were almost guaranteed a berth to Regionals next week. Kirkpatrick took hand off for Brebeuf in 6:01 and went directly to the lead to set the pace. Immediately he put 4-5 meters on LC while passing through 400m in 7:03.1. Kirkpatrick never looked back as he extended the lead with 300m to go and finished his last lap in 60.3 unofficially. LC would cross 8 seconds later followed by LN and Park Tudor took 4th with a kick by North Central down the homestretch.
Boys 1600m Recap
There were several notable scratches in the boys 1600m as both Zack Snider of Brebeuf and Futsum Zienasellassie did not toe the line meaning that they would both focus their attention on the 3200m for the state tournament. Matt Dorsey of Lawrence Central took the race by the throat and blazed through the first 400 meters in 59 seconds and a lead of 30 plus meters. Chandler Ball (Lawrence Central), Joe Murphy (Lawrence North), Ethan Hoeft (LN) and James Huffman (North Central) lead the chase pack through and would be the 4 guys battling for the 3 remaining spots to next weeks regional.
Dorsey slowed on the second lap 2:04 and the pack followed through in 2:11. The action stayed pretty steady through the next two laps with Dorsey coming through 1200 in 3:13 and looked to have the race secured. Huffman and ball came through about 7 seconds back in 3:20 before Huffman began to fade down the backstretch as Ball kicked hard and almost closed in on Dorsey in the final 100 meters; however, Dorsey prevailed in 4:19.82 followed by Ball (4:21.75), Joe Murphy of LN (4:28.70) and Huffman just held on to fourth in 4:29.14
Dorsey looked to be cruising slightly as he closed in only a 67 while his teammate Ball closed in a 61 and definitely looked the strongest. It is always hard to tell how Dorsey is feeling because of his running style and that it always looks labored, but he is fast no matter.
Boys 800m Recap
Matt Dorsey lead at the break and pushed through the 200 in 27 mid, followed by Nick Kirkpatrick and Adam Turner. Kirkpatrick was pushing Dorsey down the backstretch to gain position going into the corner at 600 but Dorsey would not be denied. Kirkpatrick went for one final push exiting the last turn but did not have the kick to match Dorsey who pulled away down the final stretch to win in 1:55.
Finally the fans got to see Futsum step on the track. There was a loud roar from the crowd that otherwise may have been bussed in from a retirement home. Futsum went straight to the lead followed by Clapp with a gap back to Zack Snider of Brebeuf, Cole Hester and Ross Pereira of Lawrence Central et al. Futsum and Clapp passed through 400 at 62 high. Wow. Snider gradually tried to close the gap through the next 200m and was just a few strides off the back of Clapp and Futsum. The pace seemed to settle up front as they passed 800 in 2:12 with Snider still strides back of the leaders. Futsum looked over his shoulder several times as Clapp made contact with his feet on a few occasions. Futsum surged at the 1000 meter mark but Clapp refused to go away. At 1000 meters it was Futsum, Clapp, then a gap to Snider and Hester. When they passed the 1200m and the clock showed 3:21, another surge by Futsum left Clapp in his wake and it was basically race over.
Over the next mile it was not a matter of whether Futsum would win, but would Clapp hold on to second place or would his machismo in the first mile come back to sting him in the tail. Snider remarked that “We all knew Futsum was going to win and it would be a race for second place.” That race was on and runners seemed to be in their own individual purgatories during the second mile as no one was in a pack. They each seemed to be equidistant from each other as Clapp had 20 meters on Snider who had 20 meters on Hester. Futsum hit the bell lap in about 8 flat while Clapp still held a small lead over Zack Snider (8:15 to 8:18). Futsum crossed the line with an emphatic win in 9:02 setting a sectional record previously set by Robert Smitson of Brebeuf. Snider would end up getting the better of Clapp with a very respectable lap of 68 to finish in 9:26, followed by an exhausted Clapp with Hester rounding out the top 4.
Nuggets and Tidbits
– 2 young boys from Park Tudor proposed to an absolutely embarrassed young lady in the infield during the 20 minute break. It was great entertainment in the press box. Pretty sure she did not accept either offer by the boys on bended knee.
– Zack Snider of Brebeuf seemed ecstatic about his new PR but admits that he is still learning how to run the 3200m.
– Craig Jordan of Calumet/Pike/Butler was in attendance and I got the chance to meet him and he seemed like a real cool guy. Love the Indiana running community that we have, keep being awesome Ladies and Gents.