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By John Harte / The Californian
BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
We're used to Stockdale's Blake Haney being the top dog in distance races around here, but we found out this morning just how good Haney is on the world stage — and he's pretty good, it turns out.
Running before 7 a.m. our time, Haney finished fifth in the 1,500-meter final at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine, popping a huge personal best to finish in 3:44.69 (his previous best was 3:50.55). Haney hasn't run this specific distance often, so for reference, his time here converts to a sub-4:02 in the 1,600 (his PR there is 4:06.91 and change) or about a 4:02.7 in the mile (his PR is 4:07.78).
No matter how you dissect the times, this was the fastest race Haney has ever run, and that's saying something.
The winner, Robert Kiptoo Biwott of Kenya, won in a meet-record 3:36.77, a time that converts to a 3:54 mile and would be competitive on an Olympic stage. Like Haney, he's only 17. But Haney made some history of his own: His fifth-place finish and time were both American records in the 1,500m final at the youth worlds.
In fact, the four finishers ahead of Haney were from Kenya, Eritrea, Kenya and Ethiopia, making him the fastest 17-and-younger runner outside the African continent. For more perspective: Haney's time is the second-fastest in California high school history (Ryan Hall ran 3:42.70 in 2001) and the ninth-fastest in U.S. history — and the fastest any prep has run nationwide since 2003. That's pretty astounding.
And, need I remind you, Haney still has a year left at Stockdale. With his senior season about to begin in earnest, Haney seems poised to make a run at two or three more state championships (if you count cross country) and make a run at the 4-minute mile.