Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Dream Season

Although some of this is old news, I just had to make comment about what is perhaps the best ever season that a female high school track athlete has had in Montana.  No diminishing the performances of some greats of the past like Julie Brown, Laurie Sax, Loni Perkins, Heidi Lane and Zoe Nelson - I would argue that Dani Aragon's 2012 season surpassed them all.

No wanting to overlook the fact that she ran a 4:53 mile or a 10:58 2-mile during the season; but, wanted to focus on her 800 meter performances starting with the Eastern AA Divisionals on May 19th.

At Divisionals she won the 800 meters in a stellar 2:10.33.  This time was within site of the all class record of Julie Brown from the 1970's and had people excited about what she could do at the State Meet.

Which then brings us to the state meet at the mile-high altitude of Butte.  With less than stellar weather (cold, wind, snow, rain) she smashed the 800 Meter record with the first ever sub-2:10 perfromance in running 2:08.31.  (On top of that she got 2nd in the 400 at 57.23, won the mile in 4:56.43 (just off the state record of 4:55.18) and won the 3200 in 11:09.28.)

But, all of that was a mere warmup for the biggest and best part of her senior season.  In mid-June, she headed to Bloomington, Indiana for the USA Track & Field Junior Championships.  She ran solid in the preliminaries with a 2:10.45 that qualified her for the finals.  Then, in the finals is where she had her real breakthrough performance.  Running 2nd to Ajee Wilson, she ran an incredible, 3 second PR with her 2:05.06.  But, even bigger than that was the fact that her performance qualified her for the World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain in mid-July.

Once she got to Barcelona, Dani kept on rolling.  In the heats, she ran a 2:07.84 to qualify for the semi-finals.  In the semi-fnals (held the day after the heats), she ran another PR in 2:04.19. That's 4 performances under 2:10 in a 6 week span - AMAZING.  Unfortunately, that's where Dani's run ended.  It took a 2:03.18 to qualify for the finals; and, that was just beyond Dani's time.  But, what an amazing run she had.

Now, Dani will take her talents to Notre Dame to join her junior to be sister Alexa (and to follow in the footsteps of their Dad Chuck - a ND alum and former school record holder in the mile).

I've had the pleasure of knowing the Aragon family since the girls were infants (during my time in Billings).  Dani (and the rest of the family) is a pleasant, intelligent and talented young girl.  She has a bright, bright future indeed.  My daughter Zoe was between Dani and Alexa during their junior high years at Lewis & Clark JH in Billings.  Zoe always thought that Dani was going to have a great career - guess she was right.

So, consider this my tip of the cap to the amazing spring of Dani Aragon.  I wish her all the best as she continues with her running and her time at ND.

The Muddy Buzzard.

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