Billy Orman loves running at the Meet of Champions! He always runs a PR and Saturday night was no different.
But this PR was huge!
In the span of a week, Orman broke the 27 year old senior class record for the 1600, the 27 year old 3200 Arizona State Record and the 28 year old 1600 Arizona State Record.
After barely missing the Arizona Record in the 1600 by .3 seconds, Orman decided to give it another go at the Meet of Champions. He spent the morning graduating from high school before making the 4 hour trip from Tuba City to Queen Creek.
Earlier this week Will Firth and Tommy Williams, both from Brophy College Prep, decided to forgo their 3200 and 800 races at the Meet of Champions to join Orman during his quest for the State Title.
It was the last race of the night and everyone stayed to watch!
So with Coach Brian Dempsey at the microphone, 13 runners at the line and the crowd on lane 5 around the track..............the gun went off!
The group hit the first 200 in 30 seconds, the first 400 in 58 seconds. Orman took the lead with Firth and Williams on his heals. They hit the 800 in 1:59. Then it was 3:02 at the 1200.
The crowd was screaming!
The gun went off for the final lap and Orman quickened his pace reaching the final 200 mark in 3:33.
He made it look easy but it was not.
Orman crossed the finish line in 4:05.29 to a frenzied jubilant crowd.
As soon as the race ended Orman was surrounded by kids, athletes, parents, coaches and friends ...............all lined up to have their picture taken with the new 1600 Arizona State Record holder. Autographs were signed and congratulations given all around! Billy's Dad took him away from his adoring fans for a few moments to meet with Coach Van Gasse from Chaparral who had a little box he wanted to share with Billy. In the box were the four medals won by Jesse Owens during the Olympics in Berlin in 1936. Orman was in awe as he held the box.
Sophomore Bernie Montoya from Cibola was in the crowd watching, wishing he could run with Billy but a foot injury during his 4:12 State Champion run on Saturday kept him from racing. Orman offered him encouragement after his race.
Orman was very thankful to everyone involved with helping him reach his goal.........especially to Firth (above right) and Williams (above left) who kept him company for the first 3 laps.
An hour later Orman, Firth and Williams were given their awards for their top 3 finishes.
No one wanted to go home!
Thanks to all who participated in this historic event. It may be a long time before we see anything like this again!
It was a magical night!
Billy signing autographs (his Dad offers assistance as he poses as a desk)
Photo below - taking it all in after the race