SPORTS HEADLINES

Northwest athletes take fast trip to Austin

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Caught up in the atmosphere, Northwest’s Kellee McCann smashed her personal best in the 3,200 last year at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays at Mike Myers Stadium in Austin.

“When you have fast people around you, you are going to run fast,” said McCann, who will run at Syracuse next year. “The atmosphere gets you going. It’s my favorite race. With all those people, it makes you feel big-time.”

McCann and several of her Northwest teammates will make the trip south to compete against the nation’s best Friday and Saturday at the 87th running of the prestigious Texas Relays.

Northwest will have athletes in 10 events, including the two distance medley relays, 4x800s and girls’ pole vault where Desiree Freier is ranked No. 1 in the nation.

Northwest track coach George Lutkenhaus explains that the event is a chance to bring out the best in his athletes.

“It gives our top-tier kids a real good look at what competition will look like at the end of the year,” Lutkenhaus said. “There’s no better competition in the southern United States all year. You have no choice but to run fast. Most of our district’s record have been set at the Texas Relays because of the competition.”

McCann, who ran a 4:59 last week in the 1,600, will run the 3,200 for the first time this spring at the Texas Relays. She will also run on the distance medley.

“I hope to have good races and get going before district,” she said.

Fellow senior Zach Kirkland, who is bound for the University of North Texas, will make his third trip to the Texas Relays, running the anchor legs on the 4×800 and distance medley.

“It’s fun,” Kirkland said. “Ninety percent of the meet is fun and 10 percent is intense competition. But you’ve got to be able to compete. There’s no reason to go four hours down there and run slow.”

Along with taking a shot at some school records, Lutkenhaus said several of his athletes have a shot to bring home hardware.

“We’ve got a good chance to get some medals,” he said. “We have several kids nationally ranked.”

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