WHS runners sweep H-A 4-Mile Run titles

Kokomo Tribune - Sunday, July 02, 2006

Tribune sportswriter

- Kyle Walsh successfully defended his Haynes-Apperson 4-Mile Run title Saturday at Kautz Field, and in doing so made it look easy.

Walsh, a Western High School alum who begins his third year running for Indiana State University this fall, eased away from the lead pack to capture the 29th edition of the event, hosted by Club Kokomo Roadrunners, in 20 minutes, 45 seconds.

Runner-up B.J. Needler of Wabash, running his first Haynes-Apperson race, was 11 seconds behind in 20:56.

Easy was just the way Walsh wanted it.

OFF AND RUNNING: The Haynes-Apperson 4-Mile Run shifts into gear Saturday as participants break away from the starting line.

“I basically was going to [run based on] how I felt,” he said. “I’ve been training hard and I just wanted to go how I feel and not push too hard but still get a good, hard workout out of it. It’s my first bit of speed work this summer, so it feels good to get out and run hard.”

Recent graduate Annina Gruber made it a clean sweep for Western. She won the women’s race in 26:45.

Walsh made the mile-and-a-quarter turn onto Apperson in a group of four runners, along with Kokomo’s Bryan Phillips and 2004 winner Scott Colford of Logansport and with Needler in the lead. Walsh made his move with just under a mile to go.

“I figured if I was in the race with a mile to go I was going to do what I could to take it,” said Walsh, who enjoys the opportunity to run downtown. “I think I closed the last mile in under five minutes, which is what I wanted to do, so I’m real happy with the day.

“I know a lot of people who live in Kokomo, a lot of my friends and family come out to watch and it’s just fun to put on a show. It makes it fun for them and fun for me.”

Phillips, a 2004 Kokomo High School grad, wound up in third place in 21:09. Entering his third year at Butler University this fall, Phillips has three years eligibility due to a red-shirt season.

“I’ve been injured for a while, so I’m starting to come around a little bit,” said Phillips. “I was coming off limited training and started off feeling good so I tried to hang [with the leaders] and it worked out for the most part until about the last half-mile.

“I’ve known Walsh since I was a sophomore in high school, so when I saw him I knew I was going to hurt, but it ended up all right. [Saturday’s race] was fantastic. It was good.”

Colford, at least 10 years senior to the top three men, was fourth in 21:13, more than a minute faster than the next finisher, 18-year-old Ryan Perry of Kokomo.

Colford’s consolation was winning the 35- to 39-year-old age group.

“I stayed up with those guys a lot farther than I thought I would,” Colford said. “It was good to have that kind of competition. I’m getting older but I’m still trying to stay with them.”

Gruber led the entire race to snare her first women’s title. She was 13 seconds faster than another recent graduate who has shadowed her all year long in cross country and track — and seemingly for their entire careers — Taylor’s Danielle Glick.

Although Gruber has often gotten the better of Glick lately, she looks forward to more meetings in the future as the pair move on to the college ranks.

“We’ve had a battle back and forth for the past four years,” Glick said. “We push each other and it’s kind of nice to have someone to push you.”

Gruber is headed to Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne this fall. She said her summer workouts have been intense.

In fact, just as soon as she won Saturday, Gruber took another lap around the four-mile course to complete her workout.

“I took a couple weeks off [after graduation], just doing whatever I wanted to do, like biking,” said Gruber. “Now it’s a lot different. I’m working eight miles a day when I was used to five or six.

“I’ll probably do more road races just because running on my own, I sometimes get really bored, so doing road races always helps.”

Glick will attend the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville. Ironically, both ladies plan to major in biology — Gruber in preparation for physical therapy and Glick for pre-med.

“We’ll be running in college together at state meets, which will be nice,” Glick said.

Byron Bundrent of Kokomo won the master’s division for men and Patty Rose of Lafayette was the women’s master.

In the 3-Mile Walk race, Russiaville’s Jerry Lambert was the men’s repeat winner in 28 minutes, 14 seconds. Greg Callahan of Daleville was second.

Mary Miller of Bunker Hill, also the defending champion, won the women’s race walk in 32:58. Diane Gifford of Indianapolis was second.

Ten-year-old Lewis Duke of Greentown won the 1-Mile Fun Run in 6 minutes, 51 seconds.