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TRACK AND FIELD

Royal's Patterson Sees Both Races Slip Away

April 27, 2002|JOHN ORTEGA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Senior Travis Patterson of Simi Valley Royal High was considered the hottest middle-distance runner in the state before the Ventura County track and field championships at Moorpark High on Friday.

He left the event with two losses and the knowledge that over-analyzing a race can lead to a subpar performance.

"I knew I was beat before the [800 meters]," Patterson said. "Because I was beat both psychologically and physically after the [1,600]."

The 1,600 was billed as a showdown between Patterson, who leads the state this year in the 800 at 1 minute 53.69 seconds, and junior Phillip Reid of Oxnard Rio Mesa, the state leader in the 1,600 at 4:12.25.

But Reid ran away from his rival on the last lap of the 400-meter track to win in 4:15.27. Patterson was second in 4:20.13.

The race appeared to be tailor-made for Patterson and his usually strong kick.

Patterson had run a 61-second last lap while clocking 4:12.1 for his 1,600 anchor leg on Royal's distance medley relay team in the Mt. San Antonio College Relays last Saturday, but his final 400 against Reid took 65.1 seconds.

"I spent too much time thinking about the [1,600]," Patterson said. "I didn't want to do that, but when everyone keeps asking you about what you're going to do in the race, it's hard not to."

Patterson, who has accepted an appointment to the Air Force Academy, had used a strong kick over the final 200 meters to win the 800 in a career-best 1:53.69 in the Arcadia Invitational at Arcadia High on April 13. But Reid began to pull away from him with 350 meters remaining in Friday's race.

"I had been planning to have a buffer [after three laps]," Reid said after running his final lap in 60.7. "I felt I had to because he's the best half-miler in the state. I was definitely concerned about him with a lap left.... I was probably more scared than I was concerned."

Patterson looked relaxed as he followed sophomore teammate Bryan Rodie through a 55.8-second first lap in the 800, but he faded down the backstretch and placed third in 2:01.22.

Rodie placed first in 1:57.09, followed by Kevin Lindsey of Thousand Oaks in 2:00.16.

Although the humble Patterson was visibly disappointed in his performances, he calmly answered questions afterward. He also took solace in the fact that his time in the 1,600 lowered his previous best of 4:22.24 and that he will have a chance for redemption in the meets ahead, starting with the Marmonte League finals next week.

"It just didn't feel like a good mile day," Patterson said. "But [Reid] ran a good race. I didn't run as good a race as I should have. But I learned from it and I'll take that lesson with me."

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