High School Sports

Training pays off for El Dorado's Molly Milbourn

Heading into the Kansas Relays last week, El Dorado distance coach Ron Koppenhaver gave junior Molly Milbourn a goal of 11 minutes, 4 seconds in the 3200 meters.

"I was doubting myself just a little bit," Milbourn said. "That would be a 15-second (personal record) for me."

Milbourn blew past that goal time, winning in 10.52.92.

"When I crossed the finish line, I was still kind of in shock because I wasn't expecting to win," she said. "When I crossed the finish line, the first thing I wanted to do was to look at the clock. I thought I was close to breaking 11 minutes.

"I was just in awe. I couldn't believe it."

Koppenhaver was thrilled, but her time wasn't unexpected. Milbourn had stepped up her offseason training — instead of going out for basketball last winter, she focused on improving her mechanics by running hurdles, running sprint drills and lifting weights.

In her first meet, she lapped 11 of 15 runners and finished in 11:29.

"She did it without straining, so I knew she could get down to 11 minutes," Koppenhaver said.

Today, Milbourn will run in the Abilene Invitational, but will only do the 1600 and 3200 relays and the 800.

Looking ahead — Heights junior Evan Wessel hasn't competed in a varsity meet yet. Tuesday's junior varsity meet was his first.

But coach Steve Crosley hopes that won't be his last, especially after Wessel went 20 feet, 4 inches in the long jump.

"We know he's a good football player, we know he's a good basketball player, he's just a very good athlete," Crosley said. "He's jumping into new waters and has picked up things very, very quickly."

Wessel also does the high jump and cleared 5-foot-8 in his first attempts. Crosley expects Wessel to quickly pass that.

"The question is, once he starts getting comfortable running down the runway and jumping over the bar, I'm wondering how well he could do," Crosley said.

Beefing up for state Valley Center junior sprinter Joe Fisher placed fifth in the 200 and seventh in the 100 in the state finals as a sophomore. His coaches took into consideration his age but said something to Fisher that sent him on a mission immediately following the state meet.

"We told him he looked like a boy running against men," coach Daniel Smith said. "He took that to heart and he started his offseason immediately following the sate meet."

Fisher lifted hard and lifted heavy during the summer and worked out with the basketball team. He used what he heard as motivation to improve.

Smith said he could always see the potential in Fisher, but this season the leaner, more compact sprinter has put his extra muscle to good use.

Fisher ran a hand-timed 10.28 in the 100 this season and followed it up by running a 21.70 in the 200. The 100 time was one of the best in the state.

"I felt a pretty big difference. I can totally notice the difference when I get out of the blocks compared to how I was last year."

Fisher said he wants to keep improving as the season progresses so he can cut off some time in his races before the state meet, and will sprint today in a track meet at Campus. He will sprint for the Valley Center at a track meet today at Campus High.

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