Eagle Valley’s Blairs stellar at Texas Relays
Joslin fifth; Samantha seventh on big stage in 1,600
AUSTIN, Texas — Eagle Valley’s Blair sisters — Joslin and Samantha — probably won’t have stage fright when they compete in Colorado.
The two spent spring break at the Texas Relays, the second-largest track and field meet in the country (Penn Relays), and came away with blistering times and places in the 1,600.
Joslin, a junior, finished fifth in mile with a time of 4 minutes, 56.35 seconds, while Samantha, a freshman, clocked a 5:01.15, taking seventh.
As big of a stage like, say, the state meet at Jeffco Stadium in May is probably not going to faze the two after this.
“It was really awesome being a huge meet with super-cool competition,” Joslin said. “It was a little bit nerve-wracking being at a race on the (University of Texas) track.”
Breaking 5 minutes
Older Blair’s previous best in the 1,600 was 5:01.14 at last year’s Fairview Invitational and she won the 4A state title in the distance with a 5:06.21. Her goal was time more than placing.
From afar Eagle Valley track coach Jeff Shroll was hoping she would break 5 minutes, but was happily surprised by 4:56.35. Oxygen at lower altitudes, of course, is one’s friend, and what makes the art of long-distance running such a big deal in Colorado.
“Just walking around, I didn’t feel it much, but during the race I could feel the altitude,” Joslin said. “My legs felt better and it was a lot easier to breathe.”
She was in seventh after the first lap of 1:11.84, and had a mellow 1:17.45 second. She turned on the jets with laps of 1:15.25 and 1:09.75.
Winning her heat
For Samantha, this was the third high school race of her career. Simply put, she is not your average freshman.
“I don’t think it makes much of a difference,” Samantha said. “Of course, you don’t have the experience. But I think it’s all based on how hard you’ve trained.”
And now she has some experience in big settings. Samantha ran in the second heat and led wire-to-wire. Having run her first 1,600 in Rifle, which was a 5:12.64, 5:01.15 is her new personal best.
“I was super-happy after the race,” Samantha said. “I’m really excited to try some different meets and experience different completion because it’s my freshman year and I want to take it all in.”
The straight answer to that is the Eagle Valley Invitational next weekend. The bigger question is how does Shroll employ the two as the season develops? It’s been slow going with the Blairs early in the season with each sister only entering one event at the Rifle Invitational and the Broomfield Shootout.
Joslin competed in and medaled in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 last spring at state. So far this season, Samantha has run and won an 800 and finished second in a 1,600 in Colorado.
In whatever blocks they start, both are likely to be unfazed.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.