May 1—Manhattan doesn’t try to win in Seaman, head track coach Kory Cool says; it tries to break records there.
The Indians did both during Friday’s Seaman Relays at Seaman High School. The boys track team won its meet while Darius O’Connell and Dan Harkin set new school records in the shot put and the 3200-meter race, respectively.
O’Connell threw the shot put 61 feet, 3 inches to break Jim Favrow’s 34-year old school record (61 feet, 1 inch). What’s more: Favrow was in Seaman to see it.
After O’Connell thrusted his name into the Manhattan record books, Favrow greeted him with a hand shake and a pat on the back.
“Jim’s been really encouraging to the kids,” Cool said. “(Darius) was ready to go. He didn’t get too amped up or too excited, but he did his thing, and I’m really, really happy for him.”
Harkin ran the 3200 in 9:11 to break Chris Melagres’s record from 2014. Earlier this week, Harkin lost his first tennis match of the season at Tuesday’s Emporia Invitational. Three days later, he re-focused his energy on holding off Shawnee Mission North freshman Micah Blomker (9:15) for the win.
“This is a place where people run fast,” Cool said. “There’s no wind, and once the sun goes down and the temps start dropping, it’s a place where people fly.”
Cool speaks from experience: He broke Manhattan’s 33-year-old 3200-meter record at Seaman in 2005. But no Indian has ever run the race falser than Harkin, who led wire-to-wire during his record-setting performance.
Blomken, a Bishop Hayes transfer, was never far behind, however. He and Harkin had never raced before Friday — Bishop Hayes is a 4A school — but Cool suspects they’ll see each other again at state. Blomken’s 9:15 is the second-best 3200-meter time by a freshman in the country, according to Cool. And while neither athlete ran the 1600-meter race on Friday, both are dangerous in that event as well.
“I’m sure there will be at least one more (matchup),” Cool said. “If not two.”
By then, Cool thinks Harkin could be even faster. Stripped of school and tennis-related stress, Harkin will have a two-week window to focus all his energy on running.
Cool isn’t sure O’Connell ever felt pressure while chasing Favrow’s record. But if he did, it’s gone now. O’Connell has the record, and he’s “five or six” feet clear of his 6A state competition’s best throws.
“So he’s just got to have fun,” Cool said. “Launch that thing as far as he can.”