Zach Phillips sets 800-meter run record 5.20.09

Written by David Green.

Morenci senior Zach Phillips knew time was running short if he were to break another school track record.zach.phillips.record.jpg

He set a new standard last year in the 1600-meter run, clipping the school’s oldest record that was still hanging on from 1965.

This year he wanted to add the 800-meter run to his scrapbook, but the opportunities were running out.

The regional, league and county meets still lay ahead, but there was always something that got in his way: the 1600-meter race comes before the 800.

“I knew I couldn’t break it after I already ran a mile,” Phillips said.

Last week at Britton-Deerfield, he passed the 1600-meter race off to teammate Logan Drummond and set his sights on the 800.

There was one more obstacle. The Britton-Deerfield squad didn’t have anyone entered in the race to give Phillips a push.

He turned to teammate Chas Frey who got him halfway there.

“Chas ran with me for a lap and then he walked off the track,” Phillips said.

The strategy worked. Together they turned in a 56-second lap, then Phillips completed the race with a 63-second final lap to finish at 1:59.93.

“Not many people would give up a first place in the 200-meter dash to help a teammate break a recored,” Phillips said about Frey. “Chas did it without hesitation.”

Since Phillips’ time was recorded by a hand-held watch, Morenci coach Brad Brown explained that the time would have to be rounded up, leaving the official time at 2:00.0—and leaving Phillips a little disappointed that he would have to settle for a tie.

Coach Brown assured him that it was no tie. The record holder, Jeff Taylor, ran a 2:00.7, a time that was confirmed in an Observer article.

When Taylor—now a teacher and coach at Delta (Ohio) High School—broke the record in 1986, he topped Morenci’s oldest existing record. Ron Towne established the mark of 2:00:9 in 1964 and kept it for 22 years.

Taylor held on to his record for 23 years before Phillips ended the reign.

Phillips now joins Matt Masters and Larry Place as the only male athletes to possess two individual records for Morenci.

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
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    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
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    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
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    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
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