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.