CHS stars run in international indoor competition
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From March 17-20, more than 600 athletes from over 200 countries competed for medals in 13 men’s and women’s events at the IAAF World Indoor Track Stadium. However, professional athletes weren’t the only ones at the Oregon Convention Center; Cleveland students also made several appearances.
Noah Adams and Jalato Sultessa, seniors, were invited to race at the stadium against other high school students because of a qualifying time they met last season. They competed the weekend before the World Indoor Championships occurred.
Adams ran the 800 meters in 1:59 seconds, which was the second time he had run sub two minutes. His personal record is only one second off, at 1:58. He received fifth place out of 62 athletes from all over the northwest. Adams won his individual heat, where he raced against two boys from Lincoln, one from Astoria, and another from Grants Pass.
The indoor track is smaller than the standard outdoor track, so Adams ran four times around the track for his 800 meter race. For the first two laps, Adams slightly led the other runners, but on his third lap he fell behind.
“I was sitting pretty in fourth place and I didn’t really like that. I knew that I could have a better finish than those guys because I have raced against some of them before,” Adams said. Adams hung back until nearly the last possible moment to sprint ahead of the other runners. “I just told myself that if it was going to happen, it was going to happen at that moment. It was a pretty intense finish,” said Adams.
After the race, Adams said he almost fell down from the exhaustion. Although he was in physical pain and didn’t see his exact time, he knew he had a good race. “I was ecstatic. I was on a running high at that point,” he said.
Sultessa ran the mile in 4:39, placing 32nd out of 75 runners. He placed fourth in his individual heat. His mile time was eight seconds slower than his personal record. “The race was good but I thought I could have run faster,” he said. “It was still one of the greatest things I have done.”
Running is a prominent aspect of Sultessa’s life. “I was born in Ethiopia and I don’t have enough money to go to college, but because of running I can. I put everything in running because I can get scholarships from that….I’m not just running to have fun; I’m trying to get somewhere,” he said.”
In addition to Adams and Sultessa running at the stadium, 19 other Cleveland students volunteered at the World Indoor Track and Field Championships. Several students represented countries during the opening ceremonies and were flag bearers.
Christina Tang, co-founder and co-president of Key Club, organized the volunteer opportunity. She was in charge of approximately 200 people who signed up with her, including students from Beaverton, Central, Clackamas, David Douglas, and Benson. “The process was very stressful but the experience was amazing,” she said.
Eli Huckabee, sophomore, represented Sri Lanka, who had one competitor: 60 meter sprinter Himasha Eashan Waththakankanamge. Huckabee runs hurdles and competes in triple jump at track, so he was able to relate to the athletes.
Ami Hawley, senior, represented Japan. Hawley was born in Japan and is half Japanese. “I was so happy to be able to represent a country that I’m from,” she said. “When I was assigned to Japan, I just clung onto the flag.”