By Bill Tamburrino
Dylan Blankenbaker won the Palomar League Championship meet at Kit Carson Park last Saturday. For his efforts Dylan has been selected as the Ramona Sentinel Athlete of the Week.
Blankenbaker won the 5000 kilometers (3.1 miles) race with a time of 16:02 finishing five seconds ahead of second place runner, Eric Sindel, of Mt. Carmel.
What makes the accomplishment more amazing is that Dylan treated the race as a tune-up for the upcoming CIF meet.
“League finals is a warm-up for the CIF and I considered it a time trial and had the guys run at 7/8 effort working on pace,” said Coach Steve Albanese. “I didn’t want them to invest a whole lot emotionally into the race. Dylan probably could have come close to a minute faster.”
“My plan was to go easy for the first two miles and then see how many I could pass in the final mile,” said Dylan. “At the two-mile mark I was near the leaders, and coach said to try to catch them. I took over first with about 800 meters to go and I tried to put a gap between me and the others and finish strong.”
He did and he won.
Dylan will face tough competition in CIF. He is ranked second in his division and in the top five in the state.
“On a perfect day I could challenge the top-rated runners,” he said. “I have been told that if I finish in the top five in the state that I am invited to the Nike Nationals in Portland. That is great incentive.”
Post season honors are nothing new for Dylan. He has been all league and all CIF in cross country as a sophomore and junior.
He is a B student and plans to run cross country and track in college. He is currently deciding if he will attend the University of Portland, the University of Oklahoma or the University of Alabama.
He said that his mom and dad, Barbara and Damon, have been supportive of his running since Coach Jonathan Sclar at Olive Peirce Middle School got him interested in running in eighth grade. His sister Cassidy is also a runner.
“Sometimes my dad will go out on a run with me.” When asked if his dad could keep up, Dylan said, “Sure, he rides a bike.”