Blankenbaker wins mile at Razorback Invite

By Joe Naiman

In Dylan Blankenbaker’s first collegiate mile race, the 2012 Ramona High School graduate and current University of Oklahoma runner won the college section at the Razorback Invitational indoor meet in Fayetteville, Ark.

Blankenbaker lowered his personal record at the Feb. 1 meet by seven seconds and finished the race in 4:10.64.

“I’m really happy with how I competed, and getting a new PR was definitely a plus,” he said.

Technically the Razorback Invitational race was his first actual mile race. A mile is 1,609 meters, so the 1,600-meter high school races are known as the “metric mile” but are slightly shorter than one mile.

The race was also Blankenbaker’s first mile or 1,600-meter race since 2011. Blankenbaker had knee surgery and missed the 2012 high school track and field season. He redshirted as a collegiate freshman last year.

“This was my first time back on the track in a long time,” he said.

Blankenbaker ran in two smaller meets prior to the Razorback Invitational.  Oklahoma’s indoor track season began Jan. 18 with the Oklahoma Sooner Opener meet in Norman, Okla. Blankenbaker ran the anchor 1,600-meter portion of the distance medley relay. On Jan. 25, Blankenbaker ran the 1,000-meter race at the J.D. Martin Invitational meet in Norman.  His time of 2:30.52 placed third among the eight runners.

The University of Arkansas indoor track utilizes 200-meter laps, so Blankenbaker and the other runners competed for eight laps and nine meters.

“It was slow at first, but we definitely finished very fast,” he said. “I stayed with the leaders and when it came down to the last lap I took over and just pulled away.”

Blankenbaker took the lead in the final lap with about 110 meters remaining.

The meet included (in order of final men’s team points) Arkansas, Texas A&M, Florida, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Florida State, Tulsa, Texas, and Stanford.

“All the schools that we think of that are sports schools, track schools, they were there, so being able to come away with a victory, even in the college section, that was great. It definitely gave me a lot of confidence,” Blankenbaker said.

“It was really good to get a good effort in,” Blankenbaker said. “It’s still early in the year. I think there’s still a lot more to come.”

   
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