Mammoth Track Club Update: Summer 2021

For the last five years, everyone in the sport of track and field had been patiently waiting for the opportunity to compete in, and make, a U.S. Olympic Team. Our Mammoth Track Club athletes were no different. Mammoth Track Club athletes went to the U.S. Olympic Trials last month and gave it their best shot. We came away with two, really, great performances that I, as head coach of the club, am very proud of!

On day one of the competition, Reid Buchanan and Grace Barnett competed in their respected events (the men’s 10,000m and women’s 1,500m). Both had outstanding performances on the oval. This was the first U.S. Olympic Trials for both athletes and they both handled themselves as if they had been there before.

Grace Barnett Competes in the Women’s 1500m at the U.S. Olympic Trials

The women’s 1,500m trials uses a three-round system to select the three Olympic athletes that will represent the United States in Tokyo. Grace raced Friday, Saturday and Monday evenings. She blazed through the first two rounds and qualified for the women’s 1500m final on Monday evening.

The forecast was for 90+ degree weather on Monday at 6 pm, which for a 1,500m race isn’t too hot but warm enough to warrant taking precautionary cooling procedures like wearing an ice vest in the hour leading up to the start, soaking hair with cold water periodically during the pre-race warm-up routine and keeping cool, calm and collected under the pressure of competing in your first U.S. Olympic Trials. 

In the end, Grace placed 7th overall in the final and missed making the U.S. Olympic Team by slightly less than 3 seconds.

Reid Buchanan Competes in the Men’s 10,000m at U.S. Olympic Trials

Several hours after Grace’s race on Friday, Reid took to the starting line of the men’s 10,000m final. The men’s field was full at 25 competitors. Coming into the race, Reid was ranked 24th and we had a game plan — make a long drive from the finish line and try to break the race wide open. Well, Reid did just that. 

With 800m (2 laps) to go, Reid stepped on the accelerator and went to the lead! Watching this aggressive move in real-time was one of the most exciting moments in my coaching career as we have waited five long years for this moment and strategy to unfold. With one lap to go, Reid was unfortunately swallowed up by the pack and ended up finishing a very respectable 9th place (remember he was seeded 24th going into the race).

More Big Wins for Mammoth Track Club Athletes

Honorable mention goes to both Nico Montanez and Tim Gorman of the Mammoth Track Club.

Tim Gorman has had a great season so far in 2021. He managed to set a personal best time in the 1,500m (3:39.3). This time just missed the qualification standard for the U.S. Olympic Track Trials by 1.5 seconds. So close! Tim also won the recent local Footloose Freedom Mile and broke the course record in the process.

Nico Montanez dropped down from his marathon training to try and qualify for the Trials in the 10,000m event. He raced several 10,000m track races in the past 10 months aiming for the automatic qualification time of 28:00.00. He came oh so close in his final attempt in May of this year, clocking 28:06. Nico had a very consistent racing season and should be very proud of his performances.

What’s Ahead for the Mammoth Track Club in 2021

Grace and Tim will continue to race on the track this summer, trying to lower their personal best times in the 800m, 1,500m and 5,000m. Both Nico and Reid are on a well-earned break from training and will prepare for a fall Marathon.

Andrew Kastor

Andrew currently resides in Mammoth Lakes with his wife Deena (Olympic Marathon bronze medalist and American Record holder in the marathon and half-marathon) and their daughter, Piper Bloom. He’s the head coach for the Mammoth Track Club.

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