St. Michael junior eyes Triple Crown
With the mindset of not being “blown out” by her peers during the 79th Annual Nike Chandler Rotary meet, St. Michael junior Ali Upshaw stated her case as being one of Arizona’s elite runners regardless of class.
Upshaw competed in the two distance races at the Chandler meet last month and in her best showing she finished fifth overall in the 3,200-meter race as she hit a new personal record of 10 minutes, 47.50 seconds late last month.
“I looked at the heat sheets and I saw Abi Archer and Hana Hall’s name and it kind of freaked me out,” Upshaw said. “I told myself that I wasn’t going to get blown out in that race, and no matter how much it hurts I was going to stick with them.”
Based on the time she posted, Upshaw earned an invitation to compete at the 61st Annual Mt. Sac Relays in Walnut, California. She is scheduled to run her two-mile race on Friday against an elite field of runners.
“I think it’ll be really good to go to Mt. Sac,” Upshaw said last week at the Mogollon Invitational. “I’ll probably go in with the same mentality as I did at Chandler. I’m going to hang on as hard as I can and, you know, give myself a chance.”
St. Michael coach Kelly Bia said her daughter put in some extra training last week to prepare for this week’s race at Mt. Sac.
“She’s going to see a lot of California girls who run inside the 10-minute mark,” Bia said. “She’s going to see some good competition there and I’m so excited for her.”
By running against a field of elite runners from the West Coast, Upshaw wants to lower her PR.
“I want to try and hit a 10:30 or lower,” she said.
Going into the final stretch of the regular season, Upshaw currently holds the fastest times posted in the 800s, 1600s and 3200s among Division IV runners. She clocked a 5:07.08 in the mile and a 2:20.86 mark in the 800 on April 6 at the Sedona Invitational.
“It feels real good to have all those top times,” Upshaw said. “I think it gives me a lot of confidence going into the state meet. I just want to prove myself to the runners from down south. They kind of consider us the slowest runners so I want to change that (mentality).”
At last year’s state meet, Upshaw captured her first state crown by winning the 3200 with a time of 11:33.04, which helped paved the way for a state cross-country title last fall.
This season, she’s looking to capture gold in all of the distance events.
“I want to be running my fastest but at the same time I want to try and win the Triple Crown,” Upshaw said.