Follmar tireless in triple run


Mercury News

Attempting a triple that would be unthinkable for most runners, Saratoga's Alicia Follmar stretched the limits of her seemingly boundless potential.

The two-time defending state 1,600-meter champion set two meet records and a personal best at the 15th annual Hampton-Phillips Track and Field Classic on Saturday at San Jose City College, making a daunting undertaking seem easy.

``It really didn't feel that fast,'' she said after completing the 800 in a meet-record 2:10.00, despite running in her third demanding race in a little over three hours.

With the option of sitting out one or two events if she so desired, Follmar chose not to consider anything other than getting through her next race, rather than allow herself to become intimidated.

``This was an opportunity for her,'' Saratoga Coach Peter Jordan said. ``Running against other fast girls is going to get her to a zone she doesn't get to running by herself.''

After running solo during a state-leading 4:50.27 in the 1,600, Follmar overcame a slow start to her 400 to pass five runners down the stretch and finish fourth in a personal-record 57.72, and followed that with a finishing kick to the 800 that enabled her to pass Valley Christian's Evelyn Wing and win the race.

As for her limits, ``She can't throw the shot,'' said Jordan, who paused and considered what she'd just accomplished.

``I don't know,'' he said. ``Maybe she can.''

Follmar wasn't the only record-breaker. Two juniors set meet records in the 400 hurdles.

The lanky David Klech, of California High of San Ramon, won the boys race in 52.69, breaking an eight-year mark and impressing Andre Phillips, the former Silver Creek star who was the 1988 Olympic gold medalist in the same event.

``It was absolutely amazing,'' Phillips said. ``My first thought when I heard he was leading the state in four events was, `He's going to be a heck of a decathlete.' But then I saw him and I thought, `He's going to be a heck of a hurdler.' ''

Klech, a 7-foot high jumper, captured two other events -- the long jump (a wind-aided 23-0 1/2) and 110 hurdles (14.22) -- at the meet named after Phillips and sprinter Millard Hampton, another former Silver Creek star and a 1976 Olympic champion in the 400 relay.

Menlo School junior Libby Jenke, who has run the second-fastest 800 in the nation this season, provided an equally strong performance in the girls hurdles race.

Her time of 1:00.90 broke the mark of 1:01.22 set in 1999 by Long Beach Wilson's Lashinda Demus, who went on to set a world junior record and was a 2004 Olympian.

Other highlights included a weights double by Harbor's Julie Dufresne, who improved on her state-leading shot put with a 44-8; and victories by Mt. Pleasant sophomore Jeneba Tarmoh in the 100 (11.61 wind-aided) and freshman teammate Vashti Thomas in the long jump (18-8, a personal best).