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NYS TRACK & FIELD: GARRISON TO COMPETE IN STEEPLECHASE (2024-06-07)

By TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
CICERO, N.Y. — Spencer-Van Etten’s John Garrison will make his NYSPHSAA Track & Field Championships debut in the 3,000-meter steeplechase here Saturday afternoon.

The senior distance standout is no stranger to the big meet experience, having run to a top 10 finish in the state cross country championships this past fall. He believes that will be a plus in the steeplechase.

“It's going to help because we practice those fast starts with the big meets like states, so the pressure isn't as much and I think I'm used to the bigger crowds like that, so it'll help,” he said.

“I have a pretty good idea of like where I fall into the rest of the field,” he said. “Not really any really heavy expectations, just kind of go out and just run as fast I can.”

This marks the fourth time Garrison has run the steeplechase. He met the state Super Standard at the IAC championships, recording a time of 9:46.24, which seeds him fifth in Division II. It also puts him in Section 2, which is the fastest of the two sections in the event.

With a Super Standard to his credit, he just needed to compete in the event at the state qualifier and not worry about his placement.

Garrison made his debut in the event at the Spring Fling Invitational at Marathon, winning with a time of 10:42.

Pretty much a newcomer to steeplechase, Garrison knows one area where he could improve.

“I feel like the water jumps could be a little better,” he said. “Sometimes I make the mistake of just landing on both feet instead of trying to get out of the pit as fast as I can, so the water jumps could use some improvement.”

Jumping away from the water is his strong point he feels.

“I would say the normal steeples because I can just hop right over them with very little effort and then I don't really lose a lot of momentum, so that part feels really smooth right now.”

Garrison’s race begins at the start of Day 2, at 10 a.m. Typically, high school meets are run later in the day, so a morning start will be a little different, but he doesn’t think it will affect his performance.

“It doesn't really matter to me as long as I just have ample time to get prepared before the race,” he said.

There are a couple of competitors Garrison has been keeping an eye on.

“I think Noah Hilker from Ithaca. He's run, so far, a little bit faster than me, but if I can stay around his area, I'll be good,” he said. “There's also Oliver Jibb from Monroe-Woodbury. He's actually probably going to be one of my future teammates at Binghamton.”

Both Hilker and Jibb compete in Division I while Garrison is in Division II, so while he will run against them in the race, he won’t have to battle them for a shot at the podium.

Coach Kyle Holmes would like to see his runner do well, but wouldn’t be surprised with a podium finish.

“As long as we go into it and we end up being prepared as much as possible, doing all the right things to get a good warmup in and everything, really the expectation is to go out there and enjoy it and see how well you can do with it,” he said. “If we can place on the podium, whether that be for state or for federation, that'd be great.

“It’s like he said, he's still new to the event, so just getting the experience, getting him prepped for, honestly, for the college days when he's going to be doing it in college will be good for him too.”

Looking at the rankings on MileSplit, Holmes sees opportunity to do well.

“Last time I checked he was 19th in the state of all the guys who have run that event, but the gap between him and some of those guys is not that far as far as time goes.” he said. “There's definitely the opportunity for him to move himself up through that ranking and place better than what he's currently ranked.”

As of Friday, Garrison is ranked 15th among the Division I and Division II competitors entered in the steeplechase.

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