Rock Bridge’s King excels at state relay

Sunday, April 1, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:16 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Phillip King didn’t even want to run track. But now he’s one of the best distance runners in the state.

King participated in track clubs during middle school and ran his freshman year at Rock Bridge, but he really wanted to play soccer.

“I skipped my first track meet to go to a soccer game,” he said.

However, when King was running track that year, he ran an exceptional time in the 1600 and changed his focus.

“Freshman year I broke five minutes in the mile,” he said.

Because King ran so well, he joined the cross country team that fall and ended his high school soccer career. Last year King, a senior, went on to the state championships in both cross country and track.

King ran the 3200 and 1600-meter races for Rock Bridge at the Missouri Relays, a competition for high school and college athletes, this weekend and said that those two races were the best of his track career.

“I’ve never run in a track race that was that fast before,” he said.

Both races included a stellar field of runners including Josh Mathis and Thebeau from Potosi, Dan Quigly from Christian Brothers College, and Sam Masters from Hickman. In the 3200, Masters and King both set school records and they only finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

“It was crazy. It was such a good field of runners in Missouri this year,” King said.

Over the first six laps of the 3200, the pack followed Mathis. Then Quigly made his move on the seventh lap and passed Mathis.

King finishing fourth in the 1600 ahead of Masters. In both races, he tried to get a jump on his competition by pushing himself on the second to last lap instead of the final lap.

“I wanted to push it on the back stretch where it was windy,” King said. “I knew I couldn’t keep up on the last lap because they had more speed, so I decided to push it early.”

In the first day of the meet, Missouri junior Jason Morris won the hammer throw with a mark of 214 feet 6 inches. The throw was a meet record.

Junior Shernelle Nicholls qualified for the NCAA regionals with a throw of 178 feet 3 inches. She also came in second in the shot put. Lauren Borduin, a senior from Rock Bridge, won the girls 1600-meter.

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