Handsworth's Charlie Dannatt sets new 3000 metre record. Photo by Mark Bates.
By Steve Ewen, Vancouver Province
Tyler Dozzi talked the talk, and then both he and Charlie Dannatt ran the run.
Dozzi, a middle-distance specialist from Victoria’s Oak Bay, suggested heading into the weekend’s Subway high school track and field provincials — held at Langley’s McLeod Athletic Park — that John Martens’s 1975 meet record in the 3,000 metres was in jeopardy due to a first-rate field entered in the race that would push the pace.
Dozzi and Dannatt delivered on that discussion, as the future UBC Thunderbirds teammates left the 8:21.27 that Martens had clocked in Burnaby South colours 42 years ago eating their dust in Saturday’s finale.
Dannatt, a Grade 12 student from North Vancouver’s Handsworth, passed fellow senior Dozzi with 200 metres to go and finished the 7½ laps of the track in 8:15.93. Dozzi came in at 8:16.22. Oak Bay’s Jack Stanley was third in 8:43.83.
Martens’s mark had been tied for the longest standing male meet record, although an 18-year stretch where the 5,000 metres was contested in place of the 3,000 metres merits mention.
That said, the closest anyone had come to bettering Martens’s performance in the past 20 years was the 8:28.1 that Justin Marpole-Bird of St. George’s produced in winning in 2006.
Keep in mind as well that, according to the Athletics Canada website, no Canadian competitor of any age had bettered that Martens clocking this season before Saturday. And Dannatt’s personal best had been 8:31.28, from a race in Eugene, Ore., earlier this season where he beat runner-up Dozzi by three seconds.
“Most people didn’t think we were going to get it,” said Dannatt, 17, who also edged out Dozzi to win the 1,500 metres on the weekend en route to being named the top male competitor of the meet.
“I believed that both Tyler and I had the fitness to go underneath the record, but I didn’t think we were capable of going that far underneath the record.”
Dannatt said he and Dozzi have been friendly since they started competing against one another in Grade 10.
They had spoken beforehand about chasing after the record. Dannatt admits to wondering if the odds of it happening took a hit when Point Grey’s Thomas Nobbs, a University of Washington commit, pulled out of the meet with an injury.
“We talked about whether it was dependent on what he was doing,” Dannatt said.
Coming out of the weekend, Dannatt contends to being even more excited about heading to UBC, what with training regularly with Dozzi, as well as several members from this year’s NAIA national champion men’s team.
Besides workouts and competitions, Dannatt and Dozzi will share a heavy course load. Dozzi has talked about going into engineering. Dannatt’s plan is to major in cognitive systems, which combines computer science, linguistics, philosophy and psychology.
“Most people go to the NCAA because they’re looking for that high level of competition. I’m going to get that in my own school in training,” he said.
For the full story, visit: http://theprovince.com/sports/high-school/ubc-bound-dannatt-dozzi-crush-3000-metres-high-school-track-record