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home : sports & recreation : sports & recreation October 21, 2018

1/16/2018 1:30:00 PM
Pollard runs fast indoor mile for Gonzaga
Sisters graduate Brandon Pollard is becoming an elite runner. photo by Harry Pollard
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Sisters graduate Brandon Pollard is becoming an elite runner. photo by Harry Pollard

By Charlie Kanzig

Sisters graduate Brandon Pollard started 2018's indoor track season with the second-fastest indoor mile ever run by a Gonzaga athlete.

After redshirting last season due to injury, Pollard showed neither his speed or racing tactics had any signs of rust as he moved up steadily throughout his heat of the mile at the UW Indoor Preview at the Dempsey Center in Seattle, to win in 4:08.00. His time was the second fastest of the day by a collegian at the meet (James West of Oregon ran 4:04.9 in a separate heat) and the 10th fastest of the day among 54 milers who raced.

Kris Kristovich, who coached Brandon during his middle school years and has kept in contact with him throughout his career, watched a video of the race, provided by Brandon's mother, Shannon.

"He did some track workouts here in Sisters during the winter break and I had him over for lunch and he told me that he was feeling as strong as he has ever been," said Kristovich. "Watching him run that race, I marveled at how he has always been such a great tactical runner with pretty amazing finishing speed."

Pollard's coach at Gonzaga, Pat Tyson, seemed to agree in a press release after the meet, saying "Brandon ran a brilliant tactical race, positioning himself in the top three or four throughout the first 1,200 meters and would take the lead at the bell, opening up a huge victory,"

Pollard won the state title for 800 meters as a senior at Sisters High School in 2014 and holds the Gonzaga school record at that distance with a time of 1:49.88. His time Saturday for the mile eclipsed his lifetime best of 4:10.69, setting him up for what could be a very exciting outdoor track season.

Kristovich said that in addition to Pollard's high-quality training, he might have discovered a secret weapon for the young runner.

"My wife, Penny, fed Brandon a tuna melt with home-made tuna before he ran that 1:49 school record in the 800 three years ago, so when he told me about his race in Seattle I had him come up for lunch again and it's hard to argue with the results," he said with a laugh. "He's such a great kid. I couldn't be more proud of him."

In his profile on the Gonzaga athletics website, Pollard, a physical education major, says that one of his goals is to break 4 minutes in the mile.

With a start like he had Saturday, achieving that goal just became a bit closer.

Pollard's next race will be for 800 meters in Pullman, Washington on January 20.

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