March Madness has been magnificent for Katie Fry, who's leaped into the Central Section track and field spotlight -- finally.
In a recent eight-day span, the Exeter High senior produced the Central Section's best girls times of the season in the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs.
It was an extraordinary series for several reasons -- the balance of events, quality of marks for early in the season, and she wasn't pushed in any of them.
"I've been really motivated," said Fry, who will run the 800 and 1,600 in today's West Coast Relays at Buchanan's Veterans Memorial Stadium. "I really didn't have a great track season last year so I wanted to come back with a vengeance and do something good."
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This isn't to suggest she hasn't been good before.
As a five-time Bee All-Star in cross country and track and field -- including three first-team honors -- she's had an accomplished career. And she's been rewarded with a scholarship to UC Davis.
However, for all her success, she's performed in the shadow of a phenomenal section girls Class of 2011.
Line 'em up:
- Jenna Prandini, already a record-breaking, nine-time section track and field gold medalist from Clovis, is headed for NCAA power Oregon.
"I really admire all of those girls," Fry says. "They work hard for what they do. What credit they get they work for."
Pausing, she then squeezed herself into the picture: "And so do I."
Fry said she's been motivated in part to fire a message north to her future coaches at Davis, which recruited her primarily for the 800. Her time of 2 minutes, 12.1 seconds ranks first in the state this season and ninth all time in section history.
"I've really wanted to make an impression, to make sure of their decision," she said. "I'm really happy the way I'm running now, and I kind of hope they see it, too.
"I have such a discipline now when to run, how far to run, pacing, when to eat and when to get to bed. It's just me mentally to be more motivated because I wanted to get better. I'm excited and so happy. It's really rewarding when I look at the state rankings and see I'm No. 1."
- The girls invitational 1,600, scheduled for 11:10 a.m., will be one of the marquee events of the WCR, which had 709 boys and girls athletes qualify out of 2,700 who attempted to enter. There's Fry (4:59.13); Templeton junior Savannah Camacho, a 2010 state runner-up in the 800; Buchanan's Bricks, who ranks fourth all-time in the section (4:56.84); and Saugus' Stephanie Bulder and Alex Hampton.