The stories I heard of him, I took with a grain of salt. Often I would be told of this or that athlete and the hype rarely matched the reality. Well Chris is the real deal and in my opinion has had the best high school career of any distance runner from Bakersfield.
Sure there have been athletes in the past who might have run a bit faster:
- 4:13.0 Tom Elieff Highland-Bakersfield ‘74
- 4:14.3 Eddie Granillo East-Bakersfield ‘70
- 4:14.72a Chris Schwartz Foothill-Bakersfield ‘09
- 4:15.6 Robert Johnson Bakersfield ‘80
- 4:15.85a Billy Nelson Taft ‘02
- 4:15.89a +Terry Hickey Foothill-Bakersfield
- 4:16.08a Chad Schmidt North-Bakersfield ‘86
- 4:16.2 Robby Bray North-Bakersfield ’74
- 4:16.6 Scott Hislop West- Bakersfield ’77
- 4:16.8 Blaine Rudolph Bakersfield ‘78
- 4:17.12a Taylor Lucero Bakersfield ‘02
- 4:17.0 Laird Parker Shafter ‘68
- 4:17 Jose Chavez Bakersfield ‘73
- 4:17.23a Sean Langer Bakersfield ’65
- 8:52.1 Felix Elieff Highland- Bakersfield ‘77
- 8:58.50a +Chris Schwartz Foothill-Bakersfield ’08
- 8:59.2 Eddie Granillo East-Bakersfield ‘70
- 9:08.5 Rick Hitchcock North- Bakersfield ‘68
- 9:14.12a Ricardo Brewer North-Bakersfield ‘93
- 9:18.0 Lucas Burke Stockdale-Bakersfield ‘03
- 9:18.5 Roman Gutierrez Foothill-Bakersfield ‘77
- 9:18 Richard Ursin Bakersfield ‘77
Another factor is that he is so much better than his peers. Most of the top times on the list happen more than 30 years ago! He is charting waters that have not been seen in decades and he is doing it alone. The runners in the 70s had each other to feed off of. Plus there was the seventies running boom and the international success of athletes like Jim Ryun, Prefontaine, Frank Shorter, Billy Rodgers and many more. Lastly, Chris still has a few more meets left to run in his high school career and hopefully a state title or two and some PRs too.
At Area, Chris ran for the win and the real race was for the last three valley qualifying slots. for the first couple laps there was a large pack lead by Alex Garcia (Ridgeview 11'). On the third lap Schwartz took the lead and the pack began to thin and stretch out.
Lap four saw Schwartz, Garcia and Kelly (Stockdale 9') forming a pack that was 20 or 30 yards in front of Ariey (Bakersfield 12') and Robby Baker (Ridgeview 11'). As per usual Schwartz made his move at the 1600 mark and left Garcia and Kelly. Baker lead Ariey in an attempt to join Garcia and Kelly.
By lap six, Schwartz had the race won and Kelly was gapping Garcia. Baker had left Ariey and it looked like Ariey's only hope was that Garcia would continue to fall of the pace. At the start of the 7th lap, Baker had caught the two in front of him and it looked like the final four had been decided.
With a lap to go Schwartz had a comfortable lead over Baker and the rest of the placings had been shuffled a bit. Kelly was third and was followed by Ariey and then Garcia. On the last lap Ariey caught Kelly to move in to third with a PR to boot.
Kelly is the 8th fastest 9th grader in the state and the second best on the valley. Perhaps Curtis Kelly will pick up where Schwartz left off.
|SS||Weekly Duals, 4/19/09||04/19/09|
|2||9:39.40||Brandon Pugh||9||San Juan Hills||SS||Orange County Championsh...||04/25/09|
|SS||Meet of Champions||03/28/09|
|4||9:40.43||Anthony Monroy||9||Burroughs(Bur)||SS||Mt. Carmel Invitational||03/28/09|
|5||9:44.70||Allen Leung||9||Arcadia||SS||Pacific League Finals||05/08/09|
|SS||Trinity League Finals||05/08/09|
|CE||Sanger Metric Classic||04/24/09|
|8||9:50.75||Curtis Kelly||9||Stockdale||CE||Reedley Invitational||05/01/09|
3,200--1. Schwartz, Foot, 9:35.06; 2. Baker, Ridge, 9:46.25; 3. Ariey, Bak, 9:47.59; 4. Kelly,Stock, 9:55.58