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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : sports : local June 24, 2016

5/18/2010 3:02:00 PM
A great race
Sedona won the 3A state meet, but a race they lost was the most exciting
Jesus Rivera and Billy Orman in the 1600 meter race at the 3A state meet. Photo taken with permission from the AIA. VVN/Sean Morris
Jesus Rivera and Billy Orman in the 1600 meter race at the 3A state meet. Photo taken with permission from the AIA. VVN/Sean Morris
Athlete of the meet
Kevin Cox

First place in three events

Long Jump


100 meters


200 meters


Sean Morris
Sports Reporter

TEMPE - The state track meets have a way of bringing out the best in athletes.

You can see it in their faces. The competitors' determination oozes from their foreheads and is felt through their focused gaze.

The title 'state champion' is revered.

Athletes train all season, sometimes all year, for the opportunity to go against the very best in the state.

In reality, just qualifying for the meet is an achievement, but for the elite athletes the state meet becomes a battle of wills.

The 3A state meet 1600 meter race at ASU last weekend represented the passion and desire that makes racing so special.

There were 18 runners in the race, but people in the know about Arizona high school track knew the race was between two great runners; Jesus Rivera from Sedona and Billy Orman from Tuba City.

The two runners look very different. Orman is a tall, lanky, long-haired freak of an athlete. If you saw him on the street you might think, 'that guy runs long distance'.

He looks born to run. Even though he's giving it his all, Orman makes running fast look easy.

Orman said his favorite races are anything 3200 meters and above.

He's been smashing competition this year and he's only a junior.

Jesus Rivera is much shorter than Orman and built with more muscle. He's best at the 800 meters. When watching Rivera, it's easy to see he's giving everything he has.

His powerful muscular frame makes him dominant in middle distance.

The 1600 is the distance where the two elite runners overlap.

Orman can't touch Rivera in the 800, nor can Rivera touch Orman in the 3200.

The 1600 would come down to who wanted it more.

The race started with Orman setting the pace and Rivera running right behind him.

Other racers tried to keep up, but failed, and slowly they fell back from the two rabbits.

Rivera let Orman keep the lead spot for two laps, then made his move to the front.

The final lap was storybook. Rivera led for the first three quarters of the final lap.

Once the runners made the final turn Orman moved to Rivera's right shoulder.

The last 200 meters were neck and neck, each athlete pushing their legs as fast as they would go.

They crossed the finish line at the same time and immediately Rivera dropped to the ground and hit the track with his fist. The race went to a photo finish.

The announcer at the meet had been calling out the order of the finishers immediately after each race, but the finish was too close to call right away.

Another race started and finished before the result was announced. Orman won by two hundredths of a second.

This type of finish happens all the time in track, in the 100 meters!

A race that lasted four minutes and 20 seconds came down to two hundredths of a second.

Directly after the race Orman said he didn't know who won, but Rivera knew, even though it was by a slim margin, he had lost.

Orman said racing Rivera in the 1600 was nerve racking because he hadn't gone up against anyone with Rivera's type of 800 speed.

The race was one for the ages.

The next race for the two runners was the 800, and Rivera smoked Orman by over three seconds.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Article comment by: running fan

billy is the man! can't wait to see more records broken come cross country time!!

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