Saturday, March 10, was no ordinary date at Eisenhower High School. Eisenhower’s annual Track and Field Jamboree, the school’s first meet of the season, began at 11 a.m.
Typically, participants have low expectations for the first meet of the season, but Eisenhower sophomore Jonas Price had other plans in mind. It soon became apparent that Price’s steeplechase race was the most highly anticipated race of the day.
The steeplechase race is an event that not every runner is able to adequately compete in at the beginning of the season, or even at the end. The 2,000-meter event consists of five laps around the track but, after each lap, obstacles are added, including multiple hurdles and a water barrier.
As soon as the starting pistol went off that Saturday, Price bolted from his start position, setting up a lead that would only grow as the race progressed. With a goal in mind of finishing the race in 6 minutes and 45 seconds, the Eisenhower student not only won the event, but did so 21 seconds faster than he had hoped to.
Price has been a competitive runner since middle school, saying he originally started because his father, Robert Price, forced him into it. Jonas’ father as well as his older brother Ronan are both successful runners, having run competitively in college. Now, Jonas enjoys running because it provides him with a feeling of accomplishment and purpose.
Looking back about how he felt during that day’s race, the Eisenhower sophomore said: “I felt pretty calm, really relaxed. I knew what I was doing. When I finished, I was really excited that I actually finished the steeplechase because that was my first time running the race. I think steeplechase is my favorite event, and I really enjoy doing it.
“The most difficult part is going over the water barrier because you can’t go over it like a normal hurdle. The water barrier is my favorite obstacle because I get really nervous when it comes time for it. But, once I pass it, I feel really good.”
He added: “I really want to get a state title this year. I want at least one.”
While that can prove to be an unattainable goal for most high school athletes, Price’s 6:24.11 finish in his race during that day’s first meet ended up landing him the fourth-fastest spot nationally this season among high school athletes for the steeplechase, as determined by athletic.net, a national electronic recording system that follows high school performances from across the country.
While other athletes across the state of Washington will be working toward reaching the level that Price is already, he knows he plans to continue to become even faster during the rest of this season.
If the season’s opening race is any indication, the student appears to be on the right track of achieving his goal of earning a state title this year.
Hannah Boucher is a junior at Eisenhower High School.