#STINGDAILY: Ain't That a Kick?
Sophomore Brandon Lasater's strong finish sparked the 4x800-meter relay team
April 7, 2013
By Jon Cooper
Brandon Lasater is well-known among teammates for his finishing kick.
Yet, Lasater was directing more of a kick toward himself for the way he finished the recently completed indoor season as he took the track this weekend's at the 2013 Florida Relays, held on Percy Beard Track at James G. Pressly Stadium on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, Fla.
"I just expected a lot more of myself going to indoor ACCs," said the 20-year-old native of Perry, Ga. "I know it's a lot to expect such a big jump in conference, but I just did not race very smart at Conference [Championships]. I really wanted to finally put the strength that I knew I had into a race. Our training has been going very well this year and I just wanted to see it come to fruition."
It did Saturday afternoon.
Anchoring Tech's 4x800-meter relay, Lasater ran a personal-best for the second straight day and the third time in two weeks — he'd set one in last week's Yellow Jacket Invitational — ripping off a 1:48.3 final leg, and nipping No. 3 Florida's Sean Obinwa at the wire, to bring home the win for Tech by 4/100ths of a second (7:22.37 to 7:22.41).
In that magnificent final 100 meters, Lasater out-kicked Obinwa, who not only was on his home track, but had finished fourth in the nation at the 2013 Indoor NCAA Championship.
"I didn't know what happened until my teammates came over and they were very excited," he said. "So I had no idea that I had won until they came and told me."
The Jackets got a strong first leg from Cole Jackob, who missed a PR by one second, putting in a 1:52.6. Zack Fanelty followed with a personal-record 1:52, then Jeremy Greenwald put together a strong final lap, running a PR 1:49.3. That set up the final lap drama.
Lasater found himself boxed in at one point between Obinwa and St. Augustine's Marcelis Lynch on the first lap, and still trailed Obinwa by about 10 meters with less than 200 meters to go.
But then he put on his kick and pulled it out with a lean at the wire.
He was almost speechless after the race (You can view the post-race interview here: www.flotrack.org/coverage/250627-2013-Florida-Relays/video/704092-Georgia-Tech-and-Brandon-Lasater-after-upset-win-in-4x800) and, even after being shown replays of the race several times by teammates (you can view that here: www.flotrack.org/coverage/250627-2013-Florida-Relays/video/703940-M-4x800-H01-Lasater-Kick-does-it-again) wasn't exactly singing self-praises.
"It was exciting and all, but I shouldn't have left it that long," he said. "I was kind of afraid I'd let him get away at 150 but then I realized he was coming back a little bit and he kind of went forward at the very end there.
"Right now I'm just thinking about ACCs, try to put some points up there, hopefully make it to the finals there," he added. "I'm not trying to look too far ahead. There's definitely still some race experience that I need to get. I have a little learning to do."
That's a step forward considering how much Lasater had learned about running the grueling event last season.
"I won't say it's my favorite event to run, but it's growing on me a little bit," he said. "Last year I ended up throwing up after every race. So it wasn't fun. My high school didn't do a lot of mileage so I didn't have the aerobic pace to do the longer distance stuff. Coach [Alan] Drosky noticed I had some speed so he put me in the 800. From then, it just kind of worked out that way."
It looks like things are working out real well for the 4x800-meter relay team as it heads into the ACC's, April 18-20, which will be held at Paul H. Derr Track in Raleigh, N.C., on the North Carolina State campus.
"It looks really great for our mid-distance group," said Lasater. "Everyone's PR'ing and doing fairly well right now. We should be able to put a few guys in the finals and from there on out it's up to the individual. But it looks good."