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  • Goodyear Independent

    Millennium distance runner closes out career with wins

    By By Jason W. Brooks,


    MESA — When Millennium High School distance running star Landen LeBlond left the Mesa Community College track for the last time in the 2023 season, it was after being helped up off of the infield grass.

    Bouncing back not only from that back injury that caused her to drop of the 3200 meters at the 2023 Open Track and Field State Championships, but also an injury this spring, LeBlond closed out her high school career this past weekend with an Open meet performance she’ll much prefer to remember.

    LeBlond easily won both the 3200 meters on Friday, May 10, and the 1600 meters a day later at the Open meet. Coupled with a Division 2 title in last fall’s state cross country championships, LeBlond will be starting off her career the University of Oregon late this summer with some momentum.

    “I think I grew a lot as a person in the past year,” LeBlond said after collecting yet another first-place state medal at the Open meet. “Junior year was just an awful, awful year for me, regardless of my performances in track. Balancing friendships and school work and, just, life, that’s difficult. And putting in time to run makes it tougher.”

    LeBlond beat 3200 runner-up and fellow senior Kimi Cahoon of Phoenix Country Day School by about six and half seconds. LeBlond’s time was 10 minutes, 44.9 seconds.

    LeBlond’s win in the 1600 was by an even greater margin. Her time of 4:53.76 was almost seven seconds faster than runner-up Brooklyn Hanania of Desert Vista.

    Last year, LeBlond won the 1600 in 4:55. However, she toughed out that race, and the following day, she collapsed on the far side of the track during one of the final few laps of the 3200.

    “I was grateful to get my first state title (in the mile),” LeBlond said Saturday. “It was really hard. Then, I hurt my back the week before state, last year. I pulled a muscle in my back.”

    LeBlond said the past year has taught her a great deal about how to prepare and how to think during a race.

    “I learned perseverance and patience,” she said. “I really learned to focus not so the outcomes of the races but, like, just having fun.”
    LeBlond missed time this spring as well.

    “I got injured and wasn’t running for, like, six weeks this year,” she said. “So then when state came around, I thought, OK, this is my senior year, last time running her in Arizona. There was a little pressure running here but I learned to adapt.”

    The Tiger girls placed seventh in the Open meet in team points with 29 — one point more than Xavier College Prep. Millennium senior Erika Grossman was the runner-up in the shot put and placed eighth in the discus.

    We’d like to invite our readers to submit their civil comments on this topic.  Email . Email Jason W. Brooks at . Landen LeBlond of Millennium was in third place after this lap of the girls 1600 meters at the Open Track and Field State Championships on May 11 in …

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