Runner gunning for state meet

Pam Erickson is on a mission.

The Kingman High School sophomore distance runner missed qualifying for the state meet by one spot last year.

This year she is determined to make it to the state meet.

At the Northwest Regional meet Erickson finished in fifth place in the 1,600-meter run and in the 3,200 she was in third place.

The top two from each event qualify for the state meet.

"I was just one spot away from making it last year," Erickson said.

"This year I really want to go to state and run in it."

Erickson said she is more focused this year in her long distance training.

"At the meets I'm really concentrating on who I should be running with and what times I should be doing," Erickson said.

Erickson is also a standout cross country runner.

In the off-season she ran with the Kingman High School girls varsity soccer team to stay in shape for the track season.

"I lifted weights this year and I ran two miles everyday," Erickson said.

"I would do sprint work some days.

I probably practiced harder this year than I did last year."

Her hard work has paid off.

Last week the Bulldogs competed against Deer Valley, Mountain Ridge and Ironwood.

Erickson won the 3,200 with a time of 12:34 and came in second in the 1,600.

"Last week was my best place-wise, but not time-wise," Erickson said.

Erickson's top competition this year is a Mountain Ridge runner.

"I have been really concentrating on her because I know that I should be going with her and she is one of the best runners in the region," Erickson said.

Her best event is the 3,200.

"It's more like cross country," Erickson said.

"It's longer and you just have more time to catch up if you fall behind.

I just really like running."

In practice Erickson runs with members of the boys team.

"Pam is talented and she has good form," distance coach Randall Hanks said.

"She does need to get stronger and her foot speed needs to get faster.

This year Pam is running with the guys and that is pretty much what she has to run with.

We only have a couple of other distance runners that are out for the team."

Hanks believes Erickson will contend for the regional title in both events.

"At regionals I would like to see her in the top five in both events," Hanks said.

"We want her to make the state qualifying times."

The state qualifying time in the 3,200 is 11:55 and in the 1,600 it is 5:29.

"That is what we are looking for her to get in the next two weeks," Hanks said.

"We need to get her to run more aggressively and she will make it to state."

Erickson and the Bulldogs return to action on Saturday at the Glendale Invitational.

"I'm hoping to do really great at the meet," Erickson said.

"Hopefully, I will qualify for the state meet."