Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Nighthawks unleashing new threat in races

Citizen Staff Writer
TC Varsity



For Ironwood Ridge High School distance runner Steve Magnuson, the yearlong wait finally ended Wednesday.

Magnuson, a junior who had to sit out the cross country season in the fall and last spring’s track season after transferring from Salpointe Catholic High, finally donned a Nighthawks uniform and ran a leg of the winning 4×800-meter relay.

The brief appearance by one of the state’s premier distance runners was a satisfying glimpse of things to come for Ironwood Ridge coach Gary Forrest.

“We’ve been waiting for a year,” Forrest said. “I think it changes a lot as far as this team is concerned. Steve is a very talented runner and we expect big things from him this year. I think he sets the bar really high and there are some kids on the team that try to follow his example.”

So far, so good. Ironwood Ridge dominated the 4×800 in 10 minutes, 41.74 seconds, nearly a minute faster than second-place Salpointe (11:38.27).

The rest of the team had similar results as Ironwood Ridge won its home triangular meet over Salpointe 98-56 and Tucson High (25).

Magnuson is looking forward to this weekend’s Desert Classic Invitational in Queen Creek.

“I’m excited and on Friday I get my first really big meet,” Magnuson said. “I’m really looking forward to it. . . . Being able to race here in front of people I know is fun, as opposed to being in California all the time.”

While the Arizona Interscholastic Association wouldn’t allow Magnuson to run for his school after the transfer, he stayed active in some of the Southwest’s most competitive events, including several in California.

Friday, Magnuson will be tested in the 1,600-meter race by Queen Creek’s Sherod Hardt, who finished second in last year’s Class 4A Division II state championship. Magnuson will again run a leg of the 4×800 relay.

“I’m excited to see how fast we can run this early in the season,” said Magnuson of relay partners Stephen Schaefer, Anthony Li and Jacob Winfield. “Our team is amazing all around. I’m getting a lot of good company here. Our (relay) team is going to be outstanding. I’m really excited.”

Schaefer, a senior, got a close look at Magnuson’s abilities while training with him all offseason.

“He is a great training partner and I’ve certainly learned a lot from him,” Schaefer said. “He has helped me expand my horizons here through running and training together.”

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