All-Metro boys track: Performer of the Year

Graham BazellAtholton There was no question that Bazell was the top distance runner in the area after he won the Class 3A state title in cross country and followed with a strong indoor season.

But everything started to fall apart for the senior early in the spring season. The Stanford-bound Bazell began to get pain in his legs, and also had to battle fatigue.

It took a while, but doctors finally figured out that he had a low potassium level and told him to eat about three bananas daily to get back to normal. That strategy worked pretty quickly, but Bazell was uncomfortable through a big part of the spring.

He wasn't sure how long it would take him to get back to his old self, but Bazell was ready when the postseason came, although he still had some pain. He won the 1,600 and 3,200 at the Howard County and Class 3A East regional meets and won the same two events at the state meet.

Bazell won the 3,200 at the states in a 3A record time of 9 minutes, 13.27 seconds, beating Solomon Haile of Sherwood's time in Class 4A (9:13.77) for the best in that event. Bazell then came from about 20 yards down with 200 yards to go to edge Nick Huang of Urbana and win the 1,600 in 4:18.44. Huang finished in 4:18.49.

It was one of the most dramatic finishes at the state meet, as Bazell caught Huang at the finish line and passed him as the Urbana runner stumbled and fell. Bazell punctuated the victory with an uncharacteristic show of emotion by raising his arm in triumph.

"It was my last race," Bazell said. "I wanted to win it."

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