Enochs' Makau states her case on track

ragostini@modbee.comJune 18, 2013 

EC Player of Year08

ED CRISOSTOMO/ecrisostomo@modbee.com Girls Track player of the year Enochs High's Faith Makau.

ED CRISOSTOMO — The Modesto Bee Buy Photo

ON THE TRACK: The circumstances surrounding Faith Makau's medal-earning sixth-place finish in the State 800- meter finals (she was seeded 11th) almost double the weight of her achievement. For starters, she did not scratch from the 800 — her second-best event behind her 1,600 — only because of the unpredictability of the longer race. Sure enough, Makau got caught in traffic at the trials and missed a finals berth in the 1,600 by three-tenths of a second. But only two hours later, she overcame her disappointment, ran aggressively in the 800 and squeezed into the finals. The next night in Clovis, her foresight paid off in a big way. She built for that moment for four years. To get there, Makau became the first female in nine years to double in the 800 and 1,600 at the Section Masters. Her personal bests in both events — 4 minutes, 54.4 seconds in the 1,600 and 2:11.01 in the 800 — are stunning five-second improvements from a year ago. She will leave Enochs with three Masters titles, three appearances at State, a State medal and an Outstanding Athlete Award Athlete-of-the-Year honor. Check out her progression the last three seasons in the Section Masters 1,600 — second, first and first. In the 800, she was fifth as a junior before winning it this year. In cross country, she became the first athlete in the area since 1999 to win a Section Division I title. Simply, it means she can't be replaced. "The State 800 was the best thing I did because I lowered my PR by two seconds in just that race," Makau said. "I worked hard to get better in that event. And not scratching was the smartest decision I've made."

OFF THE TRACK: Makau, who lived the first 10 years of her life in Kenya, excels in the classroom. Her goal is to pursue a pre-med major at UC Riverside, which boasts its School of Medicine — California's fist new public medical school in four decades.

LOOKING AHEAD: Makau will take her versatile distance running skills to UC Riverside, where she hopes to emphasize the 800 and the 1,500. The Highlanders sent three athletes, including 1,500 runner Demajeria Debose to the NCAA Championships this spring (she finished 11th), so Makau believes she's making the right choice both in academics and athletics. "I'd like to develop the same way I did in high school," she said. "When I started at Enochs, I was good but not the best. I was an ordinary runner but I worked hard. When I went to State as a sophomore, I was in shock. When I was a junior, I worried myself sick (she eventually placed 11th in the 1,600). This year I was nervous but it was manageable. I got used to the environment."

QUOTABLE: "It all ties in being a good athlete and a good student. You can accomplish both if you set aside the time and be disciplined. Doing all of that makes you better."

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