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Centennial’s Braxton inches closer to milestone, wins three events at Las Vegas Track Classic

Only five high school athletes ever have cracked the famed 4-minute mile, the last being Lukas Verzbicas in 2011.

Centennial’s Dajour Braxton says he’s going for it.

Braxton posted the second-fastest national time this season in the 1,600-meter run on Saturday, finishing in 4 minutes, 10.61 seconds in the Las Vegas Track Classic at Desert Oasis. Cole Christmas (Wenatchee, WA) holds the top spot at 4:09.94.

For his efforts, Braxton was named the boys top track athlete, while Centennial’s Alexis Gourrier took home the girls honor. Faith Lutheran’s Mark Rubalcaba and Bishop Gorman’s Vashti Cunningham were named the top field athletes.

“My goal this year is, of course, four minutes,” said Braxton, who has committed to Louisiana State. “Maybe even breaking the 4-minute barrier. I feel really good right now, and I’m ready to go. I’m going for that 4-minute.”

Though Braxton ran in the 1,600, which is a little more than 30 feet shorter than the mile, the senior always trains under that mile mentality.

“He would like to be the next guy to go under a 4-minute mile,” Centennial coach Roy Session said. “That’s always a lofty goal. I think he’s capable of running about 4:06 right now. It would be an accomplishment out of this world. …

“He’s the best mile (runner) I’ve ever had. And as far as total athletes, he’s one of the strongest distance guys we’ve ever had.”

On Saturday, Braxton also won the 800 in 1:53.31, and was the anchor on the winning 3,200 relay team that broke the meet record by 7.01 seconds. The quartet of Dominic Roberts, Randall Jubilee, Keith Turner and Braxton finished in 7:51.25 for the Bulldogs.

Gourrier, a freshman, won the 800 (2:21.71), 1,600 (5:15.07) and 3,200 (11:43.63), and was on the winning 3,200 relay team.

“She just has so much heart and determination,” Session said. “She hates to lose. With kids like that, I look at the clock. We want to be nationally-ranked athletes, and if it means doing well here, that’s good. But our goal for her is top 20, top 30 in the nation.”

Rubalcaba broke meet records in both the long jump (23 feet, 8¾ inches) and the triple jump (47-9¼). He also won the 200 in 22.08 and was second in the 100.

“I’m happy with the way I jumped today,” Rubalcaba said. “It’s a good place to be at the beginning of the season. Obviously there’s a lot of room for improvement, but I know what I need to do. Not my best day, but pretty good for the beginning of the year.”

Ian Mack, a senior from Green Valley, had a hand in three meet records. Mack won the 100 (10.46) and 400 (48.3) and was a part of the Gators’ winning 800 relay team (1:27.46). Brady Williams won the shot put (53-2) and discus (170-8) for the Gators.

Cunningham, a junior, shattered her own meet record by seven inches in the high jump after clearing 6-2. She also was first in the long jump (18-2).

“I expected myself to make 6-4,” Cunningham said. “I was a little disappointed in myself, but overall I know I’m going to get it. My goal by the end of the year is to do 6-6.”

A total of 18 meet records were broken. No team scores were kept.

Contact reporter Ashton Ferguson at aferguson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0430. Follow him on Twitter: @af_ferguson.

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