Priming for his senior year, Jonas Nanaeto’s experience at the 2019 Down Under Games in Australia’s Queensland state couldn’t really have been much better.
“It was good, overall,” he said Thursday afternoon, sufficiently rested and re-acclimated to life this side of the International Date Line after returning to the United States early in the week. “Something new, especially to be out on my own.”
Competing July 6-15 in the under-20 age group in the “Track & Field 1” session, the Ignacio High standout torched the Griffith University Sports Centre track with a fifth-place result in the 800-meter run, plus a third in the 1,500. Being as though he’d qualified for the CHSAA Class 3A State Cross-Country Championships – representing Bayfield – last fall, and later the 2A State Track & Field Championships barely two months ago, such results came as little surprise.
“I was a little happy,” he said. “I thought I could have done a little better in the 8, but ...”
But his best effort at the site in the Gold Coast suburb of Southport, however, was definitely surprising; the event in which he recorded it doesn’t exist, yet, in Colorado high school competition, and even offered Nanaeto something of an opportunity to show his cross-country skills.
“A little bit,” he laughed.
Helping commemorate well the 30-year anniversary of Down Under Sports’ 1989 founding, Nanaeto earned first place in the steeplechase, which he wasn’t slated to run, as the 3,200m or a 4x400 relay leg were more likely.
“It was something new, about 2,000 (meters),” he recalled of the event featuring hurdles and a water hazard. “I kind of switched from the two-mile to do that one, but even though it was my first time, it was actually pretty fun.”
Requests made to Down Under Sports for exact times/results had not been answered as of press time.