It wasn't his fastest time of the year, but Robert Delfeld's finish in the 800-meter run Saturday during the El Paso County Small School Championships was one of his most exciting performances.
Delfeld, who is new to the 800 this year, torpedoed himself past Marcus Rodholm (2:03.86) in the final 20 meters to edge the Manitou Springs senior and win in 2 minutes, 3.66 seconds.
It is the St. Mary's junior's first win in the 800.
"I just go out there and do the best that I can," Delfeld said. "So just kind of run the best time, not necessarily win."
Delfeld also took home first in the 400 in 51.8 seconds, finishing just ahead of The Classical Academy's Collin Eaton (53.44) and Vanguard's Tyler Gard (53.95). Last year, Delfeld finished fourth at the 3A state championship meet in 50.87 in his first year running track for the Pirates.
Vanguard took home the boys' overall championship with 102 points. Manitou Springs (84 points) and The Classical Academy (83) rounded out the top three on a blustery day at the Grace Center.
St. Mary's coach Debbie Hellman was excited by her runner's performance in the 800.
"Did you see Robert's race there?" she asked. "That is Robert. He is so talented and just the most incredible person."
It was another example of the compete level that Delfeld brings to the track. The 6-foot-2 basketball player says that it is one of the benefits from suiting up on the hardwood for the Pirates. The forward averaged 12.6 points for the 19-5 second-round playoff team.
"In basketball, obviously you are thinking a lot about winning," he said. "A lot of times people focus too much on the times instead of competing. I think that helps me in that aspect."
Hellman said it is obvious that Delfeld is focused even more so on track than last year, when he was still playing club basketball in the spring.
This year, the coaching staff has been able to work with Delfeld on grooming him for the 800. Hellman also has not ruled out adding him to the Pirates' 4x800 relay team.
"He is just more focused," Hellman said. "We have all of his attention right now and he is motivated. You can see that."
Delfeld says he actually enjoys the 800 more because it allows him to think. His goal before the end of the season is to break the two-minute mark.
"I believe that I can do that given the couple of more weeks that we have," he said.
Yet his concentration goes beyond the track. Delfeld is also extremely dedicated to his studies and aspires to go to an Ivy League college or university.
Hellman believes college athletics are certainly a possibility for Delfeld's future and that he can be an impact runner at this year's 3A state meet in both events - his fastest time in the 800 came April 12 at the John Tate Challenge Cup (2:00.46).
"He will absolutely compete at the state level," she said.
To win at the 3A state track meet in May would be a memorable experience, says Delfeld.
"It would be incredible," he said. "I am just going to go out there and compete and hopefully if that is what is meant to be, then it's what is meant to be."