Lafayette coach Matt Warren liked how senior Nassim Oufattole ended his career as a distance runner for the Lancers.
He saved his best for last by winning his last high school race in the recent Class 5 state meet at Jefferson City.
Oufattole went into the state meet with the fastest time in the 3200 meters this spring. His time was 9 minutes and 8 seconds.
He did not come close at state. Oufattole finished eighth in the 3200 in 9 minutes, 39.36 seconds.
“I know Nassim was disappointed after the 3200. He had a pretty grueling last few weeks and the race just got away from him,” Warren said. “But he didn’t let it get to him. He remained positive and rebounded with a vengeance in that 1600 the next day.”
Indeed he did.
Oufattole won the 1600 in 4:20.02. That was just 2 seconds off his personal best time.
“For Nassim to win a state title in his last high school race was so special,” Warren said. “He is an amazing young man and has put in so much hard work and dedication. He deserved it.
“The race was thrilling. Nassim settled in for the first couple of laps while the leader [Boston Small of St. Joseph Central] got out to a huge lead, but Nassim didn’t give up and battled back; inching away at the lead and ran down the leader to capture the win in the last few meters. It was very exciting.”
As a team, the Lancers enjoyed a solid season. Warren said the team was more than just a group of athletes. They all became close.
“We had a great turnout for the team this year and the way this team bonded like a family was special,” Warren said. “One highlight that stands out was winning the [Suburban West] conference title. The team photo and celebration at the end of the meet was memorable.”
Warren liked how his team competed in the district and sectional meets.
“We qualified 15 events out of districts and finished second as a team and then qualified 10 events on to state from sectionals, which is a great thing,” Warren said.
Lafayette has been a power in track in recent years. Last spring, the Lancers finished second. Before that in 2016, Lafayette won its first state championship in the history of the program. The Lancers had finished second in 2014 and 2015.
This year, the expectations going into the state meet were tempered a bit, Warren said.
“Overall, we have a young squad. We were pleased to see them all get to state,” Warren said. “[We] were hoping to gain some valuable experience and hopefully bring home hardware.”
Lafayette finished eighth as a team in the meet held at Jefferson City High.
Oufattole was on the 3200 relay team. He ran the anchor leg for the unit that finished second with a time of 7:50.32. The other runners were senior Nathan Reed, junior Harrison Brown and senior David Golder.“What an amazing race,” Warren said. “It was a season’s best time and we were so happy to see them medal so high. Junior John Nicholson ran on that relay in districts and sectionals and was a big part of the relay as well.”
Oufattole ran a 1:55 split in the event. That was a personal best.
Warren said Oufattole left his mark on the Lafayette track program.
“An excellent career for him,” Warren said. “[He is a] five-time state medalist, team leader and inspiration to his teammates.”
Now it’s on to college for Oufattole. He is going to Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“It takes a special individual to be accepted there,” Warren said. “He is a very bright young man with a promising future. He will run for them. ”
Other Lancers also did well at state.
In the 800 meters, Reed wound up eighth in 1:57.72.
“That is Nathan’s personal best in his last high school race,” Warren said. “Such a moment for a great kid. He had a goal to make it to state in the 800. To be seeded out of medal contention and then pass people the whole second lap to capture all-state honors. It was pretty awesome.”
In the 3200, Brown came in third in 9:27.03.
“Harrison is a very talented runner. I think at state he really went to the next level,” Warren said. “He posted a 1:55 split on the 4 x 800 and then ran a great 3200. Big things await.”
In the javelin, senior Hayden Bollinger was 12th with a throw of 153 feet, 7 inches.
“Hayden was hoping for a medal, but he represented well at state,” Warren said. “He is a great team leader and a great person. He will play football for Army and attend West Point. We are very proud of him. ”
Overall, Warren said he was happy for the season his Lancers produced.
“Most definitely, [it was] a good season,” Warren said.
The Lancers will build on this season and use it to grow in 2019.
“We lose only a handful of seniors. It’s always tough to see those guys graduate, but they are ready for their next chapter,” Warren said. “The outgoing seniors as well as the coaches are excited about the potential for the program. For example, our young sprinters [three sophomores and a junior] qualified all three sprint relays to state.
“Our distance crew and field events have young kids making great progress. We aim to see these guys take the next step to carry on the tradition.”