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Wooff returns to form for state track meet

Heyden Woof, headshot.
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Heyden Woof
Heyden Woof

Heyden Wooff wanted to do more than just show up at the state track finals. The Camarillo High senior decided to get there with a sweet ride.

The CIF State Track and Field Championships are Friday and Saturday at Buchanan High in Clovis.

Wooff, who two years ago was the fastest sophomore in the nation in the 3,200 meters in 8 minutes, 55.19 seconds, has been beset with injuries ever since. After nearly a year and a half of rehab and conditioning, Wooff not only qualified for state in the 3,200 at last Friday’s Masters Meet at Cerritos College, he did so by turning in his best time of the year: 8:57.77.

“He looked like the old Heyden,” said Camarillo coach Mike Smith. “We’ve been waiting a long time to see that again. He looked sharp the whole race, fresh at the end. We saw that kick again that he’s so famous for and he had a phenomenal race. We’re so happy for him.”

Wooff’s injury problems started shortly after his 2009 cross country season, Smith said, problems in his lower back, groin and hamstrings. The coach said Wooff’s muscular body has been its own worst enemy because it keeps him from being very flexible.

He was in only three or four meets last track season and even though he won the Pacific View League title in the 3,200, he couldn’t run the next week in the CIF-Southern Section prelims. Last fall in cross country, he was unable to run in the CIF-SS finals and the state meet.

“We didn’t race him in the CIF prelims in cross country because we just didn’t how many more races we could get out of him,” said Smith.

For now, Wooff has at least one more big high school race in front of him before he goes on next year to Arizona State. At last Friday’s Masters Meet, Wooff not only ran his best time of the year, but finished second, just 0.04 seconds behind the winner.

“It felt really good,” Wooff said. “I’ve been waiting to break 9 (minutes) again since my sophomore year. I’ve been waiting and to actually get that now, the week before state, it’s really helped me out, in my confidence and everything else because I know I can do it again. I’m in really good shape.”

Wooff has no doubt about his ability to run just as good a race Saturday night.

“I want to break my sophomore time, 8:55. I really want to. The top 10 guys in the state right now are the 10 guys that were in my (Masters) race, so I really think I can contend for that state title.”

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