Precisely a week ago, Amador Valley's John Lester said it would take time to build back up to the type of speed that led him to the junior class' third-fastest time ever of 1:48.26 in the 800m a year ago through a pandemic.
But perhaps that's all a matter of perspective.
Lester had his best performance of the season on Saturday at the West Coast Relays in Clovis, California, clocking a US No. 7 performance of 1:51.62.
More impressive, though, was how Lester looked as the race wore on, as the Stanford University recruit hit the 600m mark at 1:22 and then clocked a 29-second last 200m to finish off the race.
It marked a nearly 3-second improvement from his performance last week at the second Dublin Distance Fiesta, when he logged a time of 1:54.51. Over three efforts at the half-mile distance in 2021, Lester has gotten better in each outing. He also ran a 1,600m leg of a DMR for Amador Valley recently, too.
But this spring might make for a bittersweet ending for Lester, who over the last year-plus has become one of the country's top -- if not the top -- 800m runners.
He will finish his high school career without having the opportunity to claim a CIF State Track and Field 800m title, even though Lester would have been the favorite in 2020, and he looks to be the favorite in 2021, too.
This week, the CIF announced that it was canceling the state track and field championships, though Lester had known long before that he was not going to be a part of the championships -- his specific Northern California section had eliminated that thought weeks before the CIF's decision.
So now, over the last months of the season, Lester will likely find himself chasing performances at a variety of meets, including those at the USATF level.
Lester's ultimate goal, he has said, has always been to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials, and with it would come a new high school national record below the current 25-year-old standard of 1:46.45. The Trials qualifying time is 1:46.25.
While time isn't on Lester's side, it would be smart not to count out the harrier from California.
West Coast Relays 800m Invite Results
Event 40 Boys 800 M Run Inv =============================================================== Name Year School Finals =============================================================== Finals 1 Lester, John 12 Amador Valle 1:51.62 2 Colchico, Nico 12 Willson-LB Ss 1:56.05 3 Ray, Noah 10 Buchanan 1:58.48 4 Maldonado, Eric 12 Atwater High 1:59.26 5 Galaviz, Collin 11 Clovis West (Cs) 1:59.50 6 Inhphom, Lionel 12 Redwood High 1:59.54 7 Monaco, Tucker 12 Frontier Hig 1:59.74 8 Teffra, Abesolom-Bekele 12 Central High 1:59.75 9 Borchers, Ben 11 Edison High 2:00.14 10 Staley, Brody 10 Soquel High (Cc) 2:00.55 11 Jauregui, Marcus 11 Buchanan 2:00.86 12 Martinez, Adrian 12 Monache 2:01.00 13 Beutel, Garrett 12 San Luis Obi 2:02.68 14 Leever, Josiah 12 Central Vall 2:02.86 15 Olsen, Bo 12 Buchanan 2:03.15 16 Medrano, Matthew 12 Highland -ce 2:03.94 17 Valenzuela, Santiago 11 Central High 2:04.32 18 Navarette, Christian 12 Buchanan 2:07.85 19 Wack, Cory 11 Arroyo Grand 2:11.66