Iconic long-distance presence at Friday’s Reedley Invitational

Former Reedley High long-distance running great Pete Romero will “pass the torch” to Stockdale junior Blake Haney Friday in a special introduction at the Reedley Invitational.

It will be a Hall of Fame moment regarding Central Section long distance running at Friday’s 70th Reedley Invitational.

At about 5:30 p.m., at Reedley High, section track and field historian Ron Blackwood will introduce the leading 3,200-meter runners in Valley history — Stockdale’s Blake Haney and Reedley’s Pete Romero.

Haney, a junior, clocked 8 minutes and 48.58 seconds three weeks ago at the Arcadia Invitational to break Romero’s 46-year section record of 8:49.4.

Romero’s mark was a 2-mile time converted to 3,200 meters. Metric distances were implemented in the section in 1980.

“It will be Pete passing the torch, so to speak, to Blake,” says Aggie Contreras, Reedley’s coach and director of one of the state’s longest-running meets. “We thought it was a good idea.”

Also competing at Reedley in a meet that will begin at 3:30 p.m. will be Buchanan’s Cody Brazeal, who has run the fastest true 1,600 in section history at 4:07.72. Romero ran a converted 4:06.4 in his senior season at Reedley in 1967.

And yet another all-time section great entered Friday will be Madera South’s Jose Herrera, the Division I cross country champion in the fall, who is ranked No. 2 in the section this season in both the 1,600 (4:12.03) and 3,200 (9:07.82). Haney is No. 1 this season in the 1,600 (4:10.39).

Haney is top-ranked in the state for the season in both the 1,600 and 3,200. Herrera is No. 6 in the 1,600 and No. 9 in the 3,200.

Haney, Herrera and Brazeal are expected to represent the section well in the CIF State Track and Field Championships May 31 and June 1 at Buchanan’s Veterans Memorial Stadium.