Seriously, I didn't know he was a junior until the interview afterwards! It's gonna be awesome watching him, Leo, and Rocky Hansen battle it out next year. Hell, I'm excited to see what the rest of the season has in store. Martin is going to nationals this year and has shown he can pull a field to sub-4, so we may not even be done with sub-4s for this year yet.
On the coffeclub pod today, the guys brought up something I hadn't really thought of before: The shoes came out at the same time that the world standards got way better. Maybe a bigger reason people are running faster times is to hit the faster standards. I'm sure shoes have a part to play, but when everyone around you is trying to run faster, that's gonna motivate you to run faster too. I think that would explain why the top guys in the world aren't much faster (if at all) than top guys 20 years ago, but there's way more depth in terms of people running fast times.
It could also explain why NP, and now a bunch of other kids in the country, are running so fast. Getting kids to shoot for 4:00 instead of 4:10 or 4:20 is way easier when they see the people they're racing running that fast. Connor Burns was right behind Martin at NBNI, and I'm sure seeing him go 3:57 gave him the confidence he could break 4 too.