Wichita teenager Clay Shively, a junior at Trinity Academy, broke Jim Ryun’s 58-year-old state record in the high school indoor mile with a time of 4 minutes, 4.95 seconds in a meet last Friday. Not only did Shively comfortably edge Ryun’s 1965 record time of 4:07.20 by more than two seconds, he also logged the fastest indoor mile time in the country for a high school runner this year. “Mr. Ryun is a man who I have looked up to and admired ever since I started taking running seriously,” Shively said. “Not only are his accomplishments incredible, but also just the man that he is. He was one of those guys who was not running for himself or his own glory. He’s a guy that loves the Lord and is very humble, so to even have my name on the same list as him, I’m honored and I’m incredibly grateful.” TOP VIDEOS Top Stories 00:03 00:36 Find Wichita high school basketball scores, plus schedules for mid-season tournaments “To be able to say you broke a Jim Ryun record is really a rare and special treat,” said Randy Mijares, Shively’s distance coach. What makes the performance by Shively even more impressive is that mid-January is essentially the start of indoor track season. He is still ramping up his training after a wildly successful cross country season that saw him win the Class 3A individual championship in record-setting time and help lead Trinity to another team title. But it was clear Shively’s training was trending in the right direction. Just the weekend before, Shively ran a “controlled” 3,000-meter race in an indoor meet hosted at Pittsburg State and still broke the Kansas high school state record in the event with his time of 8:30.64. The conditions aligned when Shively was accepted into the college division for the mile race at the Arkansas Invitational on Friday, Jan. 13. Up against college-aged runners, Mijares anticipated Shively being able to shave at least a second or two off his personal-best time of 4:10 in the mile. “It’s still very early in the season, so the whole idea down in Arkansas was to give him a competitive opportunity and really see where we were,” Mijares said. “It was an assessment of his conditioning.” It was actually the first mile race for Shively in more than six months, which he admits made him nervous before the race until some soothing words from Mijares. “Anytime I’m nervous before a race, coach tells me, ‘If you’re nervous, that’s just because you’re about to do something special,’” Shively said. The words would prove to be prophetic. Running in the same heat as runners from top college programs like Arkansas and Tulsa, Shively maintained position in the middle of the pack and hit his targeted splits in the first-half of the race. The final two laps are when Shively made his move. “I just started thinking about effort and getting my legs turning over,” Shively said. “I was pushing really hard those last 400 meters, but really I kind of felt like I was cruising and I felt really comfortable. To now know I have that kind of closing speed is really encouraging and it makes me excited for races in the future.” Shively closed the race with a 58-second final lap to win his heat in a time of 4:04.95, which finished as the eighth-best in the overall field and ranks as the top U.S. high school time by more than two seconds. “Everybody saw that 4:04 light up on the screen and it was pandemonium,” Mijares said. “Historically, this is incredibly rare. I don’t know that at this point in the season a high school junior has ever run this fast. I’m not 100% positive on that, but I’m pretty certain. Even last year when there were some seniors who ran under four minutes in outdoor, the fastest indoor time was 4:02 and that came at the end of indoor season. So for a junior to run this fast at this point, it’s certainly unique.” “I think I had too low expectations for myself because I was just going to be really happy with a PR (faster than 4:10),” Shively said. “I didn’t really think this was a possibility, so to break the record was a total shock.” If Shively felt like he was “cruising” and ran a 4:04, then that begs the question of how much faster he could possibly lower his time. “It’s kind of impossible to not put a time in your head, but really what’s best for me right now is just thinking about running my own race,” Shively said. “Of course I’m going to be listening to my splits early in the race, but when it comes down to those final laps, it’s going to come down to who has the most guts.” The answer to that question will likely be answered in March when Shively competes in the New Balance Nationals Indoor Championship, an invitation-only event that will feature the top high school milers in the country. Like Shively, Mijares doesn’t want to throw a time he’s confident Shively can crack — but the coach is confident that this won’t be the peak. “We never try to talk times because it’s a little bit of a trap,” Mijares said. “If you say he’s going to run a certain time and then he doesn’t, then everybody thinks it’s a failure. But I will say this: I’m pretty certain that if he’s able to stay healthy, he’s going to run quite a bit faster before the year is out.” This story was originally published January 16, 2023 5:50 PM.