Great quote - "If you want to go to the Olympic Games, just make sure to break 150 and 9 in HS!"
I did not start running until my sophomore year in High School, and ran 2:07/4:31/9:21 for 880, mile and 2 mile and 15:41 in Cross-country for 3 miles (Illinois).
As any coach would do based upon these performances, he had me focus on the the longer distances as a junior and I ran 14:16 for 3 miles at the State CC meet and 9:00.5 for 2 miles at State Track.
The issue here is that Tom Graves from Sandburg HS, ran 14:08 in CC; and 4:08 and 8:52, yards, and was the same year in school as me.
State cross-country senior year - Tom ran 13:56 and I was again 2nd for the second time in 14:00. I later ran 14:44 for 5k on a hilly Bloomington, Indiana course at the AAU CC Championships post State.
My coach in January started to train me for the shorter distances, as I had exhibited the ability to change gears in races. Within 2-3 steps, I was able to inject a almost all out sprint for 15-30 steps, and then go back to pace.
Senior year - 49.7 440 yards, 1:50.26 880 yards (State, only State title), 4:06.2 mile and 9:11 for 2 miles at the Quad State meet (Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio).
One could also look at if Webb, Sullivan and Branen ran their sub 1:50/9:00 in the same year? Not me.
Yes, I could argue that I only ran the 2 mile twice my senior year - the first meet of the season and 2nd to last meet of the year, and won both. After the 9:11 race, I came back that day and ran 2nd leg on the 4x880 Illinois team, with none other than John Sullivan (Thornridge) as the anchor leg. He warmed up in a cut off jeans jacket! I ran 1:54 and think he ran 1:54 a change for the victory.
Being able to change gears is crucial in creating the opportunities for post college racing. Look at Wheating and Lagat - the ability to inject a pace change will crush your opponent's mind. As my coach of 11 years Mike During would say to me: "There are no friends on the track!"
How to develop this talent? Do it in practice. Then have faith and courage to do it in a race.