WTW: Newbury Park & Colin Sahlman Are INCREDIBLE But Let’s Not Sleep on Parker Wolfe
The Week That Was in Running, January 31 – February 6, 2022
By Robert Johnson
February 7, 2022
Each week, we try to make the sport more fun to follow by putting the prior week’s action in perspective for you. Past editions of our Week That Was weekly recap can be found here. Got a tip, question or comment? Please call us at 844-LETSRUN (538-7786), email us, or post in our forum. If you missed our coverage of the 2022 NBIP from Staten Island, catch up here – Complete 2022 NBIGP coverage – as we don’t repeat ourselves below.
Stat of the Week I / The Newbury Park Boys Are Incredible
8 – number of NCAA D1 college teams that have two guys on the team with a sub-8:02 3000 seasonal best as well as another guy on the team with a sub-4:00 mile.
We picked those numbers because in case you were hiding under a rock over the weekend, that’s what the Newbury Park (Calif.) High School trio of Colin Sahlman (3:58.81 mile), Lex Young (7:57.06 3k), and Aaron Sahlman (8:01.72 3k) did over the weekend at the Armory. The fourth member of Newbury Park’s Fearsome Foursome — Leo Young, Newbury Park’s #2 man in XC — missed the meet as he developed some tendinitis following the cross country season and coach Sean Brosnan did not want to rush him back. Brosnan told LetsRun that Leo is now back training with the team’s top runners.
NCAAs DI Schools With Two or More Guys Under 8:02 & A Sub-4 Miler
NCAA DI Schools With More Than One Guy Under 8:02 for 3000
NCAA DI Schools With Multiple Guys Under 4:00 (Schools in bold don’t appear in middle column)
In the fall, on our Track Talk podcast, we debated whether the Newbury Park boys would make it to NCAAs if there were a D1 college XC team. Because we thought they’d get killed at #5, the consensus was no. These track times certainly make it a debate worth discussing yet again. Newbury’s Park’s 4th man in XC, Aaron Sahlman, just ran 8:01 for 3000. And he’s a very young high school junior.
In case you are wondering, here are the ages of the Newbury Park Fearsome Foursome.
- Colin Sahlman – 18 years, 102 days (DOB October 28, 2003)
- Leo Young – 16 years, 344 days (DOB February 28, 2005)
- Lex Young – 16 years, 344 days (DOB February 28, 2005)
- Aaron Sahlman – 16 years, 217 days (DOB July 5, 2005)
Since breaking 4:00 is sexier than going sub-8:00 for 3k, Colin Sahlman is getting the majority of the press right now, but immediately after the race, I started to wonder if what the two other guys did is even more impressive given the fact that they are younger.
Don’t misunderstand me. What Colin did on Saturday was INCREDIBLE. In the first indoor race of his life against a field that included professionals, to run that patiently and then blast the field over the last lap (27.79), was amazing.
But let’s remember, 13 US high schoolers have gone sub-4:00.
A 16-year-old US high schooler had never come close to breaking 8:00 for 3000 until this Saturday when Lex Young did it. So I put up a poll on the front page asking people which did they think was most impressive, Colin’s 3:58 or Lex’s 7:57, and 58% sided with Lex Young.
Up until this point, I’ve always maintained the most impressive of the group is Leo Young. When Nico Young was getting all the press a few years ago, I remember saying half seriously, half in jest, “Hey why are we going ga-ga over someone who isn’t even the most talented guy in his family?”
And since Leo is out, let’s take a look at what Lex did over the weekend and compare it to his big brother.
- When Nico ran 7:56.97 in 2020 (the high school record), he was 17 years, 6 months, 12 days old.
- When Lex ran 7:57.06, he was 16 years, 11 months, 8 days old.
So Lex ran basically the same time as his big brother when he was more than 10 months younger (319 days). And Aaron Sahlman is only 4+ seconds back and he’s more than 4 months younger.
Those are the stats, but please go watch Colin Sahlman’s race if you haven’t done so. I didn’t see it live or before I created the poll, but if you watch it, it’s hard to not see the great tactics and amazing final 200 and think, “This kid is special.” The way the race was run – it reminded me very much of Alan Webb‘s 3:53 mile at Pre.
Remember, Gerry Lindgren Ran An 8:40.0 Indoor 2 Mile in 1964
While Nico and Lex Young are officially the two fastest US high schoolers indoors at 3000m, old-timers are correct in pointing out that what the Youngs did isn’t really better than something that was accomplished almost 60 years ago.
On February 15, 1964, on an 11-lap-to-the-mile indoor track, Gerry Lindgren ran an 8:40.0 2 mile. LetsRun.com stat/coaching guru John Kellogg says that’s equivalent to 8:01.30 for 3000 but thinks the tight turns and the board surface are worth at least one second per 400.
If you use the NCAA conversion for undersized banked tracks to regulation banked tracks, Lindgren’s time equates to 8:31.7 for 2 miles, which is equivalent to 7:53.5 for 3000 according to Kellogg.
Don’t Forget About Parker Wolfe
Looking ahead to outdoors, the fastest any US high schooler has ever run in the 3k/3200/2 mile is Lukas Verzibcas*, who ran 8:29.46 for 2 miles at age 18 years, 4 months, and 29 days at the Prefontaine Classic in 2011. John Kellogg converts that to 7:51.54 for 3000. That’s definitely a mark that is under threat this year by someone at Newbury Park. And that shouldn’t really be a surprise as these guys are very good, they have very good coaching from Sean Brosnan and they also have super spikes.
If Verzbicas’ mark does go and Colin Sahlman is the one to break it, what’s interesting is that despite being the US HS record holder, he might not be the fastest 18-year-old American.
Over the weekend, UNC freshman Parker Wolfe ran 7:52.39 for 3000, a new US U-20 record for a 200-meter track. Making Wolfe’s feat all the more impressive is the fact he did it on a flat track at the Camel City Elite meet. The NCAA equates it to 7:46.96. If Wolfe had actually run 7:46, it would be the all-time US U-20 record indoors or out. The current rec0rd-holder according to Track and Field News is non-other than Jim Ryun at 7:47.8, which is converted from the 8:25.1 2-mile he ran in May of 1966. Wolfe, who ran 8:43.91 for 2 miles last spring and was 28th at NCAA XC in the fall, is only three months and one day older than Sahlman (Wolfe’s DOB is July 27, 2003).
*Verzbicas was not a US citizen.
Gjert Ingebrigtsen steps down
Since we just spent a lot of time talking about some talented American families, there was some big news last week coming from the most talented men’s running family in history – the Ingebrigtsens of Norway. Dad/coach Gjert Ingebrigtsen announced that he’d be stepping down as coach of the three brothers who have all made their mark at the world level in the 1500 (at 5000 too in the case of Jakob). It’s expected that the brothers will mainly self-coach themselves now with eldest brother Henrik leading the way.
That development coupled with the big run by Lex Young reminded me of an interesting thread from the messageboard that was started well before Newbury Park crushed it in New York:
I like the analogy in the sense that Leo and Lex Young (as well as Aaron Sahlman) clearly benefit from seeing their older brother accomplish a lot. They also benefit from getting presumably a better version of coach Sean Brosnan, who is always trying to improve his craft much like Gjert Ingebrigtesn was.
However, I hate the analogy in the sense that some fans are expecting them to be that good. That’s an unfair burden to put on anyone. Do people realize how hard it is to accomplish the following?
- Henrik Ingebrigtsen – 5th in Olympic 1500 at age 21.
- Filip Ingebrigtsen – World championship 1500 bronze at age 24.
- Jakob Ingebrigtsen – Olympic 1500 gold at age 20.
So the least-accomplished Ingebrigtsen was 5th in the Olympics at age 21.
The odds are well below 50% that any of the Youngs are ever 5th in the Olympics, let alone all three of them. More: Gjert Ingebrigtsen Takes Medical Leave and Steps Down as Coach of Team Ingebrigtsen
Stat of the Week II / Adel Mechaal Breaks European And US All-Comers Record in 3000
7:30.82 – new Spanish, European, and US all-comers record for the indoor men’s 3000 set by Spain’s Adel Mechaal at the 2022 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix on Sunday.
The old Spanish and European record was 7:32.41 (Sergio Sánchez, Valencia 2010) and the old US all-comers record was 7:32.87 (Hagos Gebrhiwet, Boston 2013).
The 31-year-old Mechaal, who was 5th in the Olympic 1500 in Tokyo, has been in great form so far in 2022.
In addition to running so well, let’s give him a thumbs up for racing a lot as it makes the sport more interesting. So far this year he’s raced five times, including three times in the last 10 days in three different countries.
- January 9 – 4th place in Juan Muguerza XC meet in Elgoibar, Spain.
- January 16 – 27:50 road 10k in Ibiza, Spain (1st place).
- January 28 – 7:36.57 indoor 3000 in Karlsruhe, Germany (2nd place).
- January 30 – 1st place in Spanish XC champs in Jaen, Spain.
- February 6 – 7:30.82 indoor 3000 in Staten Island, USA (1st place).
In researching the indoor US all-comers record for 3000, it made me wonder, “Where did Galen Rupp set his 7:30.16 AR?”
Answer: Stockholm. It’s interesting to see what we wrote about it at the time: Galen Rupp Runs 7:30, Japan Over US At The Marathon, Chris O’Hare, Dennis Kimetto And More, The Week That Was.
Most Improved Award
A friendly reminder to everyone that the calendar just turned to February and it’s still very early in the year. If your favorite runner didn’t run well in their season opener, don’t fret, they might be in much better form very quickly.
At the Wanamaker Mile last weekend, Irish Olympian Andrew Coscoran was bad as he was next to last in 4:03.81. US Olympian Clayton Murphy was even worse as he was last in 4:05.27.
This weekend, Coscoran won the mile at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in 3:53.64 while Murphy was second in the 800 in Camel City in 1:48.14. Now 1:48.14 may not seem fast for an Olympic bronze medallist, but remember Camel City is a flat track so it equates to a 1:46.62 according to the NCAA.
When Murphy won his Olympic bronze in 2016, his indoor PB that year was 1:46.68.
Murphy has only broken 1:46 indoors once in his career. That actually came on the flat track in Camel City in 2019 when he ran 1:45.92 – a year where he was last in the final at Worlds.
Camel City – More Lucrative Than A Diamond League
The big winner at Camel City was former NC State star Elly Henes, now with adidas. She picked up $13,000 on the weekend as she got $7,000 for taking the win in the 3000 in 8:57.83 over former teammate Kelsey Chmiel (8:59.96) and then came back and took the $6,000 by winning the mile in 4:38.66, just ahead of Emily Richards‘ 4:38.68.
More: Camel City results
Stat of the Week II
41 – number of Japanese men that have broken 2:08 in the marathon according to Tilastopaja now that Yusuke Nishiyama (2:07:47) and Tetsuya Yoroizaka (2:07:55) did it over the weekend at the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon, with Nishiyama getting the win and early 2022 world lead in the process.
5 – number of Americans who have ever broken 2:08 in the marathon: Khalid Khannouchi (2:05:38), Galen Rupp (2:06:07), Ryan Hall (2:06:17), Dathan Ritzenhein (2:07:47), Leonard Korir (2:07:56).
Norah Jeruto Is In Fine Form
We sure hope that Norah Jeruto races at Worlds this year. The 26-year-old was clearly the world’s best steeplechaser in 2021 (undefeated + world leader at 8:53) but didn’t get to compete in the Olympics as she’s been unsuccessfully trying to change her allegiance to Kazakhstan for years. She last competed for Kenya at the 2016 African championships, and her agent Gianni Demadonna has told us she no longer even has a Kenyan passport, but Jeruto has still yet to compete for Kazakhstan on the global stage.
She appears to be well on her way as repeating her claim to the title of “best women’s steeplechaser in the world” in 2022 as she’s been in great form since her track season ended with win in the DL final in early September. Since then she’s raced a bunch including a 30:08 road 10k in Valencia and then the weekend before last, she won the Discovery Kenya Cross Country meet by 35 seconds in 33:30 in a race where 9:06 steepler Daisy Jepkemei was second.
26-year-old Daniel Simiyu, who lowered his 5000 pb from 13:15 (altitude) to 12:55 last year and recently ran 26:58 on the roads in Valencia, got a dominant win in the men’s race as well in 30:14 (2nd place was 30:36).
- LRC After “failing” to win Olympic gold, Grant Holloway, Noah Lyles, & Trayvon Bromell are focusing on the positives as 2022 gets underway Some say Olympic favorites Trayvon Bromell, Grant Holloway, Noah Lyles failed in Tokyo. They don’t agree. Learn how all three men are staying positive prior to Sunday’s NBIGP.
- LRC SC Colby Alexander Crushed It At Millrose. Now He Needs a Sponsor. There were seven American men in Saturday’s Wanamaker Mile. Six of them had contracts but the unsponsored Colby Alexander crushed them all. Not bad for someone who never made NCAAs individually in college.
- After quitting track for 3 years and working in finance and signing with 2 NFL teams, Garrett Scantling was 4th in the decathlon in Tokyo – Might he win gold in Paris “I’ll be 31 when [the Paris Olympics] comes around, the same age as Damian was in Tokyo. That’s the prime age for the decathlon. I mean, you need your mental to catch up with your physical. It takes a while to mature in dec so 27 to 31 are the best years that you can have.”
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Talk about this article on our world famous fan forum/ messageboard: MB: Who is the #1 US boys teenage distance prospect moving forward – C. Sahlman, A. Sahlman, Leo Young, Lex Young or Parker Wolfe?
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