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Aisling Cuffe Smashes Molly Huddle’s 2-Mile Record

She went out hard from the start with the intent of taking it down.

Aisling Cuffe bettered Molly Huddle's nine-year-old 2-mile record this weekend. Photo: Mile

She went out hard from the start with the intent of taking it down.

Written by: Chris Lotsbom

(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — For the second straight day, records fell in bunches here at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals, including two national and two meet records.

Aisling Cuffe, from Cornwall on Hudson, N.Y., bettered current American record holder Molly Huddle’s national high school mark in the two-mile, running 9:54.22 in front of a large crowd late in the evening. Then in the final event of the night, the boy’s 4x800m relay, another national record fell with Long Beach Poly TC of California coming from behind to post a mark of 7:28.75. Meet records of 8:49.85 in the girl’s 4x800m and 4.17m in the pole vault also fell, with Bronxville TC (NY) and Morgann LeLeux (GA) claiming those marks, respectively. Bronxville freshman Mary Cain ran an outstanding 2:03 on the anchor leg.

As the day turned to night here, the clock ticked closer to the most anticipated race of the evening: the girl’s two mile. The race would pit a field full of credentials up against one another. Cuffe, the New Balance Indoor Nationals two-mile champion, would have to face indoor 5000m record holder Waverly Neer, as well as Thursday’s outdoor 5000m champion Wesley Frazier. Also on the line would be Kayla Beattie, the Illinois state champion in the 1600m and 3200m.

Cuffe took the race out hard from the gun, immediately setting the tone that she was out to get Huddle’s nine-year-old record. But by 800m, the field had strung out to single file, and had a surprise leader: Kayla Beattie. Passing the mile in 4:58.8, Cuffe was a few steps back, inching closer and closer to the leader, with Neer and Frazier slipping farther back.

Coming down the homestretch, fans began a slow clap similar to one heard frequently at Hayward Field in Eugene. Would there be magic at Aggie Stadium tonight?  Cuffe answered with an emphatic “yes,” surging and breaking away from Beattie.

“I knew I had to go then, even though I was sacrificing my leg speed,” explained Cuffe after the race.

Crossing the tape minutes later in 9:54.22, Cuffe had earned a national record, something she narrowly missed doing indoors.

“It’s my last individual high school race, and I guess I am happy it ended that way,” she said. “It hasn’t really sunken in yet.” Cuffe will compete one last time in the distance medley relay on Saturday.

Less than an hour after Cuffe’s record setting run, another national mark was ready to fall.  That was in the boy’s 4x800m. Long Beach Poly TC of California finished just under the national record of 7:30.67, set by Albemarle, Va., in 2009. Christopher Hall, Myles Andrews, Aaron Harris, and Christian Penn combined to run 7:28.75, the fastest time ever run in U.S. high school history. The team, comprised of four seniors, used their momentum to jump into the lead around the final turn, passing No Speed Limit TC in the process.  Both teams wound up under Albemarle’s previous mark. Still out of breath, the team posed in “front of the finish clock with their time proudly displayed.

“We just came out with one mindset – to get the record, said the anchor Andrews, who split a strong 1:47.71.

In the girl’s 4x800m, Bronxville TC of New York came to the line following a day of dramatic ups and downs. Three members of the team had their plane delayed for three hours Friday afternoon, causing all to worry that they would miss their relay heat. Arriving at the track only an hour and a half before the gun, with tears still drying in their eyes, the team began to settle down, focusing on the task at hand.

The quartet comprised of Mary Cain, Meredith Rizzo, Courtney Campbell, and Emilie Hoffer ran cool, calm, and collected, passing the baton smoothly. Once Cain, only 15-years-old, got the stick, she flew, clocking a split of 2:03.74. The final time of 8:49.85 was more than six seconds faster than the previous meet mark.

“We are all so young,” said an excited Cain, who couldn’t believe the team had won. “We will all be back for the next two years.”

A meet record was also set by Louisiana senior LeLeux in the pole vault. The University of Georgia-bound defending champion jumped 4.17m (13-8 ¼ ft) feet to defend her title. LeLeux credited her gymnastics background, as well as her male training partners, for helping her achieve success in the vault.

“My dad built an indoor and outdoor pit, and ever since sixth grade, I have been competing with the boys. That’s how I keep my motivation.”

With over ten Championship events being contested, there were dozens of highlights that were worthy of headlines.  Below are a few snapshots of what happened in other events.

– For the third year in a row, Alex Collatz of California won the girl’s discus. Despite competing with an injury, her final throw earned a mark of 46.70m.

-Kendell Williams ran the 800m as hard as she could, trying to break the sophomore record of 5142 in the heptathlon. She did just that, capping off the seven event competition with a 2:28.65. Her point total was 5169; now Williams has both the Freshman and Sophomore National records. Bus she wasn’t done for the day: Williams placed second in the 100m hurdles later in the evening.

-Ammar Moussa broke away from Jim and Joe Rosa with 400m remaining in the boy’s two mile, finishing in 8:51.80. The win gave Moussa his second national title of the school year; he won a team title in cross country last fall.