3 Things to Watch for at The Midsummer Night Distance Open



TRACK IS BACK in the Hoosier State! Sounds like music to my ears. The Midsummer Nights Distance Open is the first track meet on Indiana soil in more than 4 months. This meet is huge in terms of what the new norm is going to be in terms of social distancing and safety protocols. This meet was limited in entries, to help maintain a social distance between athletes. With this event also only contesting three events, it's going to reduce the overall amount of fans in attendance. 


The girls 800 is the most anticipated event of the meet for a number of reasons. Arguably one of the best ever 800 runners in the state of Indiana, Maddie Russin is entered into the 800. She comes into the meet with a PR of 2:08 from the 2019 state meet. In that race she took home 2nd behind Elizabeth Stanhope, who went on to break the state record. With Stanhope now at the collegiate level, Russin has her best opportunity to break the state record. Russin won't be alone though. Amaya Turner of Wheeler enters this meet with a PR of 2:10 which came at the end of June at the Palmetto State Games in South Carolina.

Turner runs a 2:10 solo

Unlike Russin, Turner is still learning the ins and outs of running an 800, but Turner has wasted no time making a name for herself. Turner should have no problem sticking with the lead pack. Behind Russin and Turner, is Lucy Petee from Mason High School out of Michigan. Petee owns a PR of 2:10 which actually came in an indoor meet earlier this year. Her outdoor PR is 2:14, but laying that 2:10 down earlier this indoor season gives us a little preview of what she is capable of running outdoors. Although Petee owns that PR of 2:10, I think she is flying under the radar a little with the bigger names like Russin and Turner entered. Petee is someone that we're going to have to keep our eye on throughout the race.

The last girl we are going to talk about is Emily Sonderman. Sonderman only began running the 800 this indoor season. She ran a total of 5 indoor 800's, and owns a current PR of 2:14.50 which came at the UK HS Invitational meet. Although she has yet to run an outdoor 800, she is being coached by Coach Bishop of Pike along with Russin, Turner, and a few other girls. So it should be no surprise when Sonderman is up front with these girls battling it out through 2 laps.

Now, the question everyone is asking. How fast can they run? First and foremost, it's worth noting that there will be a pacer in this race. Looking at the numbers, these 4 girls could all go under 2:10 at the very least. A lot of things play into that but that seems like the base number going into the meet. If the weather corporates, and it gets cool enough, we could have an even better race where they could get somewhere in the 2:06 range. It's all going to depend on how fast these girls get out, and Russin is known to take these races out hard. The current US #1 is 2:03. After that it drops down to 2:06, and that's where we could see some of these girls make their way into the top 5. Three or more of these girls could potentially make their way into the top 5 at the national level.


Photo by John Kemper

A name that's been on people's radars this summer is Kole Mathison and for a good reason. On May 5th, Mathison dropped a 14:55 5K on the track.

If that race was official, it would have been Indiana No.2 all-time for a track 5K. Mathison is just a freshman, and has wasted no time making some noise. It should come to no surprise though, as Carmel is loaded year in and year out with distance talent and it seems like Mathison is the next big name to go through Carmel. Mathison enters the meet with a PR of 9:31, which he set at an indoor meet in early March. In fact, this race will be his first 3200 on an outdoor track. Although Mathison is the number 2 seed behind Izaiah Steury, Mathison should be right with Steury throughout the race and could run somewhere in the 9:15 range. Keep an eye on him throughout the race, and for years to come.