Midsummer Nights Distance Open Did Not Disappoint

Lily Cridge up front in the 3200

It may have taken nearly four months for track to return to Indiana soil, but Tuesday night's distance meet at Indiana Wesleyan University started to give a sense of normalcy across the state. We saw a handful of athletes drop all-time PR's despite this being their first race of the year.

Race Videos | Photos


Russin and Turner Move Into Top 5 All-Time

Maddie Russin and Amaya Turner break down their performances and talk about the future 

The star-studded event of the evening, the girls 800m run, did not disappoint. The last time we saw Maddie Russin race at any distance came back in mid-January when she ran an open 800 indoors, in 2:25.10. For anyone who has seen Russin race at the end of May or early June, we all know that is not a usual time for her, that is pretty slow. It took 7 months but Russin is back on the track racing, and faster than we've seen before and with a new training group. We recently saw Amaya Turner on the track in SC, where she put down a time of 2:10 in nearly 100 degree heat. 

Russin joins a small group of girls who call themselves "The 800 Project", which also includes indoor state 800 record holder, Amaya Turner and fellow IU signee Emily Sonderman. All three girls have spent nearly all of this down period training with the end goal of running after a U20 record in the 4x800 with the addition of Makayla Paige from Massachusetts. 

But first, Tuesday night's race. While paced through 600 meters, Russin and Turner hung right at the front ready to explode for the final meters. The ladies came through lap one in just about 61 seconds, the exact race plan they had coming in. 

Russin seemed to take off with 200 to go, coming around to cross the line in 2:07.86. A time good enough to improve upon her IN No.3 all-time mark and US No.3 currently. Turner crossed just moments behind her in US No.4, 2:08.52, improving upon her PR by 2 seconds and moving to IN No.5 all-time. 

Lucy Petee, Mason MI, took 3rd in 2:11.48. Teammate, Emily Sonderman had a rough first go back to racing with a 2:16.00. But with how new she is to the 800, that time gives her a lifetime outdoor best and a great mark to improve upon here soon.  

The 800 Project ladies are set to race again a few more times this month, with a 4x800 record attempt coming at the Summer Finale Distance. Their goal time: under 8:37.71. A time set back in 1991 by a Jamaican team at the Penn Relays. This time is marked as the unofficial U20 women's 4x800 record. For reference that fast of a time would put them among some of the best D1 college relay squads in history.

Lily Cridge has a Breakout Race

Going into the girls 3200 race, Lily Cridge was the favorite. She entered the meet with a 10:48 PR, but clearly wanted to better that at last night's meet. Cridge, along with most athletes has been training solo and hasn't raced a meet in months. So going into the meet, somewhere in the 10:50 seemed reasonable for Cridge given the circumstances. But the rising sophomore had other plans. Cridge hung with the lead pack through the first half coming through at about 5:25. With about 1600 to go, Cridge started to open up a gap and never looked back. She crossed the finish line with a new PR of 10:36 and broke Bishop Chatard's 3200m record. That time was good for US No.11 on the season and IN No.15 all-time. 

Cridge breaks down her performance and discusses her training group

What makes this performance even better is that this is her freshman season. She still has 3 years remaining and this performance gives us a preview of what's to come for the future distance star in Indiana. She was 8th last year at the IHSAA Cross Country State Championships in the fall, and with a performance like this, she could enter the season as a top-5 candidate and could even bring her into the conversation to win it all. She is still young, and has a lot to learn, but this is a good step in the right direction to becoming one of the top distance girls to watch for years to come. 

Izaiah Steury and Kole Mathison battle it out in the 3200

Behind the girls 800, the boys 3200 was probably the next anticipated event of the night. Izaiah Steury was the biggest name entered into the 3200. He had a remarkable indoor season, running 2 flat for 800, 4:17 for 1600, and 9:11 in the 3200, all which are PR's for him. Then there was Kole Mathison who entered with a PR of 9:31 which came indoors earlier this year. Mathison had run that 14:55 on the track in May, and that got people talking. Is Mathison ready to step up to the plate?

Steury and Mathison took it out at a solid pace, separating themselves early on from the rest of the field. They exchanged positions throughout most of the race, but with about 2 laps to go Steury started to open a gap on Mathison and never looked back crossing the line in 9:15, with Mathison close behind at 9:18.

Steury is ambitious for 2020 XC season

It was no surprise to see Mathison earn a new PR considering the amount of training he's done over the last few months as well as his recent performances.

Mathison is satisfied with his freshman campaign

Both boys are both rising elite distance runners in Indiana, and this race looks to be a preview of future battles between the two, beginning this fall.