Winders becomes 4th HS IN runner ever under 1:50 over 800m

Caleb Winders has made a significant impact on the Indiana middle-distance scene in the first half of his high school career. Entering this weekend, he already held the state freshman and sophomore class records. Now, he has run a time faster than the current junior class record held by Austin Mudd (1:50.61). Winders' impressive time of 1:49.74 won heat 8 and earned him a 5th place finish overall in the New Balance Nationals Championship 800m. Notably, the top four runners who posted faster times in other sections were all seniors, making Winders the top returner for next year.

Starting from the top of the track with hip #10, Winders quickly established himself in second place coming off the break. He locked in behind Camerin Williams, who pulled Winders and the rest of the pack through the first 400m in a blistering 53.11, the fastest first 400m split of the day.

Winders made his move on the backstretch of the bell lap, surging into lane two to take the lead as they headed into the final 200m. Williams hung on, matching the move, while Marcus Reilly closed in down the final stretch. Reilly, who had run an impressive 4:01.16 the day before to place third behind Drew Griffith and Zach Hillhouse (both breaking the 4-minute mile barrier), couldn't quite catch Winders. Winders held on, closing with a 56.31 for the final lap.

Earlier in the week, Winders anchored the Bloomington North (Warthan) boys to one of the fastest times in state history, clocking in at 7:38.02 in the 4x800m relay. This time was just shy of their school record and the second-fastest all-time mark in Indiana, set last year at the state meet where they ran 7:37.24 to win the title. Winders anchored with a 1:53.14 split to comfortably win heat three.

There is speculation that had the Cougars been placed in the fastest heat, they might have beaten Westfield (NJ), who won with a meet record time of 7:36.26. If Winders had theoretically run the same time he did in the championship 800m for his split, holding all other factors constant, the team would have had a time of 7:34.62, just .17 off of Lawrence Central's all-time state record. Other team members included sophomore Caelan D'Onofrio (1:53.33), junior Jack Holden (1:55.20), and senior Dominic D'Onofrio (1:56.36).

With three out of the four members of this year's A squad returning, it will be exciting to see how the 4x800m team performs next year. Given their youth and depth, this XC season could be an interesting one to watch, following their 10th place finish at state last year.