New York City, January 26—Still just a prep junior, Katelyn Tuohy (North Rockland, Thiells, New York) made her long-anticipated debut against professional competition at the Sander Invitational and came through with a national record. The 2-time Nike Cross champion ran aggressively in the invitational 3000 and came tantalizingly close to her goal of a sub-9:00 clocking, finishing 3rd overall in 9:01.81 at New York City’s Armory. The previous record of 9:04.51 was set in ’13 by Mary Cain (en route in a 2M), though Washingtonian Alexa Efraimson set the absolute HSR of 9:00.16 on an oversized track the following year. Cain’s mark is also the ratified American Junior (U20) Record, although Stanford’s Elise Cranny has a pending 8:58.88.
Tuohy came through the 1000 (2:57.85) and 1600 (4:45.12), behind the rabbit, Dani Aragon. When Aragon stepped off at the 1800 mark, Tuohy took up the lead and remained on target for sub-9 at the 2000 split (5:58.70). Amanda Eccleston surged to the front at 2100 and pulled away for the win in 8:56.68, with Heather Kampf (8:56.87) close behind. Tuohy was unable to match their closing speed, but still finished ahead of 5 other runners. “She did a great job helping keeping us connected to the rabbit,” Eccleston said. “Definitely I was very impressed with how she ran.”
Tuohy, who already holds HSRs for the indoor 5000 and outdoor mile, was frustrated to miss her time goal. “If I just pushed with three laps to go instead of two I think I would have gone sub-9, but I’m still super happy,” she said. She called the experience “a little intimidating,” but was pleased overall. “I was just getting ready to… test out what it’s like to race against girls who are faster than me.”
Her biggest takeaway was the need to hold her ground in a crowded pack. “I think this time around I was a little wimpish, I guess you can say, giving up the [inside] spot that I wanted,” she said. “So next time I know that. I gotta get on that rail.”
Rockland coach Brian Diglio was most impressed with Tuohy’s poise. “Her end goal is try and go for the Olympic Trials after her senior year, so this is the time to get your feet wet and see what running with professionals is like,” he said. Having spent most of the past two years racing solo, Tuohy has started doing some of her training with the boys on the team this winter to prepare for following a leader. “She’s realized that makes it a little easier,” Diglio said. “When the other women went by her and she went right with them and she fought, I was super proud. It was a perfect outcome. She was disappointed with her time, but I was incredibly pleased with how everything went today.” □