White Plains, New York, May 11-12—It wasn’t the most evenly paced run, but in the end Katelyn Tuohy (North Rockland, Thiells, New York) scored the fastest outdoor 8 laps in prep history. The 15-year-old sensation clocked 9:47.88 for 3200m—which is equivalent to 9:51.29 for the full 2M—at the Loucks Games.
That’s ever-so-slightly superior to the 9:51.35 that Brie Oakley (Grandview, Centennial, Colorado) ran for the imperial distance in Seattle at last year’s Brooks PR meet. Mary Cain (Bronxville, New York) remains the absolute recordholder with the 9:38.61 she ran indoors during her breakout ’13 season.
Immediately after the race, Tuohy seemed disappointed with the effort, no doubt a result of the lopsided splits of 4:45.95 and 5:01.93. “At this point with Katelyn, she’s expecting to be running really fast times,” says Kyle Murphy, North Rockland’s outdoor head coach. “The idea was to click 72 and 73 laps [4:48–4:52 pace] for a little while and see how that felt. And she was just a little bit faster, and it took a little bit off the second half of the race.”
Though she won by more than 39 seconds it was ironically an early attempt by in-state rival Kelsey Chmiel (Saratoga Springs) at controlling the pace that may have sent Tuohy off too quickly. “Our thought was that Kelsey was going to run a very similar strategy,” Murphy says of the defending New Balance Outdoor 2M champ. “She’s a very strong runner—Katelyn likes running against other strong runners. Kelsey took the race out for the first 150, 200 meters, and I think that’s what blew up Katelyn’s idea of staying in control.” (To put her opening half in perspective, Tuohy came back the following day to win the mile in 4:45.61, and her PR is an indoor 4:43.62.)
Tuohy had hoped to run 9:40 (or better), hence the initial post-race frustration. “She was mostly disappointed because she didn’t execute it the way that she knew she had to,” Murphy says. “She wants to run as fast as she can, and in that moment she felt like she took that chance away from herself.” But, he adds, “maybe 15, 20 minutes later she was a very happy kid.”
The race marked the latest superlative in Tuohy’s stellar sophomore year. After winning State and Nike Cross Nationals titles by massive margins in cross country last fall, she kicked off ’18 with a 9:05.26 PR in the 3000 (No. 2 all-time indoors) and a national record in the 5000 (15:37.12). She went on to win the State 1500 (4:23.38), then New Balance Indoor titles in the 2-mile (9:58.89) and the distance medley (her 4:38.62 anchor capping North Rockland’s 11:44.38). She also showed her 800 speed at New Balance with a 2:08.83 split in the sprint medley, helping her squad finish 2nd.
Tuohy’s season has had only one blemish, a shocking 4th in February’s Millrose Games mile, in which she faded badly after an aggressive early pace (2:18 at halfway), likely triggered by hype surrounding the growing spotlight.
“It was a hard loss for her,” admits Brian Diglio, the team’s coach for cross country and indoors. “But we used it as a growing experience. We need to learn how to handle losing better. I need to change something in terms of managing expectations. She had internalized a lot of the pressure.”
That was the only race in which she’s been seriously challenged this year, so Tuohy—who doesn’t turn 16 until August 15—has accumulated considerable experience racing solo. She will likely go for a State double in the 1500 and 3000, before deciding on national-level meets.