MileSplit Best of 2008: #1 German Fernandez historic distance double at CIF

MileSplit Best of 2008

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.For us here at MileSplit and hopefully the rest of the prep X-C and track and field world, 2008 was a year like no other. It was an Olympic year. A historic year. Simply an amazing 365 days.

It was a year in which we not only saw the prep stars that we cover on a daily basis qualify for the Olympic Trials, but one in which they announced their presence with authority.

It was a year in which we witnessed five new national standards on the track; six more all-time No. 2 performances were also recorded.

Pictured right in photo by Margot Kelly, Elijah Greer (OR) winning the 800 meters in a stunning 1:47.68, U.S. #4 all-time

It was a year where several cross country teams and athletes competed for the moniker of best ever; not to mention a myriad of other truly mind-boggling performances.

As the year draws to a close, we will be counting down what we felt were the 10 best performances of 2008. Today we revisit the moment voted #1 by our staff and webmasters.

Wayne Davis (NC), pictured below in photo by John Herzog, winning the 55m hurdles in 7.08, U.S. #2 all-time


May 31, 2008 - German Fernadez (CA) backs up his 4:00.29 1600m with a record 8:34.23 3200m at the California State meet.

By Aron Taylor

If the annals of history serve as any indicator of greatness few moments have come and gone that remain as defining moments in prep US distance running history. Moments that cause shock, awe, and are followed by decades of admiration and wonder. Moments that characterize greatness and exemplify individual excellence.

In the past we look to Jim Ryun’s phenomenal 3:59.0 high school mile record as a 16-year old junior in 1964 and eventual 3:55.3 set the year following as a senior.

Gerry Lindgren’s historic 8:40.0 indoor two-mile as a 17 year old senior in 1964 standing untouched for more than 40 years. Alan Webb’s 3:53.43 outdoor mile record and 3:59.86 indoor mile record set in 2001.

Finally, Jeff Nelson’s mind boggling 8:36.3 two-mile record in 1979 that stood the test of time untouched for more than 28 years. These are the moments that are remembered in the chronicles of history as historic moments for prep distance running.

Welcome German Fernandez.

Last year, Burbank senior German Fernandez left his mark in history with a performance that seems as mindboggling as it does improbably.

May 31, 2008, Fernandez entered the CIF California State Championships to begin the greatest double in US prep history with an even paced 4:00.29 1600 meter victory (60, 2:00.49, 2:59.10, 4:00.29). However, Fernandez was not done showcasing his tremendous talent as he stepped to the line for the final of the 3200 meters. In a race that will go down as an epic individual performance over one event never mind coming at the latter half of a historic double Fernandez even split coming home in a jaw dropping 8:34.23 (64.31-65.14-64.82-64.58-64.29-64.50-65.06,61.59).

As if the four minute mile was not enough, German’s eye popping 8:34.23 made a mockery of the record books establishing Fernandez as a man among boys and perhaps ahead of his time. If history is to be our guide Fernandez double will be remembered as the most astonishing individual performance in the history of US distance running. Where once it was thought that simply running a 4 minute mile or simply running a sub 8:40 two-mile constituted greatness Fernandez double has set a new standard for US distance running. Two hours after flirting with a four-minute mile, he courted 3200 meter immortality, smashing the previous record of 8:41.10 set by Dathan Ritzenhein in 2000.

Fernandez resides among company who needed national and international competition to set historic records. Fernandez ran alone.

A month later Fernandez would claim the holy grail of US distance running in another breath taking individual performance at the NON Championships with a US record 8:34.40 Two-mile, setting the 3K record in the process 7:59.83…all at the age of 17.

Boys 1600 Meter Run
    National: * 3:59.51  4/14/2001   Alan Webb (South Lakes, VA)               
  State Meet: & 4:02.62  6/2/2001    Ryan Hall (Big Bear)                      
    Name                    Year School               Prelims     Finals  Points
  1 Fernandez, German         12 Riverbank/sj         4:11.62    4:00.29&   10  
  2 Arcos, Raul               12 Corona /ss           4:12.09    4:09.65     8  
  3 Fleet, Mac                11 Univers C/Sd         4:14.50    4:13.33     6  
  4 Hunt, Rylan               11 Aptos/cc             4:14.49    4:13.38     4  
  5 Maldonado, Matt           12 Modesto/sj           4:12.11    4:13.85     2  
  6 Valdes, Tyler             11 Dana Hlls/ss         4:13.31    4:14.05     1  

Boys 3200 Meter Run
    National: * 8:41.10  5/13/2000   Dathan Ritzenhein (Rockford, MI)          
  State Meet: & 8:44.9h  6/7/1975    Eric Hulst (Laguna Beach)                 
    Name                    Year School                  Seed     Finals  Points
  1 Fernandez, German         12 Riverbank/sj         8:45.08    8:34.23*   10  
  2 Schwartz, Chris              Foothill             9:24.19    8:58.50     8  
  3 Tracy, James              12 Del Campo/sj         9:06.64    9:00.01     6  
  4 Estrada, Diego            12 Alisal/ cc           9:06.51    9:04.80     4  
  5 Walters, Brett            12 Sultana/ss           9:07.72    9:06.50     2  
  6 Dorantes, Luis            12 Whittier /ss         9:13.78    9:07.04     1  

Greatest Performances in US History (High School Only Competition)
German Fernandez    4:00.29/8:34.23        2008 (1600/3200 double)
Rich Kimball        4:06.6/8:46.6        1974 (Mile/Two-mile double)
German Fernandez    8:34.40            2008 (Outdoor Two-mile)
Craig Virgin        8:40.90            1973 (Illinois Outdoor Two-mile)
Jim Ryun        3:58.30            1965 (Kansas State Meet Mile)
Jim Ryun        3:59.00            1964 (HS Junior Mile)

#2 Jordan Hasay's HSR 4:14.5 to make the 1500 finals at the Olympic Trials

#3 German Fernandez (CA) tops national two-mile record at NON

#4 Jeff Demps (FL) breaks national record in the 100m dash

#5 Chanelle Price runs 2:01.61 in Pre Classic 800m, U.S. #2 A-T

#6 Fayetteville-Manlius captures third consecutive national championship

#7 Eleanor Roosevelt (MD) runs U.S. record 4x800 at Penn

#8 Hasay beats Chetelat, 9:52.13-9:52.51, 3200m, U.S. #2 & #3 A-T

#9 Christine Babcock US #2 all-time 1600/Mile

#10 Ryann Krais US #2 all-time heptathlon

Honorable Mention


Front page photos courtesy of Kevin Islander and Kirby Lee