By Denise Spann - MileSplit Correspondent
- - -
We're currently in a new era of high school track and field where more athletes have the ability to bypass college athletics and take their talents to the professional level.
Ajee Wilson, Kaylin Whitney, Mary Cain, Alexa Efraimson, Candace Hill, and most recently, Tia Jones, are prime examples of athletes, from nearly every event type, who took the leap into the professional world.
And traditionally, when making this decision, athletes have to answer a host of questions. Are they ready? Are they proven enough? Can they handle the physical and emotional strains of the sport on their own? Ultimately, will the end justify the means?
Those answers don't always come quickly, but talent always tends to rise to the surface.
New athletes approach the high school ranks every year.
And Katelyn Tuohy, the unquestioned phenom in the Class of 2020 and the top recruit on the girls side, might very well be asking herself these very questions heading into her senior year. She raced in her first professional field in 2019, and has arguably accomplished, over the last two years, more than anyone her age has ever done across the high school circuit.
A junior at North Rockland High School (NY), she's been on an increasingly dominant path since she stepped foot on a track in 2015. In 2017, as a freshman, she won her first NYSPHSAA State Championship in the 1500m. It's been a steady sprint forward since then, with two Nike Cross Nationals titles, multiple indoor and outdoor titles, and six more national records, three outdoors and three indoors.
It's natural to take some time off racing after a long season. Tuohy's raced just three times in 2019, across two competitions.
This is probably in response to her very eventful indoor season, where the junior was top three in the US in six events. She claimed US No. 1's in the 3000m, two-mile, and 1500m.
Tuohy's timeline includes marks in these events:
|1500m||4:14.45 (indoor)||Nat. record|
|Mile||4:33.87 (outdoor)||Nat. record|
|2 Mile||9:51.05 (indoor)||Nat. record|
|3000m||9:01.81 (indoor)||Nat. record|
|5K||15:37.12 (indoor)||Nat. record|
From a recruiting perspective, Tuohy's talent is quite clear. But what's interesting is that she is often ready-made from the gun.
One of Tuohy's biggest talents is that she has the ability to run fast ...within her first three of four competitions. In her career these past two years, her PRs have all been hit within a few attempts on the track. Here's her timeline from 2018:
|event||first race||second race||third race||fourth race|
If Tuohy were to seriously consider turning professional soon, it's going to work in her favor that she's run less over a number of years -- that total mileage, on and off the track, adds up.
However, if Tuohy were to choose to take even a short collegiate route before hitting the professional circuit, it could be useful, too.
She'd be able to adapt to a constantly competitive environment and possibly a new level of training.
As of right now she'd be a NCAA freshman leader in multiple events indoor and outdoor.
|event||NCAA freshman rank|
|1500m outdoor||No. 1|
|5K indoor||No. 1|
|Mile indoor||No. 2|
|3K indoor||No. 2|