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"I don't think I've heard anyone do the 800m and 400mH before. I hope to be the first." -- Michaela Rose
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GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA -- Michaela Rose doesn't even know how good she is.
Maybe that's a good thing.
The Faith In Action Track Club 16-year-old, who won the 15-16yo 400 meter hurdle division final on Tuesday at the AAU Junior Olympic Game in commanding form, nailed a PR and US No. 3 time of 58.16 seconds a day after going under 60 seconds in the semifinals, and it was the fifth sub-60 performance of the season -- all achieved from June on -- for an athlete who specializes in the 800 meter run.
Just six races into her tenure at the 400mH, Rose wasn't sure how to evaluate her performances. But as they say: Times don't lie. And these efforts, at the very least, have to give Rose and her coaches some pause as to where her future may lie.
"It was a good race for me to PR," she said afterward. "I feel pretty great. I'm glad I did everything I was supposed to. It was close to the record. But I did my best. I'm proud of it."
What has to make Rose and her coaches feeling good is her potential. She looked impeccable from the gun, gliding over the hurdles with the smooth-aura of a veteran, but she fatigued late and changed lead-legs at hurdle seven, nine and 10.
Timing and technique will take time to pin down. Fortunately, this was just Rose's first entry into the event. She only ran the open 400m once this outdoor season, twice this indoor season and owns a PR of 54.04. Note: MileStat has high hopes for Rose in the 400mH, too.
"That's probably going to be one of my main events, for sure," she said. "This is my first year. I'm guessing that's why I haven't focused too much on it."
Rose hardly focused on the hurdles in training in the lead-up to AAU. After winning a New Balance Nationals Outdoor title in the 800m in June, in a time of 2:04.38, her aims were tied closer toward breaking that career best.
So on Tuesday, when push came to shove, the Suffolk, Virginia native relied on something that she knew could get her to the line: Instinct.
"Coaching, I'm guessing (helped me)," she said of the race's important factors. "Prayer. And belief. I think those are the key things on how I broke it. When I started I expected I should go under 60. Faith I guess."
So where does she go in 2020?
Rose, a homeschooled athlete who doesn't run for a high school, will have to find races next spring. The best high school hurdler from 2019, Mills Godwin graduate Britton Wilson -- who also is from Virginia and ran a US No. 1 56.36 at the USA Track and Field U20 Championships -- ran at the Penn Relays, New Balance Nationals and U20s.
Rose said afterward that her primary goal in the coming years will be to race athletes that can challenge her -- as long as her coach agrees with that notion.
But she also said that she understands the perspective. There aren't many elite high school-aged talents in the 400mH and the 800m.
"I don't think I've heard anyone do the 800m and 400mH," she said. "I hope to be the first."