The Finish Line Awaits For Newbury Park Senior Aschbrenner

A historic season for Newbury Park (CA) High School seniors Nico Young and Jace Aschbrenner is almost complete. 

This weekend, Aschbrenner, a University of Colorado signee, will look to end his season with one final time trial at 3,200 meters ... with a little pacing help from Young, who still has a few more weeks left before shutting it down completely. 

"Most of my kids I'm not worrying about," Newbury Park coach Sean Brosnan said, "They're putting in mileage. My top kids, they are definitely going after it."

Perhaps the only stumbling block at this point, Brosnan said recently, is finding a track that is open to the public and would be accesible and safe for all those involved. As it stands now, he said, Los Angeles County is still under heavy caution with coronavirus measures, though Ventura County, which is just northwest of LA and where Newbury Park resides, has eased up restrictions just slightly. 

Newbury Park's track, which is closed off to the public, isn't available for use. 

So those two counties are where Brosnan, Aschbrenner and Young will look to find an appropriate destination for the final performance from the future Buffs runner. Recent weeks has seen the trio -- training with Brosnan's track club, mind you, and not with Newbury Park -- traveling as far as two hours to find open tracks to work out on.

"That's the way we have to do it now," Brosnan said. "The kids are dedicated. They have class for a few hoursa and then they spend the time and drive and put the work in." 

With the CIF over and "summer rules" in effect, Brosnan's athletes have continued to train for the club and are readying for the team's annual get-together at Big Bear in June. 

This weekend will be the culmination of a historic year for Aschbrenner, and so the time trial will be fitting -- if somewhat unpredictable -- end following the cancellation of the CIF outdoor season

With Young pacing through seven laps, Aschbrenner hopes to break 9 minutes for 3,200m and approach 8:50, a time that would knock 15 seconds off his personal record. The California teen will then shut down his season in anticipation of his coming season with Colorado under coach Mark Wetmore. 

And ultimately it will close one half of the books on one of the country's best tandem's in recent memory. Newbury Park had two runners who were constantly scoring 1-2 in one of the most competitive states in the country and the pair ultimately gave their program a chance to secure its first national title in school history. 

On any other team, Aschbrenner would have been a No. 1, with a 3-mile PR of 14:04.80 and a 5K best of 14:53.70 -- that performance finishing him as a CIF Division II runner-up. Aschbrenner would go on to become an All-American at NXN as well, finishing 18th. On the track, he sported PRs of 4:24.26 in the 1,60m, 8:24.23 in the 3K and 9:05.55 in the 3,200m. 

"We want to leave him on a high note," Brosnan said of Aschbrenner.

Young, meanwhile, is targeting a late May or early June attempt at the 5K. He has aspirations of beating Galen Rupp's national record of 13:37.

Plans are still tentative, Brosnan said, but the hope is to gain a professional pacer through 3K and set Young up for a time in the 13:30s. Two other races are likely to be in the field. Like the high school mile that is taking place this weekend in California, Brosnan would like to make sure Young's final attempt as a high schooler is official and could go down in the record books. 

Young was asked recently to compete in that high school-only mile field, though his schedule, and his pacing plans with Aschbrenner, were already set for the same weekend. 

Brosnan knows getting the appropriate settings in place will be difficult. Beyond just finding a track and a timer and an official, there's also that tough ask: Who can take Young through 3,200m at 65 seconds lap, roughly equating to 8:40 pace?

"His fitness is still good," Brosnan said. "He's doing everything and all the little things are amazing." 

The storybook season is not completely over, which is almost fitting considering the year Young has had, but what else would you expect, one of the country's best talents of all-time going after a nearly impossible record and making sure it's in his grasp by season's end. 

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