* Highland (AZ) senior Leo Daschbach broke 4 minutes in the mile on Saturday
Photo Credit: Bobby Reyes, Colorado MileSplit
EL DORADO HILLS, CALIFORNIA -- Leo Daschbach accomplished what he didn't even think was possible.
Earlier this week, the Highland (AZ) High School senior and University of Washington recruit said during a pre-race interview of the Quarantine Clasico sub-4 mile attempt race that he didn't believe anyone in the eight-person field would break 4 minutes if they weren't on pace through three laps.
But then it happened.
Daschbach was faced with the burden of running a sub-57 last lap to reach that apex moment.
And then something came over the Arizona teen on Saturday night at Oak Ridge High School during this impromptu race planned across just three weeks.
Daschbach was unstoppable over the final 250 meters, pouring it on late for a final kick that was absolutely breathtaking as he finished in a time of 3:59.54 to become the 11th athlete in high school history to break 4 minutes in the mile.
Daschbach said he didn't realize how close he was to the goal "because I didn't hear the times too much," he said. "I didn't realize I was going to run sub-4 until I literally leaned across the line and the clock still said 59.
"I still can't believe it. That's amazing."
He clarified that he could see the clock but "it really didn't click until I literally ran across the line."
Daschbach is the first athlete to break four minutes in the mile since 2017.
Cole Sprout, a senior at Valor Christian (CO) HS who is headed to Stanford, had a valiant kick late, too, hitting 59.47 seconds on his final 400 meters to finish second overall in 4:02.42.
Thomas Boyden, the senior from Skyline (UT) HS, also heading to Stanford, ran behind the pacers for much of the first two laps and crossed third in 4:04.50. Both athletes, as was the trend, hit personal record times.
Easton Allred, a future BYU runner, was fourth in 4:05.67, also a PR.
John Lester, a junior at Amador Valley (CA) High, paced through 1,000m and also finished with a 21-second PR of 4:08.90. The California 800m leader in the shortened 2020 season brought the group of nine through the halfway point at 2:02.36.
Jesuit's Ajani Salcido went 4:17.33, also a PR.
Daschbach said he wasn't feeling well while warming up and had a headache.
"Just up until I hit my strides and was on the line did I start feeling good," he said. "My original plan was to just sit and kick and that's kind of what I did."
Daschbach ran 56.81 seconds on the final lap. His final 800 meters was run in an incredible 1:56.52.
His time now ranks No. 9 on the high school leaderboard all-time and it also solidifies him all-time as Arizona's best miler. The performance surpassed Bernie Montoya's Arizona state mile record of 4:01.32 from 2012 at the adidas Grand Prix. Daschbach previously ran 4:03.07 in a time trial in April.
"The pacers hit pretty much a perfect pace," Daschbach said, "and Thomas and Cole they both stuck it through all the way up until that last two-three hundred when I was really able to make my moves.
"I really owe that race to the pacers and Cole and Thomas because I basically just worked off them and just laid down my speed at the end."
After crossing, there was a smattering of congratulations -- a couple of hugs -- in a somewhat awkward dance of exhaustion and adherence to social distancing guidelines. Then, Daschbach, as did many of the others, went do the track to catch their breath and process what had just happened. He got sick on the track.
Sprout, who made the trip from Colorado for what was his only race of the 2020 outdoor season, said it was "awesome" but it didn't pace as he had planned.
"It definitely was a kicker's race at the end," he said. "That's definitely an area where I do want to improve. I'm not much of an 800-speed kinda guy like Leo."
Sprout's time is a lifetime best and ohhh so close to the sub-4 objective.
"I definitely can't complain," he said of the PR, "but it definitely does sting a little bit being that close. Just fuel in the tank for down the road."
The Quarantine Clasico Sub-4 Mile Attempt was the brainchild of Matt Strangio, a senior at Sacramento (CA) Jesuit HS. Strangio, a California State 3200m champion as a sophomore and 1600m champion as a junior, had attempted to run sub-4 in a controlled environment in April, shortly after the coronavirus pandemic forced the shutdown of the 2020 outdoor season.
While that attempt fell short -- although 4:03.57 was a 4.50 PR for 1600m -- Strangio said he wanted to try again and bring a few of his friends along for the ride.
"We worked for four years to get to a point where we're able to potentially make history and really do something positive not just for ourselves but for the whole track community," he had said during a pre-event interview. "To be able to put out something good right now that a lot of people are kinda yearning for is our main desire."
The race was held at Oak Ridge High School at 768 feet elevation nestled in the El Dorado County foothills east of Sacramento on the road toward Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Another advantage to that location at this time is that it's in a more rural county than the state capitol of Sacramento and COVID-19 social distancing guidelines were a bit more relaxed.
Strangio developed a shin injury in training and wasn't able to run the Quarantine Clasico, rather he became, essentially, the event's meet director.
"Very impressed with how he pulled everything together," Sprout said. "It was kind of last-minute but he did a great job. It was an awesome meet, awesome experience."
MileSplit National Editor Cory Mull contributed to this report.
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