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It's never too late to make history.
And on Saturday, a field of high school boys, along with an accomplished collegiate runner and two University of Oregon pacers, will be shooting for the sub-4 mile barrier at South Eugene High School in the Independence Day Showdown.
The sub-4 mile attempt follows the Quarantine Clasico, the well-documented sub-4 race in California in late May, and will feature some of the same participants. Highland (AZ) graduate Leo Daschbach became the 11th high school boy of all-time to break four in the mile in May, authoring the ninth-fastest time in history in 3:59.54.
The field will include:
- Matt Strangio, Jesuit (CA) High School graduate, University of Portland recruit
- John Lester, Amador Valley (CA) High School rising senior
- Ahmed Ibrahim, Parkrose (OR) High School graduate
- Ajani Salcido, Jesuit (CA) High School rising senior
- Isaiah Givens, Pasadena (CA) High School rising junior
- Derek Holdsworth, Lafayette (VA) Class of 2014, Western Oregon University
- Jackson Mestler, University of Oregon, Sheldon (OR) Class of 2016
- Luis Peralta, University of Oregon, Passaic (NJ) Class of 2019
Strangio, Lester and Salcido are the main holdovers from the last attempt in May, though each had various storylines that prevented them from truly achieving their personal best moment.
Lester, for one, was pacing the field through 800 and 1,000 meters and not exactly looking for a career race. Still, after relieved of his duties and peeling off into Lane 2, he finished out the race in 4:08.90, an impressive time on its own.
Strangio, meanwhile, was forced out due to a shin injury. But in March, the 2-time California state outdoor track and field champion had run 4:03.57.
And then there was Salcido, who scored a PR of 4:17.33.
Each will look to improve on past performances. And Holdsworth, a runner who ran as fast as 1:47.43 in February indoors at the University of Washington, could be the key that unlocks them all.
The Class of 2014 graduate from Lafayette (VA) has the wheels to keep the pace honest when the pacers finish out their jobs.
That ultimately will help whomever is still in the hunt for a sub-4, a mark that now just 11 boys have accomplished in high school history.
New entries into the field include Isaiah Givens, the talented sophomore from Pasadena who ran 4:16 just weeks ago at the Desert Dream Last Hurrah Invitational.
There's also Parkrose's Ahmed Ibrahim, fresh off an outdoor performance in the 5K during a race put-on to help Nico Young go after a national record. Ibrahim who was 11th at Foot Locker Nationals in 2020, went 15:31.76 in that tune-up.
Over the last few weeks, the formation of this race has changed, as the race has moved from Portland to South Eugene. That move was made by virtue of conditions, both for runners and potential spectators.
Cruz Culpepper has opted out from running after a hard effort in the mile over the weekend in Grand Junction, Colorado.
But anything is possible Saturday, and the moment won't be too big for any of these boys.
If nothing else, perhaps, the holiday spirit, coupled with a little-bit of Eugene magic, could make this another race to remember.