Amaya Turner Is Turning Major Heads Over The Outdoor Season

* Wheeler (IN) High School rising senior Amaya Turner has raised her stock considerably over the quarantine in the 400m and 800m

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Few girls over the past seven months have raised their stock more than Amaya Turner

Consider that before the 2020 indoor season, the Wheeler (IN) High School junior hadn't run faster than 1:02.14 in the 400m or 2:25.89 in the 800m, respectively. 

But things have certainly changed since. 

Since joining the 800 Project girls club team headed by Pike (IN) High School distance coach Courtney Bishop -- it aimed to best the World Athletics U20 4x800 best from 1991 -- Turner has absolutely shattered her personal best times in consecutive fashions. 

It started over the indoor season when Turner clocked off impressive times of 55.36 in the 400m and 2:12.02 in the 800m. But really, that steam only strengthened over the abbreviated quarantine season, with Turner scoring an official 800m PR of 2:08.52 at the Midsummer Nights Distance Open on July 7. 

Then, on Monday, Turner followed up a 2:11.66 performance in the 800m at the Illinois Meet of Champions. A day later, she ran her fastest 400m time of the summer -- her only 400m time of the outdoor season, actually -- with an effort of 56.41 seconds.

In doing so, she once again put herself on impressive list. 

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The Nation's Best Combined Outdoor 400m-800m Girls Of 2020

1Sophia Gorriaran - Unattached CTFreshman55.442:03.362:58.80
2Bailey Goggans - Unattached - TXJunior55.762:04.933:00.69
3Amaya Turner - The 800 ProjectJunior56.412:08.523:04.93
4Kennedy Wade - Clear FallsJunior54.682:12.163:06.84
5Anastacia Gonzales - Speed City Elite Track ClubSophomore57.252:10.043:07.29
6Breanna Clark - H-Town HurricanesSenior56.232:12.633:08.86
7Samantha Kavanagh - Northeast HS (Oakland Park)Freshman57.042:12.703:09.74
8Cha'iel Johnson - St. Thomas Aquinas HSFreshman57.42:12.553:09.95
9Ainsley Erzen - Carlisle High SchoolSophomore57.892:12.223:10.11
10Jaiden Itson - H-Town HurricanesJunior56.862:13.663:10.52


Of all female competitors over the 2020 season, Turner is now the third-fastest combined 400m-800m performer. 

But when you consider the sheer excellence of Goggans over the past few seasons, and the sudden brilliance of Gorriaran, who ran 2:03.3 indoors, Turner's efforts stand out even more. 

While Gorriaran proved to be a phenom early in 2020 with her incredible versatility, her trajectory in this sport is ahead of the bell curve of many high school athletes at that age, which puts her in different company entirely. Goggans, meanwhile, has been on the radar of track and field fans since her freshman season at Marble Falls in 2018. 

* Turner's 2:11 at the Illinois Meet of Champions

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Turner, though, has kind of come out of nowhere. And her times may indicate that with a little more speed development, she could possibly see even more improvement in the 800m over her senior season. Over the indoor season (below), Turner actually ran faster in the 400m, though she did not break 2:10 in the 800m. 

While Turner finished just a shade off of Maddie Russin's 2:07.86 for Indiana's top outdoor time of 2020, she remains within an earshot of Elizabeth Stanhope's state record of 2:06.62 from 2019. 

With a little more coaxing, it just may happen. 

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The Nation's Best Combined Indoor 400m-800m Girls Of 2020

1Athing Mu - Trenton TCSenior53.142:04.082:57.22
2Victoria Vanriele - Governor Livingston HSSenior572:07.833:04.83
3Makayla Paige - Tewksbury Memorial High SchoolJunior57.422:08.013:05.43
4Amaya Turner - Wheeler High SchoolJunior55.362:12.023:07.38
5Claire Frazier Bolton - McGill-Toolen CatholicSenior57.822:12.153:09.97
6Micah Trusty - Friends' CentralJunior56.22:13.883:10.08
7Fajr Kelly - T Roosevelt Senior High SchoolJunior56.952:15.713:12.66
8Halyn Senegal - Sam HoustonJunior56.992:15.783:12.77
9Jayla Jones - Unattached - MISenior57.682:15.523:13.20
10Cheyenne Melvin - St. Louis BluesJunior57.52:15.763:13.26

Truthfully, Turner holds the kind of speed in the 400m that most collegiate coaches covet at the 800m distance. And ultimately, her two-way performances across seasons completely changed her path at the collegiate level. 

The Indiana standout has turned into the kind of recruit that will command scholarship money, even with just one exemplary season left on her career. 

If Turner can continue her mark toward faster times under the tutelage of Bishop, there's a chance she can develop into one of the top mid-distance athletes in the state's history. 

Her last seven months has certainly showed that. 

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