WATCH: Mary Persons' Justin Wachtel Sets New Outdoor No. 1

Photo Credit: Perry McLeod/SC Runners

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Mary Persons (GA) High School senior and University of Virginia signee Justin Wachtel was in top form against a field of men at the Five And Dimes Meeting on Friday in Columbia, South Carolina, hitting the final gear hard as he rode into the 5K finish with a new 2021 outdoor 5K best of 14:15. 

That time sets a new bar for what will now be a very elongated 2021 outdoor season, in due part because many high school cross country runners have distilled their talent on the track in order to ensure performances are logged officially. 

Wachtel's performance, a new overall 5K PR in cross country or track and field, surpassed Newbury Park's Colin Sahlman, who ran 14:27 the previous week in Arizona. Wachtel previously had run 14:26 for 5K in cross country in 2019 and 14:36 in November at the RunningLane XC National Champinoships.

In June, Newbury Park's Nico Young ran the fourth-fastest 5K in high school history, hitting 13:50 on the clock, and while also came in 2020, it remains a part of last year's results. 

Wachtel's mark technically will advance toward the 2021 season, thereby ensuring a new US No. 1 mark. 

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