An increase in mileage over the fall cross country season and training with a male teammate for four months started to shape Caroline Wells' high hopes for the outdoor season.
Recently, though, that success came earlier than expected, as Wells set a new Florida state record for 3,200m with a time of 10.10.39 at the Lake Mary Invitational on March 6.
Her efforts surpassed the former record of 10:10.45, which Parker Valby last secured in 2019 at the Florida State Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
However, Wells was on the path to history long before that fateful day.
Her fall training efforts showed through in cross country season when she broke 17 minutes for 5K at the FHSAA 3A District 6 meet with a time of 16:50.78. The Winter Springs (FL) junior then won her first FHSAA Cross Country State title before finishing seventh at the AAU National Cross Country Championships in December.
Almost three months later, she opened her outdoor season in personal bests in the 800m and 1600m at the Silverhawk Open. While breaking the state record was on her vision board this season, she didn't realize that it would come so soon in her season.
During that record-breaking run, Wells ran her first 400m in 70 seconds and her first 1,600m in 4:48. But she said she felt smooth and even her coach made a comment to her that she looked effortless.
When she crossed the finish line, there was some nervous tension, she said. The clock kept rolling, so she didn't see her official time, it seemed, until a full 20 minutes after her competition finished.
She broke the state record by six-hundredths of a second.
Next up, Wells said she will compete at the Set Goals No Limits Distance Showcase in either the 1,600m or 3,200m. If she runs the 3200m, she said, her goal would be to run more even splits and get close to 10 flat.
Wells says she's grateful for the strength she's gained this season and is looking forward to competing on the national level again.
- [00:33] -- You made a big jump in your performances pre-pandemic to post-pandemic. How did you approach training during that time of unknown and no meets last spring and summer?
- [1:30] -- How was that transition for you? How did those adjustments help you and how do you see this impacting your season long term?
- [2:08] -- You ran at the SilverHawk Open and ran the 800m and 1600m - which you set personal bests in! 2:13.55 and 4:49.51. How much confidence did that give you leading up to the Lake Mary Invitational?
- [2:40] -- Talk to me about your race strategy for the Lake Mary Invitational. You went out in your first 400m in 70 seconds. Then your 1600m split was 4:58. Was your initial plan to get out that aggressive?
- [3:26] -- Were you nervous at all lining up on the track?
- [3:56] -- How do those last four laps feel compared to the beginning of your race?
- [4:33] -- Do you think maybe with a more evenly paced race you could go faster and closer to 10 flat?
- [5:07] -- When you crossed the finish line in 10:10.39 - what was your initial reaction? At that moment did you know you did it?
- [5:51] -- Was your plan to break the state record at this meet or just to see where your fitness was at?
- [6:15] -- You broke the state record in your first race of the season. What does that tell you about your fitness and where you are right now? What can we expect from you in the future?
- [6:51] -- Was breaking this record on your vision board for this season?
- [7:05] -- How did running cross country help your performance at the Lake Mary Invitational?
- [7:50] -- What are you planning to run at Set Goals No Limits Distance Showcase?
- [8:24] -- Are you looking forward to racing with some competition to push you instead of time trialing your races?
- [8:38] -- Which race would you prefer to compete in and what goals do you have set for yourself?
- [9:11] -- What specific time do you want to run in the 1600m and 3200m?
- [9:47] -- What are some of the things you're wanting to accomplish this season? What keeps you motivated to keep going?
- [10:32] -- Have you started to take the next steps in the recruiting process?
- [11:10] -- Do you utilize your backyard pool for training?
- [11:25] -- Outside of track, what are some of the things you like to do?
- [11:53] -- What your No. 1 song on your playlist right now?