Newbury Park Opens Up Outdoors At Sundown, Engelhardt Shines

* High School Boys Mile at the Sundown Track Series

      Logan Stanley - MileSplit Correspondent

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      MESA, ARIZONA -- The Newbury Park boys picked up right where they left off in their historic cross country campaign on Saturday with an impressive performance at the Sundown Track Series hosted at Eastmark High School while Ventura freshman sensation Sadie Engelhardt proved her breakout season was just the beginning.

      NAU signee Colin Sahlman led the way for the Panthers with his 4:05.13 effort in the mile, which is the fastest outdoor time in the nation so far in 2022. Junior Lex Young was not far off, coming in at 4:08.96.

      "I was feeling good the whole race," Sahlman said. "It's a good opener -- 4:05. We wanted to try to go at that 4:02, 4:03, so 4:05 is not too far off. I think it was just a good rust-buster pretty much, get used to that speed racing again. It'll be beneficial to learn from it. And in two weeks hopefully, go out and do another fast one."

      The pair are readying themselves for what should be fast races in two weeks at the Sander Columbia Challenge indoor race at The Armory in New York City, where Sahlman will look to run right near the 4:00 minute barrier in the mile against a professional field.

      "I'm looking forward to hanging on with all those professionals," Sahlman said. "Just holding on the whole race, and hopefully get pulled through in a really fast time. That's the goal."

      Lex Young, who will compete in the 3,000 meters, will be joining Sahlman on the East Coast trip.

      "The goal is to go and play with that 8-flat," Young said. "It's going to be tough, but I think the race is going to be ideal. I'll be able to just hold on back door, behind all those insane athletes, and hopefully come near 8-flat -- which is such a crazy time in the 3k.

      "But I think that based off of the workouts I've done and how Sean is gonna kinda taper and sharpen me -- I mean we probably won't do that much tapering -- but the way we're going to go into it, I think that it's going to be a really awesome race. Even if I run 8:05, it's going to be insane."

      Junior Leo Young, who is recovering from injury, did not compete.

      Senior Daniel Appleford (second place, 9:00.97 in the 3,200m), juniors Aaron Sahlman (first place, 1:53.03 800m) and Hector Martinez (third place, 9:13.01 in the 3,200m) and sophomore Dev Doshi (fourth place, 4:24.59 in the mile) also turned in solid outings on what was a productive evening for the Panthers' corps of runners.

      Overall, head coach Sean Bronsan liked what he saw from his squad in their first outing of 2022.

      "It was good," Bronsan said. "Obviously it's January 22; it was an opener. We needed kind of a rust buster. So I actually said to Colin, if you run 4:05 tonight, you're in a great place to be in that four minute barrier in New York -- it's what he ran.

      "It was right where he wanted. And Lex running 4:08, he's going to run a 3K, I think he's in better 3K shape. The goal is to try to break that 8-minute barrier in New York. Those guys were good."

      "Daniel Appleford, 9-flat. I had a guy go 9:13 [Hector Martinez], from a 9:23 last year. So he's in a good place. Then Aaron Sahlman ran that 800, he ran 1:53, which this time of year, and it was a little windy for him -- and by himself -- it was awesome. We're happy. It was good. I was really happy with that."

      In the girls mile, Engelhardt quickly showed off her elite speed in a winning time of 4:47.51. While the mark is seven seconds off her personal best, Engelhardt was still very pleased with the outcome.

      "Honestly, that's what I wanted to do," Engelhardt said. "I wanted to come out here and lower my time from when I started last year, which was 4:56. That was the first race I ran. I wanted to take a couple seconds off that -- and I ended up taking like nine or ten, so definitely accomplished my goal today."

      Engelhardt is gearing up for what should be a considerably fast race in February at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational in Boston. The event, held at Boston University's indoor facility, will be against collegians. 

      She will line up in the women's mile.

      "I would like to lower my indoor PR, which is 4:51," Engelhardt said. "So that would be the goal. I don't really know the field, don't know much about the girls running. But definitely will get some more knowledge on that later."

      As for the whole season, Engelhardt has one big goal on her checklist: breaking 4:40 in the mile.

      If she does so, she'll enter into an arena few have ventured so far in high school history.

      Engelhardt specifically is eyeing a time of 4:38, which would place her on the cusp of the U.S. high school all-time top 10 list.


      Related Links: 

      Sundown Track Series meet page

      Full Meet Replay

      David McBee's Photo Gallery