Willis, Gorriaran Smash Former 800m National Indoor Record

Banner Photo Credit: Aisha McAdams

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Two meteoric things happened on Friday night in Boston: The  high school national girls 800m record went down. And a new World U18 indoor record was set. 

For five years, 2:01 was the time. No prep girls distance runner had gone faster than that time. On Friday, it happened. But the incredible part was this: Not just one but two females cleared the 2:01.78 national record mark last accomplished by Sammy Watson in 2017. 

Stevens Point (WI) senior Roisin Willis secured the overall mark with her winning time of 2:00.06 at the Boston University Valentine Invitational against a field of pros. 

But not far behind, in fourth place, was Moses Brown (RI) High School junior Sophia Gorriaran, who broke the junior national record with a time of 2:00.58. It was also a new World U18 record. By a lot

A year ago, as a 15-year-old Gorriaran set the mark at 2:02.44 at the American Track League. A year later, she nearly cut two seconds off that mark. 

Both used a blitzing last lap to secure the time; Willis at one point lost the lead on the backstretch and then re-gained it on the final 50m straightaway. 

From a career perspective, Willis shattered her previous indoor best.

That performance came in 2020 at the same venue but in a different meet in February, with the Stanford recruit running 2:03.05.

She only ran two 800m times last indoor season, and to be fair, one came amid controversy -- her performance last March at the CYUP Cabin Fever Invite was better than the time of 2:04.64 indicates; officials incorrectly positioned Willis at the start. 

But Willis last year went on to run an outright time of 2:00.78 outdoors, a performance that validated her talent and also went into the history books as the fifth-best ever in high school history.  

Gorriaran, meanwhile, made a giant leap on Friday, too, knocking off just under two seconds from her previous indoor best of 2:02.44 from last year at the American Track League.

The 16-year-old followed with two sub-2:03 times over the outdoor season, including her outright career best of 2:02.26 at the Olympic Trials. 

Both young women are now No. 1 and No. 2 in the history books in high school history. 

Willis is  also the fifth-fastest American U20 athlete in history, behind Athing Mu, Ajee Wilson, Mary Cain and Raevyn Rogers. Gorriaran is the seventh-fastest.