Ann Arbor's Girls, Ridge's Boys Set DMR National Records

* Ridge's (NJ) boys set a new national DMR record

Photo Credit: Steven Pisano/MileSplit

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NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK -- A wild first day of action at New Balance Nationals Indoor on Friday ended with back-to-back national records in the distance medley relay, with Ridge's (NJ) boys and Ann Arbor Pioneer's (MI) girls both securing rather incredible marks to finish action. 

Ridge clocked a new national record of 9:53.40, holding off Union Catholic in the last lap as they surpassed Loudoun Valley's former mark of 9:54.41, which was last set in 2019 at this same meet. 

"We were looking for a national record all the way," Ridge junior Patrick Doran said. "A week ago we said to ourselves, 'We're going for 9:50.' We got 9:53 today." 

Ann Arbor Pioneer, meanwhile, just needed a legal race. In February, the team ran the fastest DMR ever recorded in high school at the SVSU Distance Festival, going 11:21.95, though it did so on a 300m oversized track.

On Friday, the girls captured the legal time they were looking for -- on the Armory's 200m banked track -- and ran 11:32.68, overcoming the record of 11:34.54, which was last set by Lake Braddock in 2017. 

So the stage was set. 

And each record unfolded in very different ways. 

In Ridge's case, the boys team -- racing under the Valley Project Track Club nameplate -- may not have even been considered the favorite to win. In fact, they weren't even the top New Jersey team entering the competition on Friday. 

That honor went to Union Catholic, which was looking to improve upon its U.S. No. 1 time of 10:01.75 from the Varsity Classic on Feb. 7, in a race that saw Ridge finish second overall. 

But as the race got going, things certainly felt a little different. Union Catholic got out to a fast start via Myles Plummer's strong 1,200m leg, but Andrew McCabe held strong and even challenged him in the final meters, handing off just a shade in second. 

Doran carried the 400m leg, keeping Ridge in contention, while James Kisker opened the 800m leg, closing the gap late before surging in the final straightaway and earning a new lead. 

That's all Jackson Barna needed. 

Barna clocked a 4:04 final 1,600m, holding off Union Catholic's Shane Brosnan with 250 meters left and surged forward for the new record. 

"I didn't expect him to be chasing me, I expected to get behind him but I got it in front and I took it wire to wire," he said. 

In Ann Arbor Pioneer's case, the expectations were pretty clear: The girls were going for the national record. 

Racing under Purple Track Club, Sarah Forsyth formed a massive edge early, splitting 3:30 on the leg before Cookie Baugh clocked a 61. 

Emily Cooper claimed a 2:15 800m leg, giving way for Rachel Forsyth, the nation's leader in the 1,600m. 

The sophomore from Ann Arbor had previously run a sub-4:40 in her team's last DMR performance. On Friday, she clocked a 4:46 final 1,600m, bringing the team home.