* Sophia Rodriguez was an All-American at the Garmin RunningLane XC Championships in December
Photo Credit: Chris Wells/MileSplit
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Splashed across the all-time eighth-grade rankings is a who's who of former and current high school stars in track and field.
On Friday, a young runner from Dallastown, Pennsylvania entered into that elusive company, clocking a new grade-class best in the 3,200m with a time of 10:21.39 at the Lincoln Athletic Building in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Her name is Sophia Rodriguez.
Maybe you should start to get to know it.
The 14-year-old from York County surpassed a mark that was last accomplished in 2020 -- coincidentally in the same state -- from Clara James-Heer, who ran 3,200m in 10:25.50 at the GVSU Big Meet.
Rodriguez's peformance is also a new U.S. No. 1 time.
While she achieved the feat on a 300 meter oversized track -- which doesn't allow for official records -- few would deny the performance as anything other than exceptional. It goes down as a 'best', rather than an eighth-grade class record.
Only 10 eighth-grade girls have ever broken 11 minutes indoors.
None have ever done so in December ... until Rodriguez.
Perhaps it's not so surprising. She's coming off a cross country season where she finished as an All-American at the Garmin RunningLane Cross Country Championships, clocking a time of 17:55.70.
That effort finished the year sixth-best in the class.
The daughter of two collegiate runners -- dad Gabriel and mom Perla -- Sophia's older sister, Madelyn, also runs in college, while her middle sister, Victoria, was 14th at the Pennsylvania Class AAA Championships in 2022 and also ran at the International U18 Mountain Running Cup in June.
Rodriguez told PennTrackXC of the race, "When the race started, I didn't know how fast I was going, but once my dad yelled out my mile split (5:01-5:02), I knew it was a special day and just kept running hard."
Rodriguez's sister, Victoria, also competed on Friday, clocking a time of 5:07.30 in the 1,600m.