* Charlize Trinity-McKenzie is the top freshman in the country at 800 meters so far this season.
Photo Credit: David Nguyen/MileSplit Ohio
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A handful of freshman girls have already made statements this indoor season in one of the most competitive event disciplines in the country -- the middle distances.
With a group of younger athletes making names for themselves in just the first few races of their high school careers, perhaps they could be the ones to rise up the ranks in the seasons and years to come in events from the 500m up to the longer 1,000m and mile distances.
Continue below to learn more about three of the next up-and-coming middle distance stars among the current class of freshman girls.
Charlize Trinity-McKenzie, Cedarburg (WI)
Trinity-McKenzie could very well be a star in the making, from the 800 meters up to more distance-oriented events.
The Cedarburg freshman first garnered attention during the cross country season where she put together a solid freshman campaign, including a win in the bronze race at the Garmin RunningLane XC Championships in December.
But now in her first indoor races of the season, it's obvious that Trinity-McKenzie truly excels on the track.
Her 2:13.69 PR performance from the Twilight Indoor meet in Chicago ranks Trinity-McKenzie as the top ninth-grader at 800 meters by almost three seconds. The 2:13 mark also marked an astonishing improvement by six seconds from her previous PR of 2:19.23 set just weeks before at the LAB - MITS #1 meet on Dec. 17.
Looking at Trinity-McKenzie's progression leading into high school, though, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that she's leading the nation in the half-mile.
Last year during the outdoor season, Trinity-McKenzie showed she had some true range on the AAU circuit, contesting everything from the 200m up to the mile. With that combination of speed and endurance, perhaps it's telling that she's seemed to find a sweet spot at the 800m distance.
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Katelyn Kliesch, Notre Dame Academy (NY)
If success on the summer track circuit is any indication of future success, then Kliesch
This past summer, Kliesch dominated USATF competitions and racked up wins at the middle distances, including an impressive 800m win in the 13-14yo division at the USATF Junior Olympics in 2:13.59, which would be her final track race before moving to the high school level.
Now in her first high school season at Notre Dame Academy, the freshman has already made some noise in the mid-distance events.
Kliesch currently ranks second among ninth-graders in the 1,000m behind her recent 2:56.55 personal best at the Staten Island HS Track & Field Association Varsity Championships, and she also the nation's best mile time for the class of 2026 of 4:59.49.
That sub-5-minute performance came at The Armory Hispanic Games and was surprisingly just the second mile effort of her running career. Kliesch's first performance in the event came just a month ago at the Bishop Loughlin games where she placed first in 5:11.57.
Perhaps that quick mile progression is a sign of more improvement and statements to come from the Notre Dame Acadmey freshman just weeks into quite the high school indoor debut season.
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Justice McDaniel, Bishop McNamara (MD)
At one of the nation's premiere indoor meets in just her second time ever toeing the line for the 500m, Bishop McNamara freshman McDaniel truly made a statement.
McDaniel sprinted to a third-place finish in Saturday's invitational heats of the 500m at The VA Showcase, clocking a new personal best of 1:17.27. That best also ranks her at US No. 3 among freshman in the event so far this season.
But perhaps what's most impressive is what McDaniel's performance represents for her in terms of her already-rapid progression on the track.
By finishing in 1:17.27, McDaniel shaved over four seconds off her 500m opener from the Ed Bowie Invitational held over a month ago. And examining her progression in the only other event she's contested this season -- the 300m -- McDaniel has also shown steady improvement at the shorter discipline, progressing from her 300m debut of 41.44 to her now-PR of 40.95 that she clocked at The VA Showcase for 17th overall.
As McDaniel continues to gain experience and reps at the mid-distance events as a freshman, don't be surprised to see her upward trajectory continue.