'My Ears Were Buzzing!' Tyrone Gorze Claims 5K Record

* Tyrone Gorze leans over the railing and checks the time on the clock after achieving a national record in the 5K

Photo Credit: Cara Mooney/MileSplit

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By Cory Mull - MileSplit 

BOSTON, Mass. -- Perhaps Justin Loftus said it best on Saturday.

Tyrone Gorze is unlike anyone he's ever coached. 

For most athletes, recovery takes time and patience. While doubles are common in track and field, most athletes don't split 4:07 on 1,600m anchor legs and then come back less than 24 hours later for an all-out effort at 5,000 meters. 

Most athletes -- actually, let's be clear: the very rare athlete -- could do that and then go after a national record formerly held by Edward Cheserek

Gorze was all that and more in the final 1,000 meters of the 5K at New Balance Nationals Indoor on Saturday, as the University of Washington recruit found a sixth gear, gapped the field and then went after history. 

"He's a rare athlete," Loftus, the Crater High School coach, said. 

Just a night earlier, he had taken the baton and helped Crater land the eighth-best DMR in history. 

"I don't think it took anything out of my legs," he said. "I got really good sleep. I recovered really well."

As Gorze chased after the green pace lights on Saturday and came closer and closer, the crowd hushed and then crescendoed as he crossed the line in 13:56.82. He hammered past the 2012 national record in astounding fashion. 

"When I started picking up those last few laps and the lights kept getting closer and closer, I said, 'let's chase it down, you know?'" Gorze said. "I caught up to the lights. My ears were buzzing because it got so loud. I got to pass the lights now." 

The race may have been the best high school field ever assembled. American Fork's Daniel Simmons also went under 14 minutes, hitting 13:59.96 on the clock -- becoming just the third athlete ever to do so.

Newbury Park's Lex Young was third in 14:00.64. Tallahassee Leon's Patrick Koon went 14:11.92. The top four athletes all recorded new state indoor 5K records. 

Gorze almost couldn't believe it. He took a victory lap around the Track at New Balance, then once outside the lines he met Loftus for a bear hug. The two smiled. 

Sometimes, when everyone goes to plan, that's the last thing on the list to do. 

"I caught up to the lights. My ears were buzzing because it got so loud. I got to pass the lights now." 

Photo Credit: Cary Mooney/MileSplit

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Loftus had told Gorze to be patient, urging him not to get caught up in the pace in the early going. As Newbury Park's Young took the lead into the first K and American Fork's Simmons followed after the 2K mark, Gorze shadowed from just a few meters back. 

At first, the field was off. And for a moment, maybe a record was out of the picture. 

"Maybe in the back of my mind," Gorze said, "maybe the win at this point?" 

But he didn't worry. He kept contact throughout, only surging forward when the time was right. 

That time came in the final kilometer. 

Photo Credit: Tony Morales

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Gorze made one swift move on Simmons and then galloped ahead, knowing his race was nearing its end. Less than three minutes to go. 

The previous week, he had done a series of K repeats, hitting somewhere in the range of 2:30s, then Loftus dropped him down to 800m and 400m, instructing him to focus and bear down. 

On Saturday, Loftus told Gorze to hit the last K in 2:33 to 2:35. 

"That worked out perfectly for a race like this," Gorze said. 

Gorze kept on the gas. After hitting 2:49 and 2:50 in his third and fourth Ks, he ran 2:34.76 over his final standard -- a singular mark that would be just inside the top 120 performances in the U.S. 

"That last K was when I really won that race," he said. "That was the goal. Just hit that last K hard." 

The moment solidified a season that has been short but sweet. In January, Gorze ran 8:05.17 for 3K, which was the fifth-fastest time at the distance for a high schooler ever. 

The previous year, he had finished third at Nike Cross Nationals. He had even ran 14:11.38 for 5K on the track in October. 

One small moment stood out shortly after the finish.

With his mission accomplished, Gorze saw the maze of photographers circling. 

He clasped his hands together into a pancake and placed them beside his head, ushering a motion as if he was hitting the pillow for a night's rest. 

Certainly, after a wild 24 hours, he had earned it.

Photo Credit: Tony Morales