Cuthbertson Becomes First Girls Team In History Under 8:50

* Justine Preisano, Stella Kermes, Alyssa Preisano, and Charlotte Bell broke the national high school record in the girls 4x800m at New Balance Nationals Indoor

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It was a busy weekend for the Cuthbertson (NC) girls at New Balance Nationals Indoor.

On Friday, the foursome of Justine Preisano, Stella Kermes, Charlotte Bell, and Alyssa Preisano won their first national title in school history in the distance medley relay with the seventh-fastest all-time performance of 11:35.51. The following day, the quartet finished second to Flower Mound (TX) in the 4xmile, clocking a time of 19:55.21. 

Perhaps that disappointment only set the stage for the team's final display. 

"We had some really high expectations in the 4xmile," Kermes told MileSplit. "We were a little bit disappointed with that. I was a little bit discouraged at first Saturday night, but I started thinking tomorrow is a brand new day and this one race doesn't define us."

The Cavaliers lined up for the final time in Boston on Sunday. 

"We wanted to bounce back from [the 4xmile] because it wasn't exactly what we wanted it to be," Justine said. "So we just knew that we had to come out here and give it all that we had."

Then it happened. In the final 200m, Cuthbertson was able to bring it home with a historic performance, posting a time of 8:48.02 and downing a national record that stood for precisely a year. Ann Arbor Pioneer, competing at NB Nationals in New York in 2021, ran 8:51.93. 

* Charlotte Bell crossing the finish line in the 4x800m

Photo Credit: Cara Mooney / MileSplit

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To do so, Union Catholic kept the North Carolina team honest, finishing second in 8:48.66. Cuthbertson and Union Catholic became the first teams under 8:50 in the 4x800m.  

"I still haven't processed it yet," Bell said. "It was so crazy."

But the journey doesn't stop here.

As Cuthbertson goes into the outdoor season, the national high school record of 8:43.12 set by Eleanor Roosevelt in 2008 at Penn Relays is now the target. 

Just a few weeks ago, the team put together a No. 5 all-time high school performance in the 4x800m as an outdoor opener with an 8:48.47. 

* Charlotte Bell, Stella Kermes, Alyssa Preisano, and Justine Preisano broke the national high school record in the 4x800m

Photo Credit: Tony Morales