* Simeon Birnbaum won the invite 3,200m in 8:34.10 at the Arcadia Invitational on Saturday.
Photo Credit: Raymond Tran/MileSplit
- - -
It almost seemed as if Simeon Birnbaum had run out of real estate as he sat in third place going into the final straightaway.
The competition in the boys invitational 3,200m race at the Arcadia Invitational on Saturday night had narrowed down to a battle among three -- American Fork (UT) junior standout Daniel Simmons, Christ School's (NC) Rocky Hansen, and Birnbaum, the sub-four-minute miler out of Rapid City Stevens (SD).
Simmons, who had led for the final few laps of the 3,200m, seemed to be making one final push to the end. Hansen was also moving wide to find another gear with the finish line in sight.
But that's when Birnbaum tapped into his elite mile speed.
First, he passed Hansen with just under 50 meters to go. And just steps from the line, Birnbaum surged ahead of Simmons to break the tape first in 8:34.10.
That effort sits less than a second off Colin Sahlman's 8:33.32 national outdoor high school record set a year ago at the Sundown Track Series.
But Birnbaum wasn't the only athlete to make history in the highly-anticipated Arcadia race. Simmons' runner-up finish of 8:34.14 and Hansen's 8:34.87 performance for third rank at US No. 3 and US No. 5 all-time, making for one of the faset 3,200m races in American high school history.
And it was a race that, from the get go, got off to a record-setting start as pacemaker Aaron Sahlman strung out the field quickly and led the field through the first mile on sub-8:40 pace. Birnbaum went with Sahlman early, along with fellow under-four-minute miler Connor Burns.
With 800m to go, Simmons went to the lead to with Burns and Hansen, but Birnbaum dug deep to find the second gear of a lifetime at the end of the jaw-dropping race.
Only four U.S. high school boys had ever gone under 8:40 outdoors in the 3,200m prior to Saturday night. Now, the group of three can join the elusive club after a very quick night at Arcadia.
The win for Birnbaum also makes for his second-straight title at Arcadia, following up his 2022 winning run in the mile where he clocked 4:07.88 in the invitational second. Since that mile race last April, Birnbaum has gone on to lower his mile PR to 3:59.51 and compete on the national stages in cross country and indoor track.