Tinoda Matsatsa Becomes First Black HSer To Break 4 In Mile

* Tinoda Matsatsa celebrates after winning the 800m at Track Night NYC in May

Photo Credit: Derick Dingle/MileSplit 

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Among the historic achievements made on Thursday night in the boys mile at the HOKA Festival of Miles was one hugely significant development. 

Tinoda Matsatsa, a high school senior from Potomac, Maryland, became the first Black high schooler in history to break four minutes in the mile, clocking a time of 3:58.70 to finish third in the field. 

But he wasn't alone. 

Simeon Birnbaum, Rocky Hansen, Matsatsa and Jackson Heidesch all broke four on Thursday night, ushering in a historic achievement for high school distance running.

At this same meet last year, two high schoolers (Gary Martin and Connor Burns) broke four, setting a precedence. 

Birnbaum's time of 3:57.53 won the field and slotted him up to fourth all-time, behind Alan Webb, Jim Ryun and Colin Sahlman. It was his second foray into sub-4 territory after he claimed the feat last year at Brooks PR. 

Hansen, meanwhile, ran 3:58.23, hitting sub-4 for the second time this season, and Heidesch, who became the first Iowan high schooler to ever break four, went 3:59.08. 

It was Matsatsa and Heidesch, however, who were the new entrants into the club, becoming the 19th and 20th boys to go under the barrier. The race was paced by Eric Sowinski, considered one of the best pacers in the World. 

A little over a month ago, Matsatsa ran a personal best time of 4:05.68 for the mile at the Virginia High Performance Meet. 

The St. Andrews' Episcopal School (MD) athlete, a Georgetown University signee, is still just a few years into his high school running career after transitioning from soccer. He's become one of the nation's premier middle-distance runners.

In March, he won a New Balance Nationals Indoor 800m title in 1:48.27.