The Next Great 8th-Grade Talent Showed Out In New Mexico

* Gianna Rahmer, an eighth-grader from Eldorado (NM), won her 5A Championship on Saturday in New Mexico in 16:58, the 24th-fastest time in the U.S.

Photo Credit: Bobby Reyes/MileSplit 

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The next great eighth-grader? 

We may have just witnessed a star-in-the-making on Saturday at the New Mexico State Cross Country Championships after Gianna Rahmer, a Class of 2028 athlete who had run no faster than 18:38 for 5K before this weekend, claimed a new meet record and U.S. No. 24 time of 16:58.01 in the Class 5A race at Albuquerque Academy. 

"I definitely did not expect to break 17," she said. 

Only one eighth-grader in history had broken 17 minutes before Rahmer accomplished the feat and her name was Amaris Tyynismaa, the multiple-time All-American (for the University of Alabama) and current star for the NC State women. Tyynismaa, who graduated from Montgomery Catholic in 2018 would go on to rack up more than 20 state titles in Alabama.

While Rahmer's performance was only a second off of Tyynismaa's all-time mark of 16:57.00, she surpassed other former stars like Anna Fenske (17:00.40), Carly McNatt (17:13.94), Garce Ping (17:22.00) and Arianne Olson (17:26.10).

But Rahmer is no anomaly, either. 

Just last year, we witnessed the rise of Sophia Rodriguez, an eighth-grader from Pennsylvania who has since moved to Washington with her family.

In recent seasons, athletes like Eliana Black (2021), Abby Faith Cheeseman (2020), Sydney Drevlow (2020), Jessica Jazwinski (2020) and Emily Wisnieswki (2020) were also top performers in their respective eighth-grade classes. 

A few weeks remain in the cross country season, so Rahmer could choose to compete elsewhere before moving on toward the 2024 season. But if this was the last performance of her eighth-grade season, what a show it was. 


* Colorado MileSplit's Bobby Reyes interviewed Rahmer after her performance on Saturday